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Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Cost Of Genius

According to the evaluation of certain IQ tests I took while in high school to prove I wasn't or was a moron, I am either a near-genius or a genius, which at the end of the day makes me one of most impressive slackers around, judging by how my IQ tests of 144, 147 and 149 have afforded me the luxury of becoming one of those people who look financially well-off without actually being financially well-off, as I sink further and further under the mire of fiscal responsibility with each and every payday. Yup... one sentence.

It’s true. When I finally stop writing this blog, it won’t be from that heart attack I’ve been expecting for a few years now, rather it will be because I’ve cut off my Internet service or the electrical power has been cut off on my behalf.

IQ exists, as a concept, but it’s what you are able to do with said concept that pays the bills.

A gentleman with the purported IQ of 250 - 300—the highest ever it is thought by those who populate Wikipedia entries (you know you can create your own, right?)—William James Sidis who was born in 1898, died of a cerebral hemorrhage, and was penniless to boot, at the ripe old age of 46. Just on pure stubbornness, I’ve beaten him in longevity.

The Simpson’s character (as well as Star Trek: Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory) physicist Stephen Hawking died on March 14, 2018 at the age of 76. He had an IQ of 160… 11 points higher than my own highest score… and yet light years ahead of me in every other thought-provoking event.

I guess those 11 extra points are important.

RIP Stephen.

Which would you rather be? The dead butterfly or the live caterpillar?
The answer is the dead butterfly, because it has at least reached the next level of metamorphosis, something the live caterpillar might never achieve.

Zen... such a bitch.  

Today’s blog is about Albert Einstein, who along with Hawking are perhaps the two smartest people that most people on this planet have ever heard off. Yes, there are those with higher IQs, but these two… well, they obviously had better press agents.

Hawking: A Brief History Of Time (I have two well-read copies of this book for some reason).
Einstein: E=MC2 (squared).

We all know Einstein's formula, but do we really know what it even stands for? I do, and I suppose some of you other sharp shed tools know as well. The rest of you should look it up.

Einstein was brilliant. Brilliant enough for a doughy old man to get with Marilyn Monroe! Yeah, baby! However, while Marilyn had an affinity for smart people, there is no evidence she ever slept with or actually even met Einstein. But it appears as though he could have slept with the sexy movie starlet, as Marilyn apparently told then-roommate Shelley Winters sometime in 1947-1951 that she would "do him" (my words). 

So we’re talking about Einstein in a blog dedicated to people, things and ideas revolving around Japan. So… what’s the relationship with Einstein and Japan?

Well, after Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, he embarked on a global tour giving speeches on physics, that included in November of 1922, a well-attended run around Japan.

The Nobel Prize, by the way, was awarded to Einstein “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”.

Other famous names who won a Nobel Prize in Physics that you may recall from your own high school physics class, include: Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (X-Rays discovery - Röntgen is the unit of measure for X-Rays); Marie Curie (Radiation - famous also because she died of radiation poisoning, plus she was on the 2nd season premiere of Timeless, though I suspect that was an actor); Antoine Henri Becuerel (Radiation (also his surname is the term used to measure units of radiation that killed Curie, which isn't as suspicious as I am making it out to be); Guglielmo Marconi (Wireless telegraphy aka radio... though Canadian Reginald Fessenden is thought by many, including myself, to have first invented radio, proving that Marconi had a far better press agent); Max Planck (Energy quantum physics); Niels Bohr (Atomic structure); Werner Karl Heisenberg (Quantum Mechanics - and not a character on Breaking Bad); Enrico Fermi (Nuclear Reactions).

Fermi won his in 1938, the latest winner of the men I listed above... and while I looked at the entire list of winners through 2017, and have at the least heard of quite a few of them (famous in their own right), none are household names as the folks above are.

Einstein was famous in 1922... not just among the Illuminati, but among the glitterati as well. Media famous. As such, general public famous.

In November of 1922, Einstein stayed at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, as he was on tour speaking about physics, even capturing the attention of the Imperial family.

Even the lowly courier who came to Einstein's hotel door to deliver a package or letter to the genius was not immune to knowing who he was.

Unaccustomed to local Japanese ways, Einstein attempted to tip the courier with money, but it was, of course refused, as there is no tipping in Japan... or he didn't have money on him...

Undaunted, or perhaps daunted—one can never be sure—Einstein wished to reward the young courier for his effort, and rather than forcing money upon him, he instead gave him two of the "thoughts" on life he had been jotting down on hotel stationary - two notes.

"Maybe if you’re lucky, those notes will become much more valuable than just a regular tip," Einstein apparently told the Japanese courier.

Uh... no. Nice story... but that Japanese courier isn't going to have been the most educated of people... and while Einstein was considered to be one of the world's most brilliant minds, do you suppose he spoke Japanese to the courier, or if he spoke English or German, do you think the courier understood that?

I suppose there could have been someone with Einstein in the hotel who spoke Japanese, and could have conveyed his thoughts... but that wasn't mentioned in the lore that the story became, as it was told by the courier's nephew to the BBC when said nephew was auctioning off the note(s).

One of those notes was up for sale late in 2017... it's the note at the very top... it's in Einstein's own handwriting, ... it contains 13 words... and it says:

Stilles bescheidenes Leben gibt mehr Glueck als erfolgreiches Streben, verbunden mit bestaendiger Unruhe.”

Wunderbar. Delicious.

And because I know what you are thinking (I'm in your head, man), here's the note translated in English:

"A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness."

Amusing, especially when you consider that the note sold for US$1.56 million, a fair bit more than the pre-auction estimate of $5-8,000.

And, to show that Einstein was either a genius or a comedic thief on a par with Milton Berle, the second note he had written says: 

"Wo ein Wille ist, da ist auch ein Weg.

In English:

"Where there’s a will there’s a way."

It only sold for US$257,000.

This old British proverb may have its origins from as early as 1640.

As for Einstein struggling to come up with multiple thoughts on life - hitting a home run outta the park with the first one, and then the better-not-mention-it second one, all I can say is:

"Desperation breeds tiny monsters."

That one is mine created about 37 years ago... I probably should admit that at that time I was doing a lot of AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons). I was 12 when I first played with a University of Toronto Mensa club (the high IQ club... beats me why they let me play... I hadn't even been tested for my IQ yet, though I had just entered high school and hadn't yet begun failing miserably). I met them on what passed for the Internet back in 1979 - message boards.

Still... it's mine. I wrote it after I was caught skipping school for a week.

I was being bullied (youngest, shortest, the wrong color, terribly shy, wore glasses, and my mother dressed me funny), hated school and life, and today am glad weapons weren't and aren't readily available in Canada. And I'm saying that as someone not medically impaired in any way shape or form, but as someone who knows just how easy it is to push someone over the edge via bullying to do such horrible things such as violence in schools. It's much easier to contemplate when weapons are easy to get one's hands on. Elsewise you just struggle on through, reinvent yourself a few times when the opportunity arises (College and later Japan), and hope that one day you see one of your tormentors bagging your groceries for you.

"Revenge is a dish best served cold." It sounds more impressive in its original Klingon (LOL): "bortaS bIr jablu'DI' reH QaQqu' nay."

My punishment for skipping school when I was 16, was being expelled for one week (win-win)... plus I was told I would have to write each of the final exams - no exemptions... which was no biggie seeing as how I was failing everything because I hated school and life, which I'm sure I mentioned several lines earlier, which was why they later had me do an IQ test, and still no one thought to ask me what was wrong.

Those that can, teach.
Those that can't teach become Phys Ed teachers.
Those than can't teach Phys Ed become Guidance Councilors.

If no one claims that, I will, but I'm sure I didn't create it - but apparently it worked for Einstein... or for whomever sold that second Einstein note.

My Guidance Councillor recommended I not even bother applying to university... but I did anyway, and got in to all three I applied to. 

In truth, I actually have a lot of respect for ONE Phys Ed teacher who wrote me a letter at the end of the year (I was in Grade 12 doing Grade 13 Phys Ed because I enjoyed Grade 12 so much I decided to repeat all those classes I had failed - obviously not Phys Ed)... anyhow, she told me to stop being hard on myself, and to not let people put me down... to which I somehow decided to put into plan.

Hmm... maybe re-creation of myself began with here, when the thought was put into my head.
I had this button when I was a teenager... I never wore a suit and tie, and thought the kids from Leave It To Beaver were okay-looking... and now I know why I bought it for $1. The same type of vintage button is being sold on E-Bay for US$7.99 + US$12 shipping. If you can get someone to pay that much for this, I think we all know who the real effing genius is.
As you should know after some 3,900+ blog entries here, I taught junior high school English in Japan, taught piano and clarinet back in Toronto, coached boy's, girl's and women's soccer, and coach baseball and hockey. For being an artsy-jock-nerd, I have been described by women who should know better as a "Renaissance Man." Sure, why not? Better than what they called me in high school.

I can teach, but I just can't figure out how to make my IQ make me money. Well, actually... I can... I'm just not sure I wanna.

Slacking off,
Andrew Joseph
PS: Introspection... it's not just for psychiatrists to perform for $150 an hour. Session's over, folks.

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