Hmmm…. Interesting question. Can you trust your own thoughts? Does intelligence mean you can trust your own thoughts?

I have an answer for you that you’ll find insightful.

  1. Intelligence generally translates to time required to learn – although below somewhere in the 80’s learning even the most trivial of sequences appears nearly impossible. And below the mid 90’s begins to become prohibitively costly upon those that teach. 10% of people are impossible to teach, and nearly half of people are costly to teach. Hence the future problem of employment.
  2. Intelligence above 105 is largely reducible to a learning curve. at 105 or so you can learn from instructions, repair machines, and express yourself logically. About every 7–10 points or so higher, it’s easier to learn from increasingly abstract (less obviously related) bits of information. Around 115 learn on your own. Around 125 invent new machines. Around 135 understand complex relations and synthesize them for others. Around 145 invent and reorganize existing ideas.

    Above that I have not seen anything meaningful other than the ability to construct longer denser sentences (I cannot speak in long narrations like Chomsky, and I cannot grasp and translate ideas as fast as Terence Tau. And I have also seen the opposite, which is a tendency to place too much value on intuitions (some people who shall remain nameless), and given that I specialize in identifying pseudoscience, there are a vast number of theorists in many fields who do not know about that which they speak.

  3. Those higher than you are not so much smarter as we they had more ‘time’ to create vast networks of relations (associations) – so the time required to identify a new pattern is shorter. The only way I know to improve your “demonstrated” intelligence in every day life is to be well read (possess more general knowledge) in multiple fields, and be lucky to have high conscientiousness as a personality trait. (All fields develop systemic falsehoods, so cross field knowledge is necessary).
  4. Those that are nearly frightening (children), and born with extraordinary abilities are very rare but I think we are beginning to understand what makes them possible (in utero). And their abilities do not necessarily continue past maturity.
  5. People in the 130’s tend to specialize in synthesizing and communicating difficult ideas to those in the standard deviations below them, and you would find that most CEO’s are in the 130’s, just like a lot of professors are in the 140’s. This is why the ability to articulate your ideas and make use of vocabulary is such an extraordinary proxy for intelligence.
  6. So here is my suggestion no matter where you are on the spectrum: Assume you’re wrong until you can’t possible find an alternative. Because that’s actually what demonstrated intelligence means.
  7. So I want to reframe your question for you: there is NEVER A REASON to trust your thoughts, feelings, or intuitions for anything other than “ouch, that hurts”. Knowledge like evolution is the result of survival, not justification. No matter how good you think your reasoning, the only test of truth is survival against all odds.
  8. That’s what being smart means. Which was Socrates’ whole point.