On human intelligence or lack of it

I cant recall who it was that said he is displeased by anyone who doubts that we are intelligent or who compares our intelligence to that of other animals. Though I like what Plutarch wrote

For I do not believe there is such difference between beast and beast, in point of reason and understanding and memory, as between man and man.


but the most relevant to this post is

The man from Mars who saw how men suffered in the last war and how frantically they are preparing for the next war, which they know will be worse, would come to the conclusion that he was looking at the denizens of a lunatic asylum.

Norman Thomas, 1935

I just finished reading AC Grayling’s An enquiry on war where he reviews many topics around war such as what causes war, justifications for it, future of war and such. My contention and I think Grayling would agree is that as long as our nation states continue to build arsenal in preparation for war, we cannot claim to be intelligent. In a world where there is starvation, homelessness, disease, poverty, it is insanity to keep spending trillions of dollars on armaments. It is madness. Blind folly.

Maybe some day war will end and until that day, we must remember that man is only capable of being intelligent but may not be intelligent, yet.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

18 thoughts on “On human intelligence or lack of it

  1. Ark says:

    Ideologies, greed, religion?

    ”What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours, and if you try to take mine, you’ll get yours!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Ideologies, greed, religion all point to an undeveloped intelligence- men have killed others to give them the right religion; that they are the wrong skin tone; to control oil in the name of having wmd

      Liked by 2 people

  2. basenjibrian says:

    I think religion and ideologies are just excuses for the underlying greed and will to power.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Judy Thompson says:

    And humans being what they are, to let go of one’s armaments becomes a signal to another group of humans that we are vulnerable and “unarmed”. As these things go, we are not that far removed, time wise, from our direct ancestors; like it or not, we’re closely related to a war-like species that is still closely enough connected to us to make us uncomfortable when our eyes meet. If we survive ourselves long enough we may just evolve beyond that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Grayling argues that we go to war because of how our polity is organised. That without nation states or even organised non state actors, we would not have wars, fights and skirmishes yes, but not war

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Judy Thompson says:

    testing (new laptop, sorry)


  5. jim- says:

    Can human intelligence judge its own intelligence? Can you outsmart yourself? Seems we have limited programming.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear makagutu,

    The occurrence and the nature of wars and conflicts invariably raise more questions than there are answers. As Jane Goodall found out, our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, also wage wars against each other. According to some estimates, the largest global trade is the sale of arms and weapons.

    Since you like classical music, please kindly allow me the pleasure of introducing you to a special musical post of mine entitled “🎼🎹—THE—🎹—LAST—🎹—RAG—🎹🎵🎶“, which you can locate at the Home page of my blog.

    Happy August to you very soon! May you find the rest of 2021 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking, studying and composing whatever posts that take your intellectual fancy and show off your imaginative flight!

    Yours sincerely,

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      The debate is whether what the chimps do qualify ad war or skirmishes. Is their recruitment, training and dedication of resources to the waging and continuation of war? I doubt it.

      May the rest of the year be pleasant to you. May you and yours be kept safe and May the universe shower you with joy and gladness and good health

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear makagutu,

        They are more than just skirmishes, and many of them can readily result in territorial seizures, injuries, deaths, kidnapping and/or eating the captured enemies, as far as I can remember.

        By the way, when you try to access my blog, please be informed that it will benefit from being viewed on a large screen of a desktop or laptop computer, since those lengthy multimedia posts and my blog could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

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        Thank you for your kind wishes.

        Happy August to you very soon!


  7. Ron says:

    I’m reminded of the opening and closing lines delivered by Nicholas Cage’s character — Yuri Orlov — in Lord of War:

    “There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every 12 people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?”

    “You know who’s going to inherit the earth? Arms dealers; because everyone else is too busy killing each other. That’s the secret to survival: never go to war . . . especially with yourself.”


  8. The above-mentioned statements do not make much sense!
    No matter how far human consciousness will progress, our competitive evolutionary drive will override everything else our intelligent mind might implement to the contrary. We might restrain ourselves in future conflicts where human lives are at risk and instead of using machines, but we will not resist violence and destruction as long it achieves the end we are aiming for. Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ might be an alternative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • basenjibrian says:

      I agree with you. Their is an implication in the above that war is somehow a failure of human intelligence. I think it is fundamentally a part of us. Sure, when we were small scale hunting and gathering bands our wars were also small in scale and impact. But if we are talking about bands of a few dozen people, the impacts of a clan battle can be devastating w/r/t survival of said clan or band.

      Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu says:

        It is my contention that war is a failure of human intelligence. How do supposedly rational beings expend millions of resources to go on a killing spree for which those doing the fighting have not an idea why they are fighting. Killing people who have done them no wrong. This is not to deny that it is a part of us, which may or may not be true.

        Liked by 1 person

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