What does it mean to be ‘smart’

So the Farm Hand & I are working in the Asparagus patch.

He’s an A-B student. In a decent school district. His Dad is a biology teacher, FFS. His Mom’s a nurse.

And he going on & and on about how smart we are.

I tell him that he’s smarter that he thinks he is.

What does it take to be smart? He asks. Read. Ask Questions.

It’s not that complicated.

12 Responses

  1. You’re smart because you do things he has had no exposure to. It’s a whole new world to him – he feels his ignorance. That’s a good thing…but you’re right to tell him to read and ask questions. Good skill to learn!
    But to some extent, the stuff you’re doing probably isn’t all that available in books – it just has to be experienced as you go. It’s really good for him to be working with you!

    1. It will no doubt be an interesting experience for both of us! Sort of reminds me of when the girls were high school age. As there are only three years between Caroline & Marg, with Kat in between, there were boys *everywhere*!

      But back to the Farmhand. What I don’t care for, and what we see in a lot of folks here in the south, is the tendency to elevate ordinary people to extra ordinary status simply in virtue of how much education they have. But I guess you’re right about the ignorance thing.

  2. There’s education, and then there’s education.
    I know a lot. But every day there’s something out there that I’ve never known before…sort of a how can I know so much and know so little…all at the same time thing. And then you see something like that photo of the black hole…some 50 million light years away- which is already beyond my comprehension – and it seems to me that we are nothing but bacteria on a cell in the body of the great universe. I know the words…but the reality! That’s a different story!

    There’s _so_ much to know out there! If you can teach him that as great as books are, there’s a whole world out there that _isn’t_ in books…you’ll have done him a great service!

  3. “the tendency to elevate ordinary people to extra ordinary status simply in virtue of how much education they have”

    Yeah…this has always been a pet peeve of mine. That is…the assumption that if you’re not educated, you’re “stupid”. There’s a big difference between “stupid” and “ignorant”. They are _not_ the same.

    And of course, the reverse is also true, but not as generally accepted. That is…the assumption that if you’re educated you’re “smart”. Granted that if you’re actually stupid, you’re unlikely to be educated, at the same time, you can be educated but not particularly smart.

    1. “Granted that if you’re actually stupid, you’re unlikely to be educated, …”

      Heh. You forget that I know a boat load of academics. The vast majority of them are outstanding in their fields. But not all. There are a fair number of stupid academics who could not cut their way out of a wet paper page if you spotted them scissors and a pocket knife.

  4. Well…it sounds like we don’t have the same definition of “stupid”! My definition pretty much closes out those individuals from accomplishing what you describe. Still, there are some who have the ability to achieve limited range of information and still be pretty dense about anything outside that limited range!

    As an example of one of those things outside my range, check this out:


    Interesting article. This is the paragraph I find particularly interesting:

    ” “It takes so much more capital to raise an acre (a bit less than half a hectare) of corn than it does an acre of beans, so we had to borrow more money, and interest rates are rising, which makes borrowing even more of a challenge and an issue, and you know input prices to produce are fluctuating with oil prices,” he added.

    Increased costs to raise crops for farmers means a potential decrease in overall profits. ”

    This puzzles me. Well…maybe surprises me. It seems unreasonable to me that a farmer should have to borrow money to plant his crops. Of course, this is grain…not livestock. But it still seems strange to me.
    Why don’t they save seed? is it because they only plant hybrid? Does Monsanto – or whoever – have a lock on the hybrid seed? So much I don’t know…!

    1. Yeah. A lot of seed doesn’t really *belong* to the farmer. And it’s against the law to save it or sell it. This is especially the case with GMO seed. GMOs are created by humans, and creations can be patented. So there’s a huge dustup in Ag about this. Even IF a GMO seed was true (seeds’ DNA same as parents) the farmer didn’t pay for the right to reproduce the patented product (seed). And these big Ag companies get nasty about it too.


  5. Yeah but…

    There has to be a benefit to the farmer in the gmo seeds, or the farmer would just plant his own seed…right? So the question for the farmer is whether to use gmo seed and take out a loan, or save seed and see what comes up.
    Or is it illegal to save the seed?
    Hmmm. Say it is. So…farmer sells all of his crop, but buys corn from some other source and plants that…how would they know? Is non gmo seed available?

    See how much I don’t know???? Disgusting…!

    1. You know a lot of stuff! As you know.

      And sure. There’s tons of nonGMO seed out there. But there are advantages of GMO. Lots of it is Roundup ready, meaning that farmers can spray fields with industrial strength glyphosate without killing the crop. And lots has been engineered to be resistant to various pests and diseases. So huge. On the other hand, remember the old “Don’t mess with Mother Nature?” That’s a worry.

  6. With that latest payment Monsanto has to make due to exposure to Roundup, that may all change. For the better???? I don’t know.
    (at least, so the lawyers are advertising on TV…..”xx millions paid to person for kidney damage due to exposure to Roundup..etc” so contact us if you’re dying after using Roundup etc.}

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