26 Aug 2008
Distance from self
An interesting measure of people is the amount of time they are able to spend talking about subjects that are distant from themselves, their immediate life and circumstances. For a great many people this is incredible short. For an amazing number of people it seems impossible to talk about things, concepts, issues, events or ideas that do not seem to have any close and immediate connection to their personal lives here and now. For a still significant number of people, conversation simply revolves around themselves.
As a collective attitude, this attitude is more prevelant in peasant societies. This is highly problematicc as these societies begin to urbanise and modernise, as a sophisticated and metropolitan society depends on abstract common knowledge from the traffic code through democratic theory to understanding complicated processes around us (such as globalisation, capitalism, etc.)
The oppososite is true of certain other people we meet, especially from the intellectual professions. They seem to be able to speak endlessly about highly abstract, even scientific concepts. Yet they are unable to express who they are, what they want from their own lives. It is as if they were escaping from their own realities to another world that is deliberately at some distance from their live, where they feel in control and competent.
Ditancing is somehow associated with intelligence. People who are unable to talk about issues that are not of their immediate concern are perceived to be stupid and unintelligent. Most of the former educational system tends to teach us distant abstractions.
People who cannot talk about themselves, on the other hand, are emotional cripples. Many giants of intelligence (including academics and professors) are emotional dwarves. Countless highly intelligent people do not even realist that they should also be emotionally learned, refined, concious, and shoud possess a high EQ as well as a high IQ. Hence the general observation that emotional intelligence does not come together with a university degree.