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What Kind of Smart Person Are You?

Labels can be a way of limiting ourselves to a category, but they can also be introspective.  Remember that the labels we’ll look at aren’t discrete categories, but rather general areas of focus.  Most smart people belong to some extent in all categories, but specialize in one or the other.

  • Scholars focus on research.
  • Academics do research as well, but balance their time with teaching.
  • Intellectuals step outside their area of expertise to find integrated knowledge.  They often use their knowledge to advance the public good through education and policy making.  We sometimes call these people “public intellectuals”.
  • Geeks are passionate and highly knowledgeable in their area of geekiness.  They usually geek out on earthly things like comics, gadgets and movies rather than tackle the big and the abstract like scholars, academics and intellectuals do.  There are philosophy geeks, but they tend to be philosophy “trivia buffs” rather than philosophical thinkers.
  • Nerds are closely related to geeks, and the terms are often used interchangeably, but nerds tend to be more academic.  “Nerd” also connotes more social ineptitude than “geek” does.

The popular and humourous nerd venn diagram, courtesy may help shed some light:

  • Erudites seem to be a cross between scholars and geeks.  They traditionally learn from studying the literature rather than formal education.  And they all seem to have died by the 18th century (who the fuck calls themself an erudite nowadays).
  • Bibliophiles love books.  I think all intellectual people are bibliophiles to some extent, although there are some very intelligent people who don’t read or are even illiterate.
  • Gnosiophiles love knowledge (from the Greek word for knowledge “gnosis” and (Godly) love “philos”).  I feel most comfortable with this term to describe myself.  I’m not a scholar or an academic, and geek and nerd are too limiting.  Intellectual would be closer, but I’d die of chagrin if I called myself one.  “Gnosiophile” fits me perfectly, because it connotes “passionate hobbyist”, analogous to “cinephile” and “audiophile”.

What kind of smart person are you?  What do you call yourself?

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5 Responses to "What Kind of Smart Person Are You?"

  1. Lou says:

    Then am I a trvia buff?

  2. I think you have the kind of intelligence that isn’t normally thought about in our narrow definition of intelligence: quick wit, humour and creativity.

    Check this out:

    It’s one of my favourite talks on You remind me of that girl who falls through the cracks of an impersonal, factory-style school system.

    1. Lou says:

      now you’ve got my ego all wet~~ >o< I'll check it out later, it's pretty long for my short attention span at ththe moment.

    2. Lou says:

      hm~ it’s a very interesting show indeed. Thanks for telling me abt it.

  3. I’m glad that you liked it, and glad that you got wet…;-P

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