I’ve come to a rather uncomfortable self-assessment: I believe I am a stupid person. This isn’t an easy thing to say, especially in a community like LessWrong, where intellect and deep thinking are highly valued. But it’s a sentiment that has been echoing in my head for a while, and it’s time I faced it head-on.
I’ve done my due diligence, adhering to the healthy lifestyle that’s supposed to bolster brainpower—diet, exercise, a disciplined schedule. I’ve hoped these would somehow kickstart a transformation, but the mental fog remains. When it comes to the raw intellectual horsepower that seems to come so naturally to others, I’m left feeling stranded.
And what about education? That’s supposed to be the great equalizer, right? Well, in my experience, and judging by numerous critiques I’ve read—including on LessWrong—it doesn’t quite cut it for those of us who feel innately challenged. The current state of education seems more geared toward churning out graduates rather than fostering genuine intellectual growth, especially for those who don’t naturally excel.
As for intelligence being multifaceted, I understand the arguments. Yet, at its core, there seems to be a singular, critical capacity for understanding, learning, and problem-solving that some people have in spades, and others, like me, seem to lack. It’s this core aspect of intelligence that I’m most concerned with.
I’ve chased down various methods and interventions in hopes of a breakthrough:
1. Nootropics: A temporary bump in concentration didn’t translate into better cognitive abilities.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): While helpful for managing mental blocks, it didn’t increase my learning capacity as I’d hoped.
3. Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI): Still more of a sci-fi dream than a practical tool for boosting intelligence.
4. Educational Software: These keep me engaged, but do they make me smarter? The evidence is thin.
5. Physical Health Regimens: My body is healthier, but my brain hasn’t experienced the same growth spurt.
This quest has been disheartening. The supposed 70% genetic determination of IQ feels like a life sentence for my brain. I see people in high places, wielding power and influence despite what appears to be a lack of the very intellect that’s celebrated here. It suggests that the relationship between intelligence, as we measure it, and success is more complicated than we’d like to admit.
In my pursuit of intelligence, I’m looking for more than anecdotal success stories or motivational pep talks. I’m seeking substantial, proven methods to increase my cognitive capacity. I am not just looking for ways to cope with or work around my limitations—I want to fundamentally enhance my ability to think, learn, and understand.
So, to the LessWrong community, I pose these questions: Is there a concrete path for increasing one’s baseline intelligence, especially for someone who feels inherently deficient in this regard? Are there breakthroughs on the horizon that could offer hope? Or perhaps there’s a piece of this puzzle I’m missing—a perspective or a piece of wisdom that could shine a light on a new path forward.
I’m not reaching out, for a miracle cure, but for a solid step I can take toward becoming a smarter person and i would hate pity answers like “not everyone needs to be smart” etc...