Mailvox: the intellectual autiste

Nienna finds her Dutch courage:

I will disagree with all your fan-boys on this one. (just guessing, but after years of reading comments in this blog, I know how they go.) I really do think a mark of intelligence is to make complex…ideas easy to understand. I’ve personally only had trouble understanding ONE sentance of one article and I told you which one it was. (Whether or not you read any of my silly ramblings is another story).

But now, I’m drunk enough to actually say “I disagree!” I empathise with all those who can’t understand you. After all, I really believe that your ideas are relevant to our society and ah..*could* make a difference. Sure, you may say “But only an X amount of people read my drivel.” To which the answer is, of course, that people influence each other. That, and what’s the point of writing an article if only I dunno..I’ll make up a number…%5 of the population can understand it? I’m actually currious on this one.

It seems the ever-inebriated Aussie has started a new trend here…. Anyhow, the short answer is: you are obviously confusing me with someone who gives a damn.

I don’t believe that my writing is particularly difficult for anyone with reasonable intelligence to follow, although I will admit that my more iconoclastic ideas can sometimes be difficult to contemplate upon one’s initial exposure to them. I suspect it’s unfamiliarity with ideological commentary taking place outside of the Rep-Dem kabuki box that is the real source of the difficulty for most people. The Republican hears “pull out of Iraq”, the Democrat hears “women shouldn’t vote” and their brains shut down as their knee-jerk reactions kick in.

I disagree about intelligence being concerned with making the complex easy for the non-intelligent to understand. That is a third-rate intelligence, of which Richard Dawkins is a fine example. A first-rate intelligence creates, a second-rate intelligence synthesizes, a third-rate intelligence popularizes. That’s why most successful businessmen, while brighter than the norm, are seldom the most intelligent.

The evidence tends to suggest that I am a second-rate intelligence, furthermore, popularizing ideas is not why I write. Writing is essentially a selfish act, an arrogant act, mine is merely a little more openly so than most. I write because it amuses me, because it occupies me and because without writing it out, I cannot properly articulate my thinking. An extremely intelligent and half-insane college girlfriend – she ended up requiring psychiatric hospitalization – once said something to one of her friends that made a great impression on me: “Great thoughts floating through your head are nothing more than feelings, until you articulate them and prove their existence.”

Now, imagine living in a world where nearly everyone else, nine out of ten, has an extra chromosome and are moderately retarded. And then imagine that of the remaining ten percent, nine out of ten have been voluntarily lobotomized in order to better fit in with the retards. How much interaction could you bear to have with them, how much effort would you devote to make them understand what you are thinking? How much pleasure would you derive from interacting with them at all?

This may sound frighteningly arrogant, of course, but it’s not as if I had no reason to essentially withdraw from the world before I turned 25. I vastly prefer to keep the moronic world at arms length, even so, one can’t escape it entirely; it’s somewhat annoying to be considered a mediocre fantasy novelist when it’s possible that “The Wrath of Angels” might even be considered a brilliant work of social commentary if there were readers capable of grasping that the religious fantasy is only a thin veil over the real story.

(And no, I’m not going to spell things out, there are enough blatant hints right there in the text. There’s no humour in a joke explained.)

It may not, in fact, be brilliant, and certainly the world is knee-deep in whiny artistes who consider themselves misunderstood and underappreciated, but the truth is that a verdict can’t be rendered one way or another by those who are demonstrably unable to even begin to consider the question. After all, you can’t argue that Calvino is a better writer than Battistelli if you don’t read Italian.

Still, it is rewarding when a Starwind reminds me that no one is beyond the need to double-check the historical record, when a Jefferson demonstrates that not all atheists are closed-minded, insufferable prigs and when I see an individual who previously couldn’t argue his way out of a paper bag using Ockham’s Razor to slice and dice an interlocutor.

So, Nienna, please simply regard me as intellectually autistic, take the columns for whatever they happen to be worth to you and don’t worry about it. If you wish, if you believe there is some benefit to the ideas I am expressing, feel free to provide appropriately dumbed-down, kabuki-boxed translations on your blog for the Three Monkey crowd.