Heading in a new direction:
Sober people contend that stimulating the right part of the scalp with a mild electrical signal will so affect the underlying brain that it will produce an increase in cognitive ability.  (Brain Blast NATURE vol. 489 no. 7454 June 20, 2013 page 271) I don’t believe it.  People have been shocking everything in sight for a long time.  Remember electroconvulsive therapy?  If you were depressed they hooked you up to electrodes and gave a seizure.  Then they did it again … and again … and again.  You know?  I feel better already and I’m not even depressed.  Well the Romans were treating depressed people with electric eel shocks two thousand years ago.

I once saw a replica of a Sears and Roebuck catalog that was many years old.  There were several models of a sort of belt that would give you an electric shock.  They were coy about just what they were claiming such a belt would do, but it was evident from their language that it was supposed to be like Viagra. 

Shortly after electrical devices were made that could give a pretty good shock one of them was brought to Scotland.  Soon thereafter a woman fell from a nearby building and was found dead.  Somebody suggested trying the electrical device.  It worked.  I have seen a lot of dead people shocked back to life.  (They never let me do it.  There were always more charismatic people demanding center stage.)  So in my opinion if an electric shock could make you smarter we would know.

But it will never be popular anyway.  Many years ago I locked my keys in my car at a filling station.  It was cold.  I was not in a good mood.  I sat on a curb by the car and moped as I waited for the filling station attendant to find and bring a coat hanger.  Now I wish to state that people are all right.  People are really great.  We have our blind spots and our prejudices and are capable of really bad stuff, but we are also capable of kindness.  Now you must understand that this was in Massachusetts and any appearance of being friendly or helpful is against tribal taboo.  So to do anything like that you have to conceal it.  I had lived there long enough to understand.

Well presently a couple of very rough looking men undertook to keep me company to cheer me up.  They sat, as if the coincidence was the most natural thing in the world, about twenty feet away on the same curb.  They chatted.  I did not listen until they got to the part they wanted me to hear, whereupon there was a subtle change in their voices.

“He was a genius, so of course he was insane.”

“Why is that?”

“Why is what?”

“Why are geniuses insane?”

“Well think about things you know.  Isn’t about sixty percent of it b*** s***?”

“Yes.  Of course.”

“And that hurts; it makes your head feel bad.”


“Well geniuses know it’s all b*** s***, and it makes them go crazy.” 

My mood lightened. 

Nobody wants to be smarter.  All anybody wants to hear is confirmation of what they already think.  And there is no worse critic than your own mind.  Get smarter and things you believe fall apart more and more.

People go out of their way to get dumber.

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