Monday 4 February 2022, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Any replies to the organizer
Venue: 44 Waymouth St, Adelaide CBD, South Australia
1. When has it been worthwhile for you
to struggle with something for which you don't seem to have much
2. How much of an advantage is there in
being 'naturally talented' at something? When can that talent
also cost in other ways? Real life examples?
useful, or not, are psychological tools for measuring talent?
e.g. IQ tests, aptitude tests, personality tests ... etc.
4. In every occupation a small number of people (say 15%)
are superbly capable. The bulk of individuals get by and hold
down a job but are uninspired. Another small group (say 15%) are
incompetent to the point of being a menace to everyone around
them, as well as to themselves. Why have these ratios never been
really changed? Examples from your experience?
someone has well above average talent in some area, they will
often be resented (especially in Australia) and even socially
excluded. How can they manage this situation? Play dumb? Seek
out the company of like minds and limit contact with the rest?
6. Higher degrees, or membership of some culture or country
(ref. American or Chinese exceptionalism), or even skin colour
is enough to persuade many of those so certified that they are
indeed special and superior to the rest of the human species.
This is absurd when you look at it, but drives all kinds of
outcomes from jobs to wars to marriage. What are some cures for
delusions of exceptionalism?
7. Every culture, present
and historical, has had some members who claimed to have
unnatural abilities. These people may be shamans or priests or
fortune tellers. They may be astrologers or financial advisors.
They might salesmen or teachers or They might even be Youtube or
Tiktok influencers. Who, if any of these characters have you
been inclined to listen to? Why do they continue to hold such
appeal to so many people?
8. How should we relate to
people to people of obviously low intelligence (which is after
all not their fault)? Like everyone else they will make
judgements based on what they understand, so may not understand
some of your attitudes or actions .. [IQ tests are a poor
predictor of success in any field, or in the great game of life
generally. However those with a measured IQ 80 or less (below
the 9th percentile) do generally struggle (a bit like those with
exceptionally high IQs) to get by comfortably in communities of
average ability (IQ 100 +/- 20)].
9. There has been an
endless argument since the beginning of mass education in the
19th Century about whether children should be streamed into
ability groups, or learn to adapt to mixed ability classes. What
are your feelings about this?
10. The Monkey King, Sun Wu
Kong 孙悟空 , in Chinese mythology was an individual of
extraordinary abilities. However he used these abilities in a
destructive way at first, so the gods chained him under a
mountain for 500 years. Upon release, a golden band was placed
around his head. This band would tighten painfully if he got
erratic. Wu Kong was then able to do great good. How would you
apply this parable to the 21st Century? [... Elon Musk?]. Does
great talent have to be constrained?
Lisa Christensen, Jake Gittleson, and
Matt Smith (August 7, 2020) "The most fundamental skill:
Intentional learning and the career advantage". McKinsey &
[Quote: "Formal learning opportunities account for only a small
percentage of the learning a professional needs over the course
of a career. Everyday experiences and interactions offer
tremendous learning opportunities, but only if you intentionally
treat every moment as a learning opportunity"].
Tools Content Team (n.d.) "Learning Styles
The Models, Myths
and Misconceptions – and What They Mean for Your Learning".
Tom Vanderbilt (7 January 2021) "The joys of being an
absolute beginner – for life". The Guardian @
[Quote: "The phrase ‘adult beginner’ can sound patronising. It
implies you are learning something you should have mastered as a
child. But learning is not just for the young"]
Rawlinson (24 January) "British boy who taught himself to read
aged two joins Mensa - Teddy Hobbs has taught himself how to
read and count while playing on his tablet". The Guardian @
Lory Hough (Winter 2015) "What's Worth Learning in
School?" Harvard Ed.School @
[Quote: "Professor David Perkins likes to tell this story:
Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was getting on a train. One of his
sandals slipped off and fell to the ground. The train was
moving, and there was no time to go back. Without hesitation,
Gandhi took off his second sandal and threw it toward the first.
Asked by his colleague why he did that, he said one sandal
wouldn’t do him any good, but two would certainly help someone
else. As Perkins writes in his new book, Future Wise, “People
cherish the story as a marvelous example of a charitable act.
And so it is, on a small scale, seizing a singular moment.” But
as he also points out, and as he told an audience at the Future
of Learning institute held this past summer at the Ed School, it
was more than that: It was also a knowledgeable act. By throwing
that sandal, Gandhi had two important insights: He knew what
people in the world needed, and he knew what to let go of".]
Michael J. Sandel ( Sept. 2, 2020) "Disdain for the Less
Educated Is the Last Acceptable Prejudice. It’s having a
corrosive effect on American life — and hurting the Democratic
Party". New York Times @
[Quote: "Joe Biden has a secret weapon in his bid for the
presidency: He is the first Democratic nominee in 36 years
without a degree from an Ivy League university. This is a
potential strength. One of the sources of Donald Trump’s
political appeal has been his ability to tap into resentment
against meritocratic elites". ]
Better Than Yesterday (10
March 2022) "Comfort Will Ruin Your Life" Youtube @
Kitazawa (Jan 14, 2023) "How the Social Divide in Education Is
Fueled by Jobs". Shortform website @
[Quote: "David Graeber’s book Bullshit Jobs describes how jobs
that serve no purpose in society create deep social divides.
According to him, pointless jobs foster resentment between
college-educated “white-collar” workers and non-college-educated
“blue-collar” workers." ]
Thor May (2014) "The Purpose of
Education - a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy? .. Is education
most commonly treated purely as an instrumental tool (e.g. to
get a job), or as a path to self-development, or both? How can a
balance between objectives be achieved in public education? "
The Passionate Skeptic website @
Thor May (2015) "The Unexpected Power of Stupidity". The
Passionate Skeptic website @
"It turns out that stupidity is complicated. Your stupid act or
mine may be boringly simple, but the whole mass of human
stupidity acted out on a daily basis is a Gordian knot which may
be beyond human comprehension let alone resolution, even as it
strangles the life out of the planet. In fact I know it is
insoluble because your simple minded stupidity, and yours, and
yours … is beyond my comprehension. If we all understood each
other perfectly 100% of the time, our judgements of other
people’s stupidity would probably reduce by about 95%. We never
understand each other perfectly, even after long acquaintance,
and there is no prospect that we ever will understand each other
perfectly (life would be extremely boring if we did). Therefore
the best we can do with the stupidity monster is to sort out
some of its more common disguises."]