My piece on Christiane Amanpour, A Terrible Disservice, brought a long-standing principle to mind:
The more intelligent you are,
the less common sense you have
Now, it is true that thereÂ have beenÂ brilliant people whoÂ had a lot of common sense. Einstein was one. R.P. Feynman was another. They both were able to maintain their connection to the average person. And, like the truly brilliant, they had the gift of being able to communicate their insights to the average Joe and Josephine.
However, they are exceptions to the rule. The more average forms of brilliance seem to lead to disaster. Brilliant Presidents charge headlong into foolish policies. Brilliant Secretaries of State play with lives as if they’re chess pieces inÂ a game – with appalling results. Brilliant professors brainwash brilliant students with ‘brilliant’ theories like socialism, libertarianism, value-free capitalism, and technical writing.
When I was studying at University, I rubbed shoulders with the truly brilliant. And, I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of crossing swords with them over esoteric and inconsequential issues. Of course, all that we ever accomplished was to confirm our superiority over the huddled masses.
IfÂ the world would haveÂ listened, we would have told themÂ a thing or two.
And, there wasn’t a thimbleful of common sense among us.
Christiane Amanpour is aÂ prime example. She’s talented. She’s incredibly intelligent. She’s a survivor. She’s brilliant. And, she can’t be arrogant if she really IS better than you, right?
If only the world would listen to her, she’d tell us a thing orÂ two.
So, weÂ listen.
And, there’s hardly a thimbleful of common sense to be heard.Â Â