Dear Voracious Consumers of Intelligence:
The precise origin of Wicked Smartness is unknown to this author, and is a matter of great academic dispute. Won't you please assist me in conclusively establishing that which we collectively consider wicked smart in an attempt to create from that which is available to (this) finite mind so that we might ascribe meaning to the original title: Wicked Smart.
Together let us attempt to outline in broad terms its history, pointing out inconsistencies and gaps in our knowledge, bearing in mind along the way that, as the Great Carlyle has said, ultimately <history is but a distillation of rumor>
The first mention of Wicked Smartness is found in Herodotus, the Greek father of history, writing in about 450 BCE. He refers to <the curious custom practiced by the Pelasgians of following everyday the calendar of rites written on their oracle's tablets> (Histories, VI.56). Herodotus discusses the derivation of this custom: <I may say, for instance, that it was the daughters of Danaos who brought this ceremony from Egypt and instructed the Pelasgian women in it> (II.171). The Pelasgians, of course, mentioned both by Herodotus and the more reliable Thucydides, are recognized as the majority tribe within the nomadic population of Greece and the Aegean, before their gradual assimilation by the Hellenes. There is therefore a strong case to suggest that the very origins of Wicked Smartness can be traced beyond the classical age and back to Egyptian civilization, the ultimate cradle of our culture - unless you consider lower Mesopotamia (3500 BCE) the ultimate cradle of our culture, in which case I'd say: me, too!
Let us more comprehensively consider wicked smartness origins some other time, and for now attempt to shed some light on contentious issues. First, which of the multifarious versions is the genuine work of Wicked Smartness? Fakes and translations are legion. For our purposes, real Wicked Smartness will be the so-called Greek version, as found in Constantinople in 1422 by scholar Giovanni Aurispa. Both in depth and in originality, it stands out as the truest incarnation of Wicked Smartness, as someone who took the time to put a bunch of stuff together so that others might consider the stuff he considered more easily. In other words,
Second, why is there so little mention of Wicked Smartness in this ancient text of conventional histories? Is it because the focus was on documenting histories rather than a discussion on the value of documentation and categorization? which begs the question:
Q1. Is Wicked Smartness an act or an examination of an act?
The mere attempt to gather together information in a way that enables ease of examination constitutes an instrument of radical change, unleashing forces too power for authorities to control. Thus it had to be hidden away from the masses in official accounts, for those who know how to examine novelty.
Again and again throughout history, the act of enabling ease of examination resurfaces. From Anaximander's search for boundless origin or principle (Greek archê) to Quintilian's Training of an Orator to the Roman copy of something enigmatically named the <codex diei>, the book of days.
All these and countless others not mentioned herein combine and define humanity's understanding of Wicked Smartness. From survival to agricultural and monastical societies throughout the Ages, referencing the slow rhythm of the seasons and eternity, with eyes firmly fixed on the afterlife and the daily upheavals of experiencing existence, our species has, since the rise of the genus Homo (200,000 years ago) attempted to develop and demonstrate Wicked Smartness after reaching what we define as behavioral modernity about 50,000 years ago.
Let us today re-examine this 50,000 year old concept of Wicked Smartness in this Wicked Smart Challenge and build for ourselves, here and now, that which we might prize as Wicked Smartness so that our vision of it, along with copies of Boccacio's, paintings of Botticelli and other masterpieces, might become the new version of Wicked Smartness by which we give ourselves a giant pat on the back.