Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Wicked Smart Challenge

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,

Wicked Smartness is the act of 
enabling ease of examination. 

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.

The Wicked Smart Challenge

1)    What would happen if you switched jobs with a friend for a day? Now, explain in detail your experience. 
a)    Document all of your thoughts, sensations, and feelings. 
b)    What did you learn from this experience? 
c)    Do you consider the consideration of new information learning? 
d)    Must you memorize this information to become Wicked Smart
e)    Are you now Wicked Smart because you have done something that others do not do? 
f)     Is it your action that makes you Wicked Smart or is Wicked Smartness merely an insight into a novel or otherwise lesser known experience? 
g)    Which experiences produce Wicked Smartness and which do not? 
h)    Who decides?
2)    Create a rainbow utilizing the glass method. When the sunlight passes through the glass of water, refracts (bends) and forms a rainbow of colors on your sheet of paper, pull out your shovel and begin digging for gold.
a)    Myths often survive throughout the ages because they contain a grain of truth. Find out if this one is true today, and you may not only reap the benefits of discovery, but also determine if Wicked Smartness is defined as an act.
b)   If you do not have a shovel, you can call your local weather office, and ask for the probable occurrence of rainbows in your area, based on satellite imagery of cloud formation. Triangulate the exact coordinates of the rainbow’s end, and track them down using the app Waze. Secure the area and excavate a ½ hectare site, aiming for an average drilling depth of 3 meters. Use a magnetometer to establish an electromagnetic and geophysical profile of the zone. Sift for pots of gold. Be sure to have your attorney on speed dial so that you might assert your right of ownership and patent the <Rainbow Digging> process.
i)     WARNING: If the end of the Rainbow occurs inside a bank vault, find another Rainbow.
c)   While digging or drilling for your Rainbow, ask yourself, are you Wicked Smart for having followed these instructions?
d)   What if you do not find a pot of gold at the end of your chosen Rainbow? Is Wicked Smartness the successful monetary outcome of a given action? Or, is Wicked Smartness the mere willingness to dig or drill?
3)   Disappear from your daily life. Don’t you sometimes wish you could start all over again? How difficult would it be to just walk away from your life and start anew somewhere else? As someone else?
a)   Test the waters by spending the day on the run from your friends, family, and colleagues.
b)   Use the Eurail timetable to start planning your disappearance act. Look up train times and check if you need to book a reservation. Note that some train rides are not included in the Eurail pass. Determine which train you wish to take.
c)   Once you’re on the Eurail train, ask yourself: Am I being Wicked Smart? Is Wicked Smart defined as the act of experiencing something novel? Is every thought held within or as a result of this experience something that is Wicked Smart?
d)   If Wicked Smartness can be held within a novel experience, and not otherwise experienced outside of it, is it the act or the experience that gives rise to Wicked Smartness?
e)   If while considering these thoughts on Wicked Smartness you miss your connecting train, do not fret. Simply get off at the next station. Walk to the other side of the platform, and wait for the train traveling in the opposite direction. Then, get on that train and exit at the next stop. You are now in the location where you can get back on track.
f)   While you are waiting for the next train, ask yourself: Was missing my connecting train Wicked Smart? Would others consider missing a connecting train less than Wicked Smart? Are the thoughts I’m having right now held within the experience of Wicked Smartness?

4)    Design your own Wicked Smart Challenge. Do things you haven't done before so that you might consider thoughts outside the realm of your normal thinking (assuming your normal thinking is already not the epitome by which all Wicked Smartness could be measured). 
a)    Document your experience as did Herodotus. Wait a few thousand years for someone to examine your thoughts and documented experiences. If a future scholar defines those thoughts and experiences as Wicked Smart, you are Wicked Smart
b)    If you do not want to wait this long or are otherwise put-off by the idea of not being around to experience the praise and gifts lavished upon you, keep doing things until someone calls or refers to you Wicked Smart. 
c)    Once someone refers to you as Wicked Smart, you are now Wicked Smart and can begin reaping the benefits of thinking of yourself as Wicked Smart ... 
d)    From this posture, you may tout yourself as Wicked Smart and define for the rest of us Voracious Consumers of Intelligence just exactly what it means to be Wicked Smart. Then you can charge us for this insight. 
e)    Once you have made the Fortune 400 List, you will forever go down in history as Wicked Smart.

The End. 

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