Intellect is revered by many, but unilaterally it does not deserve reverence. There are at least three reasons that aggressive intellectual behavior should be regarded with skepticism. It is often used as a weapon against the vulnerable, or the unsuspecting. Used recklessly it exposes people to the dangers of overreach regarding both physical, and ethical boundaries. The third reason actually encompasses the first two. Human intellectual capacity is advantageous in understanding, or focusing on how to study narrow topics. It is, however, negligible in its grasp of knowledge, because the universal field of knowledge is infinite. Brilliance is but a minute speck in an exploding field of possibilities. Human intellectual capacity is miniscule, but the opportunities it can launch are infinite. Intellectual work is launching opportunity. Measuring work requires establishing that there was some.
Work is identified in the scientific community as: Force times Distance. Force has a directional vector. It is pressure applied in a particular direction. Intellectual work is exactly the same, except, by definition, The direction of the force must be away from harm, and toward benefit.
New things are created faster than the human capacity to learn them. Even minute discoveries require generations of observation to establish a ratio of benefit to harm, and begin to improve that correlation. Because ignorance is dangerous, and astronomically more prolific than wisdom, wisdom is the only allowable force that can be used to accomplish intellectual work. The first requirement in identifying intellectual work is to do no harm.
Grandiose intellectual authoritarianism causes unnecessary reckless exposure to inhumanity, and it causes political regression. Harm does not have any equivalency to benefit. Intellectual work is of value to humanity. It is economic in nature.
The word politic is defined as wise. The political reality that has peppered history with war, injustice, poverty, depression, and despair fails to show us wisdom. What it does show is deception, intellectual authority with no moral compass. Allegiance to knowledge is different than allegiance to wisdom. Wisdom is economic. It has a compass, and an allegiance to humanity. Allegiance to humanity is force in a particular direction toward benefit, away from harm. Wisdom adheres to the physical and ethical boundaries that exist in nature.
Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying: “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
Intellect is bought, and sold as a political commodity. It is often used to replace economic reality, truth, with false promises which are used by intellectual predators to claim false legitimacy for their right to dominate. Trickery is intellectual force that has no economic benefit, or it does harm. Intellectual force that is obscure can do no work because secrets do harm by their very nature, just because they are secretive.
Learning is in itself economically benign. Its value lies in how it affects behavior. Intellectual work is equivalent to the behavior it inspires. Economic behavior benefits humanity. The value of learning is determined by its effect on people. Education benefits humanity because, by definition, education is economic. All learning is not educational. Education is beneficial. That is not political rhetoric, religious dogma, or educational philosophy. That is reality. Learning to harm humanity is not education. Neither is failure to learn how to produce benefit.
Intellectual capacity increases the ability to learn. It is mental muscle. Physical muscle increases opportunity. Intellectual capacity increases opportunity, exponentially. Opportunities historically have often been used to secure divisive power that results in conflict that erodes naturally existing economic capacity. It erodes capability. Just as matter requires space. Conflict and economic capability can not occupy the same space. That is probably the precise reason that natural economics is not institutionally studied, even though it probably holds the greatest opportunity ever available to individuals, and to the whole of humankind.
Predation either consumes, or it is consumed. It is organized conflict composed of disorganized conflict. It is a habitat for smugness, sycophancy, defiance, depression, despondence, and despair. Predatory environments are not suitable for long term occupancy because with the passage of time, predation ultimately ends in failure. Economic work can not be predatory.
People are different than other species, but superstitiously we look at ourselves as if we were like other animals. We are different. Each human life encompasses many generations, both genetically, and environmentally. For people survival is not of the strongest or the smartest people, because people build, or they fail to build a habitable economic environment that requires diversity. Human survival and satisfaction is better served by cooperation than competition.
As individuals we carry all of the genes of our ancestors, a living genetic chain. That fact doesn’t differentiate us from other species, but it does make us individuals with unique capabilities, and unique needs. The same way our DNA chains us to multiple generations, the effect of the results of our behaviors span the generations.
We leave ideas, tools, and culture to succeeding generations. At the same time, we either use or discard the gifts left by previous individuals, and cultures. We modify the environment that new citizens will be born into. Predation destroys the environment we pass on. It destroys the human habitat physically by adding toxins, toxic culture, and rubble. Predation destroys people intellectually by leaving a world of chaos, and superstition.
Predation is poor economic behavior. Poor, because of the effect it has on people, and the detrimental effects it has on future generations. Intellect applied to predation possibly makes efficient predators, but it certainly harms humanity.
Efficient predators destroy social order. The effect can be observed behaviorally in virtually any multigenerational period in history. The behavior no longer needs analyzation to establish the link between social depravity, and the fear of dangerous behavior. Actual brain damage is inflicted on people who are repeatedly exposed to danger. Perceived danger has the same brain damaging effect. According to research done by Dr Daniel Amen, brain damage caused by automatic negative thoughts is much like that caused by physical injury. It can be observed behaviorally, and measured using (SPECT) single photon emission tomography.
There are many intelligent people who populate what are commonly called think tanks. These can be found in many settings political, religious, and educational. There is nothing untoward about smart people having intellectual discussions, but the introduction of predatory motives make superstitious nonsense that removes both the physical border of reality, and the ethical boundaries of social sanity. Intellectual work is measurably economic, or it is nonexistent.