Sitting around in a (virtual) table, the BFB mods were (kind of) discussing how we will bore you next. What, with the international break upon us and what not.
“Let me at ‘em! Let me at ‘em!” Isaiah (virtually) screamed while being (virtually) held back. “I have yet to throw an insane amount of numbers and burrrra*~! related stats at them!”
*Yeah, I don’t know what that means either
Calvin was too busy saving children from burning buildings to comment.
“I have this great idea about football and genius and Steve Jobs, but people will call me stupid,” Kxevin sighed.
SoMa was too busy writing a NY Times best seller, keeping her students honest, and explaining the pros and cons of a 3-4-3 to her Hunky Soccer Husband in verse to comment.
“World Cup. Rugby. All Blacks.” Linda muttered.
Euler was too busy traveling the world and taking in the wonders of the universe whilst solving complex mathematical equations to comment.
“Blame Keita!” a random insider shouted. They were promptly taken out by KFC (mhmm, chicken. No, actually, it’s the Keita Fairness Committee. They don’t offer cookies, but you get free chicken if you join. Eh).
No one was really sure what Luke was doing*.
*Rumor has it that he is currently trying to finalize Own Goal to Barca from Man Utd. Stay tuned).
After (virtually) hearing everyone’s ideas, we decided that one can only blame Keita for so many things – ow, I stubbed my toe! Curse you, Keiteeeeee! – and so we (virtually) took a non-existent vote and decided to go with Kevin’s idea: about genius and footballers.
Now, I have a confession to make. Some of you may have known it all along; for others, this may come as a surprise. (Though, it really shouldn’t). I shouldn’t really call it a confession considering I haven’t really kept it secret, (tho, I have been keeping it in check) but basically:
I am a nerd. A total nerd.
As such, I will now proceed to apply my nerdiness to football, and other things, for your reading pleasure.
Can You Spot The Genius?
As a person in science, I know for a fact that when we’re not saving your life, we’re screwing with your mind using a variety of mediums, the most popular being our various theories and experiments. Of course, when your mind is well and truly screwed with, you come back to us and we treat you. (This is repeated multiple times).
One of the most enjoyable ways we like to mess with your mind is taking things you’ve known to be fact and tell you, ‘actually… it’s not.’ For example, 1 doesn’t actually equal 1. It’s a rounded number. HA HA.
And now, I’ll take the time and conduct a mini-experiment.
Take the following scenario:
Two children are given a simple division question. One child solves the question faster than the other.
State which child is more intelligent and why.
If I were a betting gal (I’m not) I’d bet that some of you guys are probably thinking, ‘Obviously, it’s the child who solved the question faster When is she going to get to the point of this post?’
I don’t really blame you. Based on the conventional thought of what intelligence is/constitutes, most people are vindicated in thinking the child who solved the question faster (let’s call them Child 1) was the more intelligent one.
I’m here to tell you that it might not be so black and white.
What if Child 2 had more difficulty because they took a different, less conventional, approach to the problem? What if Child 2 was looking at and understood the problem and the division process at a fundamentally deeper level? What if Child 2, instead of just memorizing the answer like fecking Child 1, decided to use long division to solve the problem?
Let’s try another scenario, one more relevant to this blog.
Someone Xavi has the ball on the halfway line. Their team just regained possession and there are still opposition players in and around their half of the pitch. There is an open lane between them and a teammate further up the pitch near the goal. They decide to pass back instead of passing to the teammate.
Was this an intelligent move? Why or why not?
For some, this is a much easier question to ‘solve’. For others, maybe not.
Let’s try another one: Is this guy an idiot?
I’m interested in hearing your various answers, so I’ll leave these ones open-ended. (The first scenario is as well, by the way).
Intelligence? You Can Have More Than One. Apparently.
Now, above scenarios might seem familiar to you if you are aware of the theory of multiple intelligences. Basically, a man named Howard Gardner proposed a theory in 1983 which stated
IQ IS OVERRATED that people can have eight (though he said nine) different types of intelligence (which I am kind enough to summarize for you):
1) Visual/Spatial, aka “picture smart”: Tend to think in pictures and need to create vivid mental images to retain information. Enjoy looking at maps, charts, pictures, and movies.
Skills/traits include (but not limited to): Puzzle building, reading, writing, and sense of direction, sketching, painting, and interpreting visual images
2) Linguistic, aka “word smart”: Highly developed listening skills and are generally
elegant speakers. Able to comprehend and write well.
Skills/traits include (but not limited to): speaking, writing, story telling, explaining, teaching, using humor, understanding the meaning of words, remembering information
3) Logical/Mathematical, aka “number/reasoning smart”: Use numbers. Good at recognizing patterns, sequence of ideas. Able to think abstractly, reason logically, and solve problems systematically. Curious about the world around them. Asks lots of questions and like to do experiments.
Skills/traits include (but not limited to): Problem solving, classifying and categorizing information, doing controlled experiments
4) Bodily-kinesthetic, aka “body smart”: Good body coordination. Can use the body well in sports, acting, building. Able to handle objects well, using fine motor skills and eyehand coordination
Skills/traits include (but not limited to): Dancing, physical co-ordination, sports, hands on experimentation, using body language, and using their hands to build, and expressing emotions through the body
5) Musical, aka “music smart”: Sensitivity to pitch, rhythm, tone as well as the
emotional power and order of music. Remember melody and beat of tunes. Think in sounds
Skills/traits include (but not limited to): Singing, playing musical instruments, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of music
6) Interpersonal, aka “people smart”: See things from other people’s point of view to understand how they think and feel. Encourage cooperation. Able to relate well with others and respond to and work with different types of people. Outgoing.
Skills/traits include (but not limited to): Listening, using empathy, understanding other people’s moods and feelings, counseling, co-operating with groups, noticing people’s moods, building trust
7) Intrapersonal, aka “self-smart”: Understand their inner feelings, dreams. Aware of one’s own moods, wishes, problems, fears, and goals. Clear sense of self
Skills/traits include (but not limited to): Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analyzing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, reasoning with themselves.
8 ) Naturalistic, aka “nature smart”: ability to see patterns in nature and work in natural environment with livestock, wildlife, plants etc
Skills/traits include (but not limited to): keen sense of balance with nature and the body, sensitive to environmental and animal abuse, sees patterns in nature, prefers nature to cities, feels at their best in nature
*9) Moral-Existential, if there was one, aka “doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t really exist smart”
In picture form:
For an example, take Leo Messi. He falls into the bodily-kinesthetic and visual/spatial category, as he can visualize the pitch in his mind and use his superior control over his body movements to get to his destination, but can also qualify for the intrapersonal one (he’s shy, and doesn’t like talking, but knows what he wants and how to get it). Pep also falls into bodily-kinesthetic and spatial, but also is also strong in interpersonal and linguistic (see acceptance speech for Catalan award and article written for El Pais).
Someone like Steve Jobs hits all of them except maybe Musical and Naturalistic.
“I am so smart. I am so smart. S-M-R-T — I mean, S-M-A-R-T!”
Is a man like Steve Jobs smarter than Sacchi or, for an easier example, Messi? Depends on what the rubric is. Each is iconic in their chosen, and very different, fields.
The term (insert sport name here) IQ is often used to describe someone who has above average positional sense and ability than other equally talented individuals.
For example, in our lovable sport, we hear the term ‘football IQ’ everywhere. Xavi has a high football IQ. Messi has a very high football IQ. Pretty much everyone on Barca has a high football IQ. But for a comparison, someone like Gareth Barry [sorry, had to pick someone] has a lower football IQ than Xavi. Who doesn’t? Put the ball in front of them, and 99% of the time Xavi would pick the better and/or more ‘intelligent’ option.
What makes Xavi constantly pick the right path, the right choice? Is it an innate, instinctual thing? That is to say, if you asked Xavi why he picked that pass, would he just shrug and say, “I just did. Because…it was just the right thing to do”? Or does he make each pass after instantly considering every option and choosing the best one?
Some More Things To Consider
Malaga coach Manuel Pelligrini may be a civil engineer, but can he instantly tell the different types of mushrooms like Xavi can?
I can solve a given trigonometric identity [not the I’d want to], but ask me what planking is – what the hell is that? – and I couldn’t say.
How Do You Define Genius?
Of course, in this theory of multiple intelligences, there are obviously many things that are subject to debate.
Some people feel that if someone possesses most, or all, of the different intelligences, they are a true genius. It means they are superior in every kind of way.
Others feel that if one hits, or falls into, more than one category of intelligence, they are a well-rounded person. After all, shouldn’t everyone process a healthy portion of each intelligence?
There are those who rank the intelligences in order of the most important, or relevant. [“I don’t really care if you can spell the national anthem backwards in under three minutes. The one who can solve one rubik’s cube in less than 5 minutes is still smarter!”]
And some who completely disregard others. [“Logical-mathematical? That’s legit. Naturalist? What is this crap?”]
But it all depends, right? People have different opinions, and/or are forced to see things in a different way. I remember when I had to oversee a debate and the first thing I did was ask people to take a side, then I put them on the team that completely opposed that view. Why? Because you’re forced to consider things in a different way – gain a different perspective – so you become better-rounded as a result.
So how do you define genius?
We all know Kun Aguero‘s answer: