Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Rich Are Smart; The Poor Are Dumb

It's not an easy topic to discuss, but it's one that not many people stop to think about simply because of the fact that we all live our lives in the ways that we wish to and see ourselves on this pedestal of independence. We either accept the less fortunate or leave them to die; find a way to own the latest cars or spread our wealth among our neighbors.Harshly, we choose to put labels on each other to define not only our intelligence, but the amount of invisible or physical money that we currently possess. In this case, we will use the words "smart" and "dumb", and "rich" and "poor". We will also find that we can easily replace those two words with words that actually define the labels properly for what they truly are. Because, in the end, whether your smart or you're dumb, it's not your fault... to an extent.

Whenever humanity tackles the topic of poverty there's always a fine line being drawn between what it means to be "poor" or "impoverished". Now, while this particular post aims to tackle and highlight why the rich are smart and the poor are dumb, we must also realize, as a species, that we create these socioeconomic and spatial imbalances that lead to, what will be called, "the tipping of the scales." We as a species define the differences between smart and dumb, but it's not to say that we actually use the words themselves correctly. If anything, the word "smart" could be replaced with the word "privileged" and the word "dumb", replaced with "misfortuned". Why? Well, it all begins with how we separate the state of being smart or the state of being dumb.

To be smart in the general public eye is to obtain straight A's throughout your education, to know almost anything and everything within your own close group of friends or family, or to even hold a paper labeled as a "degree". All of these things can pertain to someone who is smart. In reality, one could argue that someone who has achieved very high standards throughout their time in school simply completed all of their work on time and studied heavily to obtain such grades. This then turns into a matter of being self-driven, self-motivated, and focused. This can also be looked at even deeper to the point where one could analyze the amount of free time the particular student had to complete such study and work and whether their own environment played any important part in it. 

So, the questions are raised: 
  1. Is the individual in a quiet setting free of any economic, familial struggle that would cause he or she to have to work(for income purposes) after their school time thereby limiting their ability and time to focus on their school work? 
  2. Does the individual live in a rural or urban area limiting noise levels, heightening focus? 
  3. Is the individual highly social or anti-social? 
The environment of any one individual can change the way their life is shaped in the future.

A research project stemming from the Equality of Educational Opportunity Study completed in 1966 done by various psychologists has shown that "the effect of environment on the IQ of young children can be significant, particularly for children living in poverty. As the influence of poverty decreases, the importance of environmental conditions as a limiting factor on intelligence also decreases. By addressing the environmental issues created by poverty, it may be possible to weaken the link between low socioeconomic status and poor student performance on IQ (and other) tests."

Being "smart" now becomes "privileged". Why? The term "privileged" is used to describe something or someone as having special rights, immunities, or advantages. If you do not believe a student of wealthy parents that is fortunate enough to be able to attend a private school where the education level supersedes any traditional vocational school has an advantage at obtain a better education which can lead him to be labeled as "smart" then you are among the few.

When we begin to actually look at what makes a person smart in our current society it also begins to almost disassemble and turn into an argument of whether or not they "know" things and how it is that they know them. And that's exactly how our own definition of the word smart works to an extent.

The actual definition of smart when looked at as an adjective is:
having or showing a quick-witted intelligence
This is the usual understanding of the word in today's society simply because we take someone to be smart if they have current knowledge about one or many things at any given point in time.

When looked at as an adjective in a different form it, oddly enough, now becomes a word that has to do with your personal appearance which can be argued as having to do with how much wealth one has:
(of a person) clean, neat, and well-dressed.
This begins to link back to the idea that the rich are smart, at least perceptually.

A study from the University of Notre Dame has shown that "people of high socioeconomic status are, on average, rated as more physically attractive than people of lower status." It may sound like a strange connection to make, and it may actually sound like a very superficial point, but how often to do you see someone that looks seemingly unattractive and say, "That person looks smart"? This is because we associate the notion of resembling a "high-class look" to being able to be smart. We immediately make the connection in our heads that because someone, for example, a homeless person that is wearing dirty clothes and has an unpleasant smell, looks poor they may not have had the chance to have a fulfilling education that would lead them to be smart. That is where humanity uses guilt by association to wrongly judge others because there are indeed those that we label as poor to be even smarter than 93% of the population in the U.S. alone. 

Take Maurice Johnson for example. A homeless man with two Master's Degrees.

We cannot choose to link physical appearance or "quick witted intelligence" as being smart because that is simply not the case. We need to stop assuming and start learning. We need to realize that there are those of us out there that are not given the chance to go to a good school where the teachers all themselves come from a place where good education is commonplace. It's a shame that we have to actually buy an education just to get by in the world, because in all honesty if you can't buy an education you will eventually be labeled as lazy, poor, and, yes, dumb. Sadly, it is proven by studies such as the ones I mentioned above that overall wealth does usually equal intelligence.

Do you believe yourself to be privileged? Or does smart still sound like the correct term for you? Leave a comment explaining why.

Your Instagram Following Doesn't Care About You

They will only care about you when you post something sad, show the world something they have never seen before (which is rare), or rant about a currently trending topic. Even then, they have the slightest care about you. So, why are we so obsessed with Instagram and the people that "follow" us? What is it that drives us to post more and more pictures to the world? It may sound like common sense and then again it may not, but something called an "ego" mixed with this highly unlikely, unrealistic idea that you will one day be seen by everyone and be known by the masses is driving you to post images: it's driving you to do what you do best the first thing you wake up - grab your phone and dive into instagram to see what else everyone has decided to share from their lives.
Random group of obnoxiously annoying guys
that use Instagram to show off their new cars.

Is this wrong? No. No one in the world has a book that you can open up to a chapter titled, "What You Should and Shouldn't Do." But is it really that important for you to want to have a following of people that will endlessly scroll through dozens of images a day "liking" one or two or three they feel is "cool"? Is letting the world know about that new car you just got or the restaurant you've decided to go out to tonight really all that important?

Let's take a step back and see why this so called "ego" is making you believe your instagram followers give a single care about you or your dog.

An ego is defined as:

The “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.

The act of posting material things. The act of posting selfie. The act of bragging about how much you lift, how skinny you look, how much money you have: it's all things you know to be true, but why expose it? Because we need a sense of belonging. We need a sense of separation through our own identity and ownership, but am acceptance that what we hold true to ourselves and that what we use to define ourselves is "okay" or "right" in the eyes of others.

The example of Instagram is used just as a simple example of how likes and comments fulfill our want or sometimes even need for social and anti-social drive.

Instagram displays and almost conveys an eerily invisible group of friends full of false hope.Your Instagram friends won't be there for your funeral.

We all try to be independent, but yet we all crave attention. Interesting huh?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Top 3 Signs You Are An Annoying Tourist

Working at a place like Disney World or Universal Studios may sound like a heck of a good time. What sounds like an even better time is actually visiting the theme parks; whether you are a local or come from the depths of some strangely spelled country, odds are you will have either a mediocre or satisfyingly great time. We aren't going to focus on the good side of that trip to Disney World though. Instead, we are going to point out that one person that made your trip that much more a regret rather than the best decision of your life.

Here are the top 3 signs that will assure you you've found an annoying tourist or you yourself are one:

3.Walking pace is similar to that of a crawling child
Come on now. We aren't all pushing around a stroller with our kids crying about how much they want to ice cream or go home because their feet hurt. People visit theme parks for all sorts of reasons and one of those reasons does not include having to dodge and surpass slow-walking human beings. At least stick to the sides of the walk way or, better yet, do us all a favor and increase your speed by at least 1 more mile per hour. 

Let's do the math here:
Group of tourists walking slowly towards shop "X" -  
Group of tourists walking slowly towards shop "X" =
No wasted time trying to dodge or painstakingly hit a child as you try to speed past everyone
2. Stopping in the middle of a walk way
If you've ever almost accidentally sexually molested someone on accident from behind then you know what this one is all about. Let's play back that memory you had of that one time you thought to yourself, "Seriously, you had to stop here of all places so no one else can get by you?"
It's a seemingly nice day out so, you decide to go to the mall and buy yourself a little something cause, well, it's payday. You see the store you've been searching for insight when all of a sudden BAM. A tourist stops you right in your tracks. All you were doing was walking behind them trying to reach your destination of choice however, that annoying tourist had bigger and better plans for you. That tourist decided to suddenly halt the rest of the foot traffic coming through the mall because he or she had to tie their shoe. In the middle of everyone's path. Why?
1. Origination: Brazil
You come with your tour group flags, your song-chanting travel groups, your luggage at the mall, and you feel as though the whole world is waiting on you. I don't think this needs much of an explanation.
By the way, if the best decision of your life is to take a trip to an amusement park full of the annoying kind of tourists then sincere condolences go out to you and your loved ones.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How To Starbucks, Or How Not To

Are you truly enjoying that Starbucks coffee? Or is your smartphone fulfilling the enjoyment for you?
Sitting at a Starbucks on your laptop only makes you look like an inconsiderate hipster that is either scrolling through Tumblr or keeping up with their daily feed of worldly news, also known as Facebook. Sometimes it's more than just that, though. Sometimes you're hard at work thinking about the next best thing that you could possibly create for all of those super rich people governing and secretly planning to take over the world to buy from you so you could join in on their world takeover. Regardless, people are people and the fact of the matter is that Starbucks is genuinely a good place to sit down and place life on pause so that you can bask in the glory that is Earth.

However, there's just one little problem.That smartphone of yours. But we will delve into that a little later...