In the course of my daily life, I run into many intelligent people.
Many of them are even more intelligent than I. Difficult to believe, but true.
Intelligence abounds in the 21st Century. Just as people grow taller in sync with improvements in nutrition with each successive generation, the fine tuning of intellect has also met a similar modern fate. The younger generations are keenly aware of their world and ignorance is a difficult (though not unheard of) trait to encounter. Schooling has become a mental boot camp and grade schoolers are immersed (submersed, actually) in reams of educationally-induced data which is institutionally mandated for the continuance of higher education. Knowledge is cheaply abundant and the nutritionally aided physiological fine tuning I spoke of earlier also negates the physical rigors of primitive society thus allowing us to direct greater measures of our intellect toward the elevation of the cognitive. Younger people are more “intelligent” today. Or I should say, they know more.
But as I maneuver through the post-adolescent minefield of modern culture, I’m struck by an interesting realization. In spite of our surplus intelligence, in the midst of astronomical SAT’s and blossoming IQ’s and the plethora of 4.0+ GPA’s, something is missing. An incompletion, a partial gesticulation. The picture is still hazy, gray, lethargically undeveloped. All the intelligence we can muster in this modern technological world is tempered by the scarcity of something that cannot be inculcated in school by parental demand.
Bright-ness. The ethereal, soulful co-quality of the intellect, what which materializes independently of the pretentious meddling of human interlopers. We become intelligent but we do not become Bright.
Bright springs from the hidden roots of your personal genesis and it cannot be taught, like many human behaviors which many would have us believe can be attained through repetition, mental training or boot camps. I don’t believe Bright is a dwindling or expanding human trait. It is regulated by an unquantifiable Constant splayed across the entirety of the human population throughout existence. Bright is an autonomous quality which only augments or enhances existing qualities, but is not dependent on the presence of other qualities to manifest itself. Since I don’t believe Bright is necessarily rarer now than in previous eras, the preponderance of intelligence has catapulted the phenomena of Bright into a noticeable and conspicuous spotlight, for intelligence, in the absence of Bright, results in wayward and delusional thinking. Intelligence, unrestrained by the absence of Bright, tends to scatter its barbarous arrows carelessly across the landscape. Intelligence is a powerful weapon and in the absence of Bright it is only a clumsy weapon in the hands of an untrained marksman.
As the collective intelligence of modern civilization has swelled over the last few generations, Bright-ness has remained constant and resulted in a social dynamic which I witness in individuals who boast of tremendous intelligence but are not mercifully Bright.
Bright, as I said, is an ambiguous and unquantifiable (hence decidedly unscientific) characteristic which I see in some and don’t see in many more.
Bright is all-encompassing. It is a cutting awareness that permeates the consciousness, a vivid but sub-textual knowledge permeating our senses which gives us a deeply intuitive understanding and anticipation of the world around us, and the people who inhabit it. Intelligence is a rough tool; Bright is the nimble and dangerous instrument which the rough tool of intelligence guides uncouthly. Bright is the aerial layer beyond that which we are accustomed. Bright is like being an auxiliary witness to this world and its periodic operations. The best description of Bright may be that; of being a witness, an onlooker, the vagabound intruder who is incidentally graced with the ability to retreat into the shadowed audience of life where he may behold the stage in its entirety from which he can thus view and comprehend all the actions as interrelated acts of disparate but woven characters. That is Bright. Intelligence is the ability to focus on a specific spot on the stage and make extraordinary assessments for that which one is studying, but still, the lack of a full panoramic conception of the stage prevents a Bright perceptiveness.
Bright tears down the walls of a tunneled vision. Bright is limitless and untethered. Since perceptions are so personal and restrained by one’s personal experiences, most do not comprehend the idea of “Bright” but their world is defined by their personal, unBright boundaries.
We live in an age of intelligent unBrightness.
We possess the intelligence to fashion and design and refine but lack the visceral connection to wield it in a useful manner. Overly focused and conforming, intelligence without Bright wallows in numbers and statistics and attempts to reduce the unworldly and elusive to manageable grids and pie charts. Intelligence must grasp, must wrap its mental tentacles around something, and in the absence of Bright, it grasps at indigent facts and data in order to discern form and function. In the absence of Bright, we solidify existent knowledge and technology…for the absence of Bright also deprives a sense of wonder and amazement.
Bright carries naivete on its wings but in our intellectually jaded world, Bright best not land.
And keep flying.