T Nation

Obscure Quotes That Made You Think


"Being famous is a side effect of being well spoken"

It was a random quote that made me think... I mean I honestly never thought any thing of the idea of being "well spoken". Honestly, I almost considered the comment to be condescending. Maybe that's because I grew up to pee brained older white women telling me, "Oh your so handsome and well spoken little half nigger boy!"... Digressing, when I really sat down to think about it I realized that being truly well spoken is not a talent you can buy with a dictionary.

The more I see people try to buy clout with a handful of dictionary and thesaurus pennies the more apparent that becomes. It makes me think of an often thrown around phrase, "real recognize real". Used frequently "downtown" it is an often over looked quote but when you think about it, genius would not be genius anymore if the average could comprehend it.

Don't believe me? Try to make sense of some of Einstein's work(using a generic example). If Einstein walked up to you today and poured his entire body of knowledge on you, you would likely call him a quack and dismiss it all without even attempting to understand it.

I really believe some not so intelligent people can put up a good front of being well spoken but so often it is just painfully transparent... It is like a parody. Unfortunately knowing speech alone is not the only prerequisite for discerning pretentious hog wash from the thoughts of a true genius...

Anyway I'm just thinking out loud. Would like to hear some seemingly obscure quotes that made other people really think as well.


Interesting topic. I've come across well-spoken people and people who have had to do it methodically, and for whom it doesn't come naturally. The difference is there to see. In some situations it is an incredibly important ability to have. In others, not so.

It won't guarantee success but it can definitely open doors.

There was a quote about genius without hard work, but I can't remember what. You know, people can have all the talent in the world but if they don't apply themselves fully, they'll waste their chances. I think that's an interesting idea too.

I know people who are very intelligent, but not particuarly driven to do anything. If they were passionate about something, they'd go right to the top. Always a waste to see that.


If a genius chooses not to participate in society is it to bad for him or is it too bad for you? lol

I remember reading something on the subject of truly freak instances of human intelligence and they claimed that those in the very highest echelons of human intelligence often grew to hate society. Many brilliant scientists grew to shun the entire scientific community over time. It's a shame what advances in so many different fields of thought must have never seen the light of day due to that. That was a response to the passion idea by the way, sorry if I seemed to digress.


True. If a genius chooses not to participate then its bad for society lol. But that's just selfish me.

Freak instances of human intelligence fascinate me. I sometimes look at the most benign looking inventions around, stuff we take for granted, and we never consider for a second what kind of hard work or inspiration it might have taken to even contemplate them.

I suppose the passion thing is tricky - I know some people who got their "dream job" or worked in a field that they were really passionate about. However, as soon as it became about deadlines, and about slogging away at their phD or their dream job, they began to hate it. Obviously, this is a different point from the one you're making about those scientists. About them, I wonder if it has anything to do with neuroticism and obsession which can often be an important characteristic of a successful person, or a genius. What drove them? Exploration? Success? Or a downright annoying obsession bordering on a dangerous zeal?


I'm not sure what drives people like that but I would venture to say its not "success". Passion is really an odd thing for myself though. I admit that I do not understand it much.


@ Deorum

The psychologist Abraham Maslow actually made a career study of this phenomenon (despite not really being a "genius" himself). His "self actualizing" people were prone to being loners and wholly misunderstood by the society around them regardless of their brilliance.

Matt Thornton wrote a very good piece about how this relates to sports performance here: http://www.straightblastgym.com/thoughts.htm

I have always said "Unfortunately, it takes intelligence to recognize intelligence". Good thread, BTW.


I like the subtle "unfortunately" part haha.


I'm enjoying this conversation, as it is similar to one that frequently goes on in my head.

A very intelligent man once told me that raw intelligence is only one tool in the toolbox. In terms of accomplishing great things (this is subjective, but let's keep the focus where it belongs and leave it in the context it currently is) so many other tools are just as important, and some more important. Examples: Drive, determination, emotional resilience, etc.


Interesting that you associated fame and being well spoken with intelligence.

My current perspective is that many who are 'famous' are intelligent, yet just as many are not. I don't see intelligence as the common thread that runs through them.


Oh, honestly I'm not sure if I agree with the quote but it just really made me think about "being well spoken".


A famous one is "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."


I go past the possible (the impossible?) Beyond that, to where the possible and impossible meet to become...the possimpible.


A first fight, a first kiss, a first snowfall. People don't die but worlds die in them.

This is by a Russian poet. I take it to mean you live on until the people who shared your experience die and with them goes a piece of your world.


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell may well interest you guys. (as well as his other books)


You're absolutely right. I notice this on facebook especially.

I'm a writer, and even though I may not sound all that articulate or classy on this site, I'm actually really one of the best in the world at what I do.

And what I can tell you is that I can tell RIGHT AWAY when people are trying to use big words, fancy syntax, or different phrasing in order to try to keep up with me. Normally they'll give it away because they're using a word that is clearly a synonym of the simpler word they wanted to use, but it doesn't quite fit into the sentence because the meaning is just slightly different.

I've seen guys that are actually "well spoken," although I don't use that phrase because, like you said, people tend to call blacks well spoken as if few of them are.

The word I use is "eloquent," and honestly, eloquence doesn't come from using big words- it comes from being clear, concise, and having a certain flow (like a rapper) in your sentence that you simply can't teach.

There's a reason the word is not often used, and that's because most people communicate like cavemen, and most are not born with that flow. But when you hear it, you know it.


And actually, Einstein's political writings and what not were pretty simple to understand.

You want to read someone you can't understand, read Descartes or Kant or Hagel. You know that they're not being pretentious because they clearly understand what they're saying, but they're just so far off into the next world that average people will have an intensely difficult time understanding it.


And now the youth of today would rather text in obscure language than actually converse. Will that degrade or skew the bell curve of intelligence?


Personally I think the effects of stuff like this [texting in this case] are overstated. Young people don't have more trouble communicating formally if that's what you were getting at. At least not from what I have observed. And I don't notice any differences between young and old in this department.

Also: Overall improvements in tech will only make the average person more educated, if anything. If somebody said something like critical thinking and the ability to interpret things is getting worse, I could see where they were coming from. However, knowledge on its own is more available than ever now. Which means people on average KNOW more than ever before. They may not be smarter, though.


^ Well man as a guy that has interviewed many, many young people to work for me I could debate this argument. Now that could be a regional thing so not going to pull my small sample size as the word of God. But I will say it is something to consider.


Could also argue this point, how would they survive without the tech? Just because man has created things to make things easier does not mean that they are more functional. How many people can find there way around without a GPS and just use a map? How many people can change the oil on their car? Many examples here that I could use. Tech is just another tool, could they survive without the tool?

Critical thinking is sometimes a better measure for intelligence in my opinion.