Tag Archives: rationality

The Appeal of Chess

If you are a non-chess player, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. People spend hours staring at a board, intermittently moving around small wooden pieces. There’s little talking, little movement, just a lot of staring and thinking … and smoking. For some reason, a lot of chess players smoke their brains out. My grandfather, the man who taught me chess, seemingly could not play without a cigarette between his fingers. It also made him look rather formidable, what with the constant stream of smoke blowing from his nose.

The legendary Mikhail Tal also smoked non-stop.

If you’ve never played chess, everything I’m about to say will seem strange. Nonetheless, I will try to illustrate the magic of chess, of how it ensnares an unfortunately few and refuses to let them go. Many people play chess, often just as a fun pasttime, but a select few become well and truly obsessed. Continue reading

The Ideal Person: The Mental Side

The other day I made a post discussing a hypothetical ideal person. When discussing what an ideal person could be physically, it was easy. They should be strong, fast, mobile and healthy. There isn’t much else we can say about that topic. When it comes to our mental side, our intelligence, things become a bit harder.

Obviously an ideal person should be smart, but that’s a pretty vague word. Think of a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist, a CEO of a company. All four of these people are smart, but they are smart in very different ways. I don’t just mean the content of their knowledge. Obviously each has a different professional skillset, but they all actually think differently. Think of the difference between being book-smart and street-smart. If you imagine that difference as a continuum, each profession, indeed likely every person, would fall somewhere inbetween the two extremes.

Cats can be smart, too. Image taken from chickensmoothie.com

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