I am a hang glider pilot, photographer, and amateur philosopher.
My profession is software engineering. My last job was leading a team of technical authors tasked with writing online help for automotive software.
I have always seen myself as the thin, freckle-faced, intelligent boy; the star of the movie of life, faster, stronger, and cleverer than most everyone else. A member of a superior race.
When I was very young I drew better spaceships than the other boys. When I was older I built better plastic model airplanes. (In retrospect I realize that they weren’t better, but I assumed they were at the time.) I could run faster, jump higher, do more dangerous and spectacular things on a bike.
The one in front was an angular, gray-haired woman who dipped her head briefly in an automatic gesture of respect when she saw him. He opened the inner door and motioned them inside, moving aside so that they would not brush against him as they went.
— from Lifeboat by Harry Harrison and Gordon R. Dickson, 1977
I and others like me were expected to excel and to set an example to the common people. (Nobody ever explained why.) In provincial Britain during the 1960s, heavily-built types were assumed to be mentally dim. The occasional exception, like the science prodigy at our school who was a big lad wearing spectacles, paradoxically seemed to reinforce the stereotype, as did the one girl in our physics class who challenged the assumption that girls’ minds are ill-equipped for reasoning.
The discarding of those prejudices has undoubtedly improved society. However, there is a down-side. Now the pendulum has swung the other way and men are supposed to be ‘hunky’ rather than slim and have ‘social skills’ instead of intelligence of the technical kind.
The goalposts have been moved. (Who moved them?) Is it a side-effect of democracy? How do we correct it?
It is imperative that we fix this problem. Although humans are uniquely cultural among living things, we are nevertheless primarily genetic beings. Women who select gangsters and businessmen (or other dodgy geezers with ‘social capital’) as the fathers of their offspring cannot expect the panacea of education to stand in for technical intelligence. Neither should they expect artificial aids (automatically focusing spectacles, varipulse pacemakers, multiple heart bypass valves, and mobile phones that are more intelligent than they are…) to turn their sons into the proverbial brave men worthy of beautiful women living in sunny uplands. The genetic quality of humanity is at stake.