Can Someone Tell Me Why Our Scholars Aren’t as Smart as the Jews?
Posted by intellisg on July 29, 2007
I AM sure we have all seen it too often. Usually it happens, when we follow behind as the guy in front walks up to receive the gold medal. Or after reading a seminal thesis that just leaves us all wondering, “why didn’t I think of cutting it that way?”
You know who I am talking about don’t you? Nope, not our elite homegrown Singaporean Scholars – I am referring to another bunch of elites! You know the likes of Einstein, Marx and Freud. Who are these elites?
The Jews of course! Have you ever wondered why those Jews are so darn smart? They even make our scholars look like a bunch of intellectual paraplegics? What do those Jews really have? What’s behind their mojo, that gives them that advantage that allows them to run circles around our scholars, not every time, but all the time?
Do you really want to know their secret for success?
Before we dive in lets face it, most of us half believe and don’t, that Jews are really smart people, its one of those bag statements like: why did the chicken cross the road? Or how many monkeys can you fit into a mini? Those statements that belongs to the half way house of reality and implausibility – cut to the chase: are Jews really smarter than our scholars? Mmmmh, that’s a tough nut to crack isn’t it? After all don’t we have a scholarship program? Doesn’t our government regularly cull the crème de la crème and put them through the paces to produce “winners?” Don’t we even have a “nurture nature” program where we use the metaphor of “guppies” and “whales” to hopefully produce really smart people?
Pray tell then, why aren’t our scholars smarter than the Jews?
Now you may think this is some flippant weekend muse, but think again. I am asking a perfectly valid question. After all millions are spent every year on sustaining the scholarship program – many of these scholars after finishing their academic tenure are integrated into the various institutions with the hope of ensuring peak individual and organizational performance. So the scholarship program even affects those who aren’t directly scholars. How do these scholars really measure up when compared to the Jews?
Do the Jews have a comparative advantage because they’re simply more of them and less of us? After all, we all know our paltry population is hardly the stuff of critical mass. There’s only 3 point so-so million of us hardly even a drop in the sea of humans so hey what do you expect? It’s a numbers game you don’t really expect us to win. Right? Nope, in fact, I did some research and came up with some startling figures which suggest, the cerebral fitness of Jews has absolutely nothing to do with numerical superiority. Consider this: out of 25.2% of Nobel Prize Winners in the last 25 years have been Jews. Even though they comprise less then a quarter of one percent of the world’s population!
OK maybe they have some sort of natural advantage that our scholars don’t have – maybe a big fat clue lies in the old country where those Jews came from. When God was still prancing around earth turning wine to water, parting oceans, wasting whole communities with lighting rods and mega floods? Maybe the Jews have a “divine advantage.” I mean how the hell, do you expect our scholars to compete against God! (no wonder people keep on saying the brotherhood is unreasonable!) Don’t believe me? Even the Bible affirms this:
“Surely this is a wise an understanding race of people…” (Deu 4.6).
There you go directly from the big man upstairs. So it’s a done deal, let’s all pack our bags and go back home –we just got the shorter end of the stick and you know the rest of the story.
Hold on a second. I hear someone hollering, “The Jews are smarter than our scholars because of their glorious heritage?” Mmmmh sounds credible, especially when you consider in down town Jerusalem, anything less than 2,000 years is still considered modern.
I mean you can’t even sit, stand or lean on anything in the state of Israel without some pesky Rabbi poking you with his walking stick and reminding you, “hey, hey, careful that’s where Jesus sat! Hey, careful there! That’s where John the Baptist lost his head etc.” No doubt about it those Jews definitely have a long and rich heritage that harks back to a glorious past, maybe there’s some truth to it all. There must be something in their heritage that gives them all a competitive advantage. You can hardly blame our scholars. What do we have to compare with the glorious Jewish heritage? OK, we have one confused Merlion who vomits water along with a few trinkets of the past, hardly the stuff that makes the hair at the back of ones head stand up when we summon the word – heritage.
But hold on a second that’s the distant history of the Jews – it doesn’t really count does it? I mean if we really look at the recent history of Jews, weren’t everyone either trying to kill, drown or maim them in the dark ages? Weren’t they like dying off so fast, even Henry IV was forced to pass a charter, circa 1090, which banned Jew bashing: “If anyone shall wound a Jew, he shall pay one pound of gold ….his eyes will be put out and his right hand cut off.” I mean if people are trying to set you on fire or strangle you to death half the time what kind of competitive advantage can it really produce? And in the 20th century, didn’t this chap who threw a party in Munich, circa 1933 called the Nazi Party even pass the Nuremberg Act to discriminate against them? – didn’t he pack 6 million Jews off? So what kind of heritage are we talking here unless you believe regularly breathing in poison gas or surviving on a diet of twigs and insects is some secret diet that produces really smart people!
What’s happening here! Can someone please tell me: why our scholars aren’t as smart as those darn Jews?
Did someone say social conditioning? Oh you mean evolution? That makes sense, for instance, we all know in Singapore. The Hainanese community excels in the culinary field. They make the best chicken rice and kaya spread in the whole island only because most of them came here during the age of empire tagging along as house servants on the tail coats of their colonial masters – besides how can any food cognoscenti not know the Teo Chew’s serve up the best congee only because they originate from a delta where the soil was alluvial, hardly as even ideal rice farming conditions. Hence perfecting congee, the art of “more out of less” along with salting and pickling to tie then through the long winters – makes perfect sense. Right?
Social evolution…there could be something to this….mmmh.
According to M. Arkin’s “Aspects of Jewish Economic History” -one possible reason why the Jews are so smart is because they used to monopolize, the money lending trade which not only required a higher degree of skill once associates with farming or any of the traditional trades. So naturally, as time passed, those Jews started developing and honing their killer instincts, like business acumen, social skills: cultivating connections, winning over trust (or maybe bullying the competition, remember Shylock’s “pound of flesh”). So it’s fair to say, they may even have developed aggression, street wiseness and a competitive spirit that adds up to what we all term – smartness.
Hey but hold on a second, something doesn’t add up here! There’s a big deficit! If those Jews were so smart and developed razor sharp killer instincts how did they fail to see the likes of Adolf Hitler and his storm troopers marching with gongs and drums towards them? How did the Nazi’s manage to kill over 6 million Jews without even so much as a fight? If they’ve really so full of testosterone and street smart to suggest they could sniff out trouble like a blood hound, why did so many Jews step into those gas chambers masquerading as communal showers? Hey I mean, if it was me or you, we would probably ask – where’s the good morning towel? Where’s the mini sized Lux soap? Where’s the 200 thread count Robinson bath robe? Where is my bunny anti slip shower slippers? Nope it just doesn’t add up.
So the social evolution theory goes straight out of the window – what about genetics? Are the Jews genetically superior? Maybe our scholars can’t compete because our genetic pool just isn’t big enough? Do the Jews have a smart helix that allows them to carve a competitive advantage? There’s even a recent controversial paper published by the Journal of Ashkenazi Intelligence stating that genetic selection is the main reason why the Ashkenazi Jews typically produce a disproportionably large number of doctors, lawyers, professors, and Nobel Prize winners. But let’s put a scale on it, Ashkenazi Jews are minorities within minorities even within the broader Jewish population – less than even 2.7%! That’s like saying everyone that lives along a street in Singapore is super smart, hardly a statistical obelisk, that points to anything except a big fat nothing! Nope, again we can safely chuck out that theory. The Jews aren’t any smarter because of their genetic aristocracy anymore than kangaroo’s jump around because have pockets instead of breast.
However I need to be careful here, I don’t doubt for one moment there are plenty of refereed and even academic journals which seem to suggest otherwise, though I hasten to add, none of them goes beyond the polemics of even providing footnotes, let alone anything resembling an axiomatic ‘truth.’ Prove me wrong if you believe otherwise. I darkness challenge you! There’s absolutely no empirical proof suggesting Jews are genetically smarter!
To say that the Jews have a history of emphasizing scholarship is indeed true to even suggest that’s the reason why they are so smart is like saying the Sistine chapel is a Bible comic. I don’t doubt for one moment most children in Jewish households are comparatively more conscious of the importance of education but it still doesn’t go very far to answer why Jews are smarter than our scholars.
One reason according to S. Nuland, author of “How We Die” lies in the values and world view of Jews. For one unlike our scholars Jews don’t even expect to be treated fairly, let alone to be given such a thing as a level playing field to even suggest they have a privilege to state sponsored scholarship programs – it just doesn’t exist, not even in the state of Israel!
This “consciousness of disadvantage”, Nuland suggest promotes the whole idea of ‘portability” that’s why education is seen to be so important in the Jewish community (if you need to hightail what’s really important is in your head!) and probably evolved into the province of what we call today the Jewish academic aristocracy – it stands to reason, unlike our homegrown scholars who are often sold the idea of “stability and permanence.” The Jewish worldview is nothing short of a reversal of the whole notion of ‘permanence’ and instead reinforces how ‘instability’ and ‘chaos’ will always feature as an indelible feature of work, life and play – so according to anthropologist. Jews develop nomadic survival traits – they stay in ghettos in the same way dessert folk walk in single file to hide their numbers – they travel light, make do with the barest of necessities and develop skills like how to shift their weight and walk slightly off centre when carrying heavy loads, that way, they can walk longer without suffering any kinetic loss. Even more efficient that modern military backpacks! You learn these things when people regularly hunt you down for no other reason because you are a Jew! People get smart when you marginalize them – they get real smart when you start to erase their history – they put it all in their heads! So they develop photographic memories – unlike our scholars who expect to return to a cushy job along with all the predictability associated with promotion. Jews are often schooled in the “impermanence” of life. In the most authoritative book of Jewish law, the Shulchan Arukh, Jewish children are told the only thing that remains true is the covenant between them and God, the rest is pretty much the stuff of shifting sands and roller coasters. As a reminding that life offers nothing except the guarantee of impermanence during the first meal of the Sabbath, bread is dipped in salt, the Jewish symbol of the great preserver – Jews know they can be expelled at the slightest provocation, hence they develop techniques, skills and tricks which our scholars never ever need to develop, because they are feted and chaperone around the system like crippled mandarins – stuff like how to cut 400 crystal designs which they keep in their head, never ever once having to write them down even today! Stuff like how to table a diamond with the cool headedness that comes from putting the cutting tool it and with a pray hit it with one stroke to either increase its value a thousand fold or reduce to nothingness – they learn to take risk, manage it even to even feel perfectly comfortable in an environment of constant change and uncertainty, unlike our scholars, who plan as if the world revolves only around them! Owing them all a living – is it such a wonder, there is not fight!
Perhaps the single most important reason why I believe (personally) Jews are smarter than our local scholars is – they’re no such thing as elitism in their culture. The word, ‘elite’ doesn’t even exist in Hebrew, and in the Talmud, Jewish children are always reminded of the need to remain humble and to remember they are a community of one and everyone in the community is important.
I think its time for our scholars to stop wasting our time and money and really learn a thing or two from the Jews – after all we all know they are smartest people on this planet! And that incidentally is a fact!
(This has been brought to you by Aurora your friendly brotherhood controller – By Darkness, Cerebus, Scholarboy: Can someone tell me why our scholars aren’t as smart as Jews/ Socio –Political – 2007 / Extended Piece (EP 400394B – The Brotherhood Press 2007)
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