Intelligence and talent; anime as escape

It was quite a surprise for me that after I wrote my previous post regarding my blog’s organization, I thought of two highly disparate, and obviously unformed ideas that I planned to write posts on. This is the first; maybe after a day or so, I can also finalize the second fledgling post.

Since when I was only a child, my parents have never failed to remind me and reinforce the supposed fact that I was smart. (Regular readers of this blog would probably note that I have used this statement before: I assure you, however, that the vein of this post will be highly distinct and different from those posts I made a year ago.) I have grown to believe them and consequently gain confidence regarding my academic ventures. Since preschool, up to the very first year of university, I was always top of the class. (This is without bragging in mind: I seek to illustrate a point which I will make later; kindly be patient.)

I always associated glasses with intelligence. I wonder if this girl is … ?

My second year of university was markedly different from my earlier years because aside from the fact that I practically abandoned study and schoolwork as an act of revolt against my parents, I was also simultaneously jarred and disjointed from the idea that I was smart. In the abandon of my conscientiousness I have also experienced the very nadir of my grades, the very trough, the very bottom. In retrospect, I was stupid not to believe and put faith in effort, because no amount of native intelligence can overcome ignorance. Even if one was gifted, one cannot explicate on things and ideas one does not know, smart or dumb one may be.

I wrote about this experience in my short-lived personal blog. I wrote about the Augustinian dispersio: the moment at which being oneself fails to correspond with what one normally does. It is the realization that ‘what one is’ is not merely what one does. In my failures, I realized that I was not merely someone in possession of an intelligence: I was also human; I was too human. Even with that realization, even with the recognition that I was no longer ‘smart,’ I was still obstinately believing that time would allow me to excel, that I had to rely on merely my talents to do what was needed to be done. I remembered a protracted debate with Impz regarding the premium he placed on hard work: months later, I realized that he was right. In fact, he excels primarily because of that hard work of his, and I applaud him for that.

Her glasses aren’t the only thing I’m looking at, though

I was clinging to that illusion that talent is enough to excel, because I had nothing else to cling on to. It was primarily a blind, unseeing faith, but it was that pervasive hope that was ubiquitous even in the most impossible circumstances. That belief of mine needed to be debunked, and I am glad that I had subscribed to Scientific American’s online magazine. Why?

There was a recent article that dissected this phenomenon of societies placing premiums on talent and not hard work as a tangent of the secret to raising intelligent kids. Among the article’s focal points of discussion (which can be seen at the very beginning of the article), is that:

Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn.

I am grateful to the magazine for giving me the answer to my personal enigma.

I love my parents, and I know that their praise of my intelligence (as well as the praise from my teachers) were made with good intentions in mind. It struck me, however, that I was exactly the apotheosis of what that key concept described: failure made me lock myself up within myself or escape to anime or computer gaming; I was afraid of a lot of novel ideas and things (although I entertained them to some extent, at least), and was definitely unmotivated to learn, especially last year. With regard to intelligence and giftedness, Impz was right: hard work was potent, and it promoted success and perseverance (the study explicates upon this, so I will no longer tackle it in this post).

This picture is dedicated to Kljigen. 🙂

Parents should orient their child in regard to learning as something requiring and needing effort, because it orients their children to face challenges better: it is because these children treat failures as stepping stones for success. As Martin Heidegger said, an answer is merely a stepping stone to the positing of another, more relevant question. I inculcated within myself that talent needed no more than its existence, when in reality, the development of anything and everything requires effort and hard work. Effort was what got things done. I am able to write English more or less fluently because I expended effort to reading a whole lot of classics as well as also expended effort to write in the hope of honing this said skill. Escaping to anime or DotA was merely postponing the inevitable. I am not saying that anime acts only as an escape of mine, because I truly do find some series to be highly interesting and educational.

I may have whined about my course, and I am still discontented. That, however, was not an excuse to fail: all I really needed was hard work. Thankfully, I am doing well in school again, and I now oscillate between being at the apex, or very much near it. I needed an answer, and I am glad I have it right now.

P.S. Thank you for reading this far into my ramblings. I appreciate the time spent (this is post is very tangential to anime as medium) by everyone who got this far. 🙂

11 Responses to “Intelligence and talent; anime as escape”

  1. Kljigen Says:

    Congrats, you have just increase your readership by OVER 9000!! due to the loli you posted. Job well done! d (^-^) b

  2. meganeshounen Says:

    ‘sides the loli, it’s all good. Seriously. The loli. 😀

    Anyway, it’s tough when kids are forced to study, even under the pretense of “they need their education, since it’ll guide them to their future”… especially on the more extreme versions. That reminds me of the type of Japanese parents that send their less than 14-yr children to cram school, besides their compulsory elementary schooling… *sigh*

  3. westbluef Says:

    “In order for a humans to learn how important effort is, said being must experience failure as early as possible.”
    That’s isn’t what a profesor would say but that is what happened to me 🙁
    and it happened during 1st year in a Science High(I’m not bragging). I fail at life.
    Anyway because of that incident I was really really able to apreciate how sweet it is to actually get good grades (I quit from that school anyway). And now am trying my best to even graduate from collage.

  4. Cameron Probert Says:

    To be fair, I see that phenomenon a lot myself. Honestly, I suffer from an extreme case of apathy when it comes to higher education. Just the idea of sitting in a classroom sends shivers up my spine.

    But, on the other hand, I’ve found a lot of scientific laws apply to real life as well. Such as the laws of Thermodynamics, and the laws of motion. You can’t get anything accomplished unless you put work into the system. And when you’re doing nothing, it’s easier to keep doing nothing than doing something.

  5. IKnight Says:

    Nice disquisition (a word I need to use more). Though talent does play a role – I think I can safely say after failing five driving tests in a row that I lack talent when it comes to moving cars around.

    Also, more anime blogs need to leaven their posts with irrelevant fanservice.

  6. elvyse Says:

    Interesting, I actually read an article earlier this year about Carol S. Dweck and her theories. I must admit I’m quite convinced by what she says. I hope to read more of her works, so thanks for the link. By the way she wrote a book called “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” which I’m definitely going to read one day or another. 🙂

    Here’s the link to the article:

  7. Michael Says:

    Thanks for the positive comments. I appreciate them.

    It was a startling discovery for me at the very least, however. At least I knew where my actions stemmed from.

  8. Totali Says:

    Yes, write about anime plz

  9. Michael Says:


    I will. Soon. :p

  10. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » Christmas: a greeting of both explicit enjoyment and shared suffering Says:

    […] anime|otaku hopefully incisive and intellectual disquisitions on anime « Intelligence and talent; anime as escape […]

  11. Nessaja Says:

    I had a similar experience, with the difference that I never got along with my folks – they intended to make my study all day, with brakes for meals. I even got beaten because I had finished my homeworks and finding myself something to do, but they only saw that I was not learning and didn’t believed or bother to checked the fact that the homeworks were done.
    Anyway, I knew I was a bit different from 4-5 years old and started making observation regarding this and the ppl reaction around me. Lately I started to read articles related to beeing gifted and notice that a lot of my observation were correct. I give you this links, I had more but I’m not at my computer right now: , . Hope it gives more answers.

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