Is Intelligence Genetic?

Genes relate to the brain but not the mind.

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Smiling Faces Sometimes

I did loss prevention for a luxury retail store in Century City, California in 2007. I was employed by a security company. My scheduler advised me not to converse with any of the customers or sales personnel. I planned on following his advice. I met another loss prevention associate, the store’s manager, and most of the sales people on my first day. Agnes, a member of the sales team, seemed to take a liking to me. She asked me all sorts of personal questions and even offered me food (which I didn’t take). This transpired when there were no customers in the store and we were just standing around. I did not want to hurt her feelings by telling her that we weren’t supposed to be socializing. Her friendliness was overwhelming. She continued to initiate conversations with me as the days went by. Agnes kept a smile on her face the entire time. I found out that she lived with her boyfriend across from a Metro Red Line stop. I relied on the Red Line to go to and from work. One day, a customer transaction prevented the store from closing at the usual time. I missed my bus as a result. I was going to have to spend the night at Union Station because there was no way for me to get home. The only way around this was to get a ride. I explained this to Agnes and asked for a ride to the Red Line stop near her apartment. I saw evil in her eyes. The smile was gone. Then it returned. She agreed to give me a ride. We had a nice conversation on our way to the Red Line stop. She dropped me off and I thanked her. When I came to work the next day, I was surprised to find out that Agnes and a female coworker had reported me to the store manager for always asking them for rides. I was fired by phone after that shift. Agnes’s friendliness had compensated for the fact that she could not stand me. She was scared to death of me from the moment we met. This ordeal was a learning experience. It taught me to reduce my socializing with coworkers to “hi” and “bye.” It taught me to say “hi” and “bye” to coworkers in the exact same stone-faced manner. It taught me that smiling faces sometimes tell superb lies. The Undisputed Truth’s Smiling Faces Sometimes (1971) is a song that you should take to heart. Friendliness must not be confused with friendship.

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Use Your Head

Use your heart only after your head gives permission.

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Old Souls

If death is not the end, birth is not the beginning.

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Learning Can Be Detrimental

Others’ mistakes are lessons for us to learn from but not learn.

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Holding On To You

Much of my love for others has been unrequited. I am referring to various types of love. Love is not always a two-way street. It is up to the driver to heed the caution signs. Missing a stop sign could result in fatalities. Most of us are not deterred by the risks. We know that we may never get to where we want to be if we do not get behind the wheel. Terence Trent D’Arby’s Holding On To You (1995) is a compelling song about a search for requited love. It’s great music to listen to while driving.

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The Agony And The Ecstasy

Our emotions often get us into trouble. I do not want any of my suffering to be gratuitous. It is hard enough to deal with the mandatory amount. It is not just anger that can do us in. Compassion or love can do the same. We should not allow ourselves to be slaves to our emotions. They are subordinate to our minds. Our emotions are designed to be choices. We are held responsible for them just like our thoughts and actions. Smokey Robinson’s The Agony and the Ecstasy (1975) is about a love that carries the price of agony. We should all love wisely. We are supposed to love one another. Logic prescribes how we should accomplish this. Love and logic pave the road to salvation. Here lies ecstasy without agony.

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Points Of View

Many of us desire the person whom we are in love with to empathize with us. This is especially true when they hurt us. For some of us, it is about revenge. A lot of us just want the other person to experience what we are feeling for the sake of understanding. Experience enables us to see things for ourselves. There is no substitute for it. I want you to experience what I feel when I listen to Oh Sheila (1985) by Ready for the World. It’s a plea by a man who is tired of being hurt by the woman he loves. See if you can empathize.

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Eye Of The Tiger

I haven’t been to Disneyland in over 20 years. I have nothing against the happiest place on earth. I just lost my desire to visit theme parks after high school. My 7th grade class once took a field trip there and I came across two strange machines. One of them stretched out a penny and imprinted Disney-related words and images on it for a souvenir. Of course, you had to provide the penny and pay a fee. As a little kid, I used to throw away pennies that were on the floor when my mother made me help with the housecleaning. As a 7th grader, the idea of paying to have my money destroyed did not present a temptation. The second machine tested your willingness to endure pain. You had to place each hand on metal handles that delivered a constant electrical shock. If you could grasp the metal handles long enough, despite an increasing shock, you won this arcade game. As a 7th grader, the idea of paying for pain was quite enticing. I watched a classmate play and win. I wanted to see if I could win but fear prevented me from trying.

Three years passed before I returned to Disneyland. I was very surprised to see the exact same two machines. I still did not care about the one that destroyed pennies. However, I resolved to play the arcade game. Fear whispered in my ear but I ignored it. If my 7th grade classmate could win the game, then this should be easy for me to do three years later. I inserted my coins and grabbed those metal handles. As soon as I felt the pain, I retracted my hands as fast as I could. A lady was watching nearby and laughed at me. I felt like a wimp. It took me years to realize that I was not a wimp because I did not subject myself to that arcade game’s electrical shock. A warrior will do the right thing despite pain and even death. There was nothing significant about winning an asinine arcade game. I would probably lose again if I played it today. This does not matter. What matters is that I am willing to undergo pain and even death for the right reasons. I know that I am. I have the eye of the tiger. Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger (1982) taught me what this means. Make sure that you know for yourself.

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Parenthood

Parents are students who teach.

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