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Monday, January 23, 2006

Beauty or intelligence

I don't usually do requests but a friend recently asked me if I would rather be beautiful or intelligent. It sparked memories of drunken debates with my friend Dr. Metal on this very subject.

So here's the question: If you could choose to instantly become either Beautiful or Intelligent which would you choose?

The first problem with this scenario is the fact that both are subject to opinion, taste, and you're basis of comparison. For example, Dr. Metal always thought that Madonna was really hot. Beautiful even. I, on the other hand, do not find her attractive at all. Some guys find fat, big lipped, bleached blonde, tattooed woman beautiful. Others do not. Some people consider Michael Moore intelligent. I certainly do not. I believe that Dr. Metal is intelligent. Alan Greenspan would probably not consider Dr. Metal to be 'intelligent' based on the level of intelligence he(Mr. Greenspan) is surrounded with on a daily basis.

That brings up the second problem: there are levels of beauty and intelligence. Stephen Hawking is vastly more intelligent than Bill Murray. But Bill Murray is intelligent. Vastly more so than a lot of people. Pamela Anderson is more beautiful than Renee Zellweger who is more beautiful than the 'hot chick' working at the local bar. Of course these statements are based on my opinion but it's just for comparison's sake. Beauty here will have to be defined as "physically attractive". No fair saying someone is beautiful because they 'have a big heart' or write poetry like Shakespeare.

So to thoroughly discuss the question, beauty or intelligence, we have to level the playing field and assume that everyone's opinion of ultimate beauty and superior intelligence are the same.
For the sake of a hint of reality in this game we will also assume that when we choose either we will be gaining say an 8 out of 10 on the scale of either beauty or intelligence. Everyone would want to be omniscient. That's not a fair choice.
Oh yeah, and you cannot choose intelligence because you can have plastic surgery to get beautiful - also unfair.

Beauty: Everyone wants to be beautiful. Beautiful people have a lot of advantages in life. They are more pleasant to look at so they are engaged in conversation more often than others. This begins at an early age. Look at any school, little league team, day care, or social environment - the pretty kids get more attention. The more interaction they have the more social skills they probably develop faster than the ugly kids. My son is beautiful - everyday people approach us in public to comment on his good looks. They don't say much about the brilliant 2 year old who is at the next table drawing a scale map of the solar system on the back of his kids menu. Beautiful kids gain more opportunities. This carries over into adulthood. Beauty can make people feel better about themselves and gain them dates/mates easily. They get hit on, asked out, approached, engaged, included and promoted more often than non-beautiful people. This does a lot for self esteem and confidence. If you choose to be instantly beautiful there would, no doubt, be more opportunity for you. You would have hot dates, be the center of attention, and be welcomed in most social situations.

intelligence: I know people who can take apart a Toyota Camry, rebuild the engine, and put it back together without so much as taking a note on the process. But they don't know the capitol of California. They are intelligent on a certain level. On the other hand, my father is brilliant - knows loads of stuff about chemistry, biology, world history, geography, travel, culture, and the military achievements of WWII - but he hasn't figured out 'righty tighty, lefty loosy' with a screw driver. So bearing in mind that intelligence is a broad spectrum it could be hard to choose what you're intelligence would pertain to. Could you pick? I'd pick economics and mathematics . You may pick music, art, history, or the likes. Dr. Metal may pick philosophy. He'd be the ultimate philosopher - he'd run rings around anyone logically (to steal a Python phrase). Intelligence can gain you notoriety, fame, fortune, and a comforting feeling of mental superiority. But you may be hideously ugly. Perhaps you'd be smart enough to know that beauty is an illusion. We're just skin and bone. What you see is merely the reflection of light from the matter that makes up our body. It's real, but beauty is not. When the lights are out you are no longer beautiful but you're still smart!

I would have to go with intelligence and here's why:
1) even ugly people have sex. Take a look around the next time you go to the mall. Ugly folks everywhere... With families.... Someone's screwing them. Usually ugly people have sex with ugly people. But there still having sex with someone. Beautiful people sometimes go without sex or dates. Depends on their character.
2) I see beautiful people all the time working minimum wage jobs.
3) intelligence can make you rich. So can Beauty - but it usually takes longer and you have to fuck a lot of ugly people to get there.
4) Beauty fades rapidly with age. Intelligence fades too, but much later in life and much slower.
5) intelligence can solve world problems. Beauty cannot.
6) People don't often stare at, stalk, or assault intelligent people. Ever heard of a serial rapist targeting smart girls?
7) Beautiful people tend to attract other beautiful people as friends, groups, clicks etc... You'd be surrounded by less than intelligent people always.

I wonder if anyone has done a study on the relationship between beauty and intelligence. They rarely go hand in hand. Hot chick... Dumb as bricks. Smart chick... Ugly as sin. Only in movies and TV do you see super hot lawyers, doctors, and physicists on a regular basis. I'm not saying they don't exist, just rare. Watch TV tonight or a movie- you'll see. Maybe being beautiful somehow diminishes any intelligence you have. What if you have the potential to be brilliant, but the social situations you are thrust into takes away any chance to develop your brilliance. Pretty girls go to dance classes, join cheerleading, sleep overs, gymnastics.. Instead of learning and enhancing their brain they are 'accepted' by others and encouraged to get involved in as many social things as possible. The ugly girl stays home and studys her multiplication tables. The good looking boy plays sports. He's got a better chance, the coach would rather have a good looking, popular kid on the team than a homely kid. Except for your 'ugly kid' positions - you know- offensive line, full back, goalie, relief pitcher.

p.s. Thank God for spell check. I misspelled intelligent/intelligence 25 times. I must be beautiful.


Blogger Dr. Metal said...

Bucky: You know that I can resist commenting on almost all of your posts. But I find myself confused on this one. Consider the following quote:

"I believe that Dr. Metal is intelligent. Alan Greenspan would probably not consider Dr. Metal to be 'intelligent' based on the level of intelligence he is surrounded with on a daily basis."

Your use of 'he' in this passage is unclear. Do you mean Dr. Metal as the referent of your pronoun or Alan Greenspan? Clearly you mean to refer to someone bald or balding, but do you mean me or him? I would like to retort--but then I don't know what my associates' levels of intelligences are--nor Mr. Greenspans. So I have no comment. Not even this one.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent job on this entry. Informative and witty. I too think Pamela Anderson is beautiful - and would be even more so without all of the make-up, big hair, tattoos, and fake accessories. Yet her sexiness doesn't diminish her beauty. She is fairly bright as well. Her taste in men is questionable - Tommy Lee and Kid Rock are two of the skinniest, ugliest greasers I've ever seen. Renee Zellweger would go under my "cute" category, along with Reese Witherspoon and Meg Ryan. Then I would have a sexy, but not pretty category that Eva Mendes and Sarah Jessica Parker would fall under. I would say the most beautiful woman today is Catherine Zeta-Jones. If I could trade places with her for just a couple of days, I'd consider doing it. Of course I wouldn't waste my time fucking Michael Douglas. He is so old he farts dust. What is it with beautiful women and old and/or ugly men? I don't get it. The most beautiful woman that has ever lived so far in my opinion would be Natalie Wood. something about that old Hollywood glamour, I guess. I just think she was the epitome of beauty and grace. My taste in men is probably a lot different from most women - for instance, I do not find Brad Pitt the least bit attractive. Patrick Dempsey and Benicio Del Toro would make my top ten. Sometimes when you watch a person's mannerisms a while they become attractive to you. Like I never thought Matt Damon was attractive until I started watching the Bourne movies. In the first movie where he is cutting off the girl's hair and then they start making out I thought that was HOT. Just the way his arm looked holding her head. Now he would be in my top ten, too. I personally would choose intelligence over beauty because if you are smart you understand that your character and how you treat others is what people will remember about you.

3:06 AM  

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