Review: On Intelligence

On Intelligence
On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was like an uncle, the eccentric uncle who your parents don’t like to hang out with, and with whom *you* don’t like to hang out with, much, who will tell you how smart he is, how everyone else is so dumb, how super intelligent he is, how so very dumb everyone else is, and they’re dumb because it’s just so *obvious* they’re dumb, but then you hear one thing he says and you think, “Hey, that might be an interesting thought…” but then you remember it’s your crazy flipping uncle and he starts telling you the same story, but this time by naming all the synonyms he can name for ‘discourse,’ just a straight list of them, and not for nothing he knows *a lot* of synonyms for the word ‘discourse.’
Or maybe, let’s think of it another way, like it’s a song, only the song only repeats itself over and over and over again. The notes are all the same set of three, and they are repeated endlessly. Occasionally different words are sung over the same three notes, but mostly they’re the same, usually in the same order.
Imagine, because you’re not as smart as the author, that the book is like a mighty river at the bottom of a valley that you hold in higher regard than a crummy little stream at the top of a mountain. Now just because, stupid, the river is actually *physically* lower than the stream it doesn’t mean that your regard for it is necessarily lower.
“Can we trust that the world is as it seems? Yes. The world really does exist in an absolute form very close to how we perceive it.” I’m just going to toss that out there, not going to back it up, but I said it, so there it is.
I think this book could have been interesting (and far, far shorter if he didn’t feel the need to make three or four or five or more different comparisons to try and explain how we perceive things), but the author and I just didn’t get on pretty early, and I found myself desperate to get to the end, just to get it over with. And I did. Thank goodness.

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