Blackmail! I'm curious... you attribute your 'high brow' tastes to a bourgoise upbringing... I wonder what you'd say in my case then, where my family has always been destitute as long as I remember and neither of my parents are intellectually curious... I've always had interests that nobody in my family could either understand or accommodate, and I've had to spend my whole life seeking and learning independently because there was no provision for me within my social/economic stratus. I wonder to what you'd attribute my wide range of interests and insatiable curiosity (and perhaps also a tested high IQ)?
edit - it's certainly not ambition for careers or qualifications in my case, as I've not used my ability or learning for either of those purposes and have in fact resisted doing so. it's just a relentless drive to learn and understand, and a confident belief that I can.
Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!
"When it all comes down to dust
I will kill you if I must
I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen
-Studying in a european country
-Playing an obscure instrument no one has heard of from another country
-Classic music connesuir
-Foreign film collection
-Quotes John Keats
Most of that list I would associate with a desire to elevate the perceptions of ones sophistication or to fit in with expectations of a higher social standing which to me is no measure of ones intelligence (edit: this assumes those things are done with intent of affecting how others view them, some people do those things because they enjoy them and unfortunately may get branded as pompous for being who they naturally are because of the amount of people that do those things disingenuously). Intelligence is just one of those things I get a sense of over time about someone and pretty much none of the above have any bearing on that in my assessment of it.
A few things that are likely to elevate my perceptions of ones intellect...
- Vocabulary (not a matter of using big words, but using descriptive words in the right situations).
- Showing that they understand the concepts that make things work.
- Demonstrating the ability to create their own theories to explain things
- Finding creative uses for mundane things
- Ability and willingness to question or challenge things that others state as fact or take for granted.
- Ability and willingness to play devils advocate (more so if its clear they enjoy doing it)
There are lots of other things that probably have an even larger subconscious impact on my evaluation of someones intelligence, but the above is that what quickly comes to mind as things that get my attention.
I'm not sure how to feel about a statement like that since i do occasionally "try to be poetic" but its more of a case of feeling like its the natural thing to try to be in the moment and the "effort" part of it is trying to find the right words that say what I want, have the flow I'm looking for and in general "feels right" but I'm not concerned with being poetically correct in the sense of all the rules of poetry. For me, its about not restraining my poetic side when it wants to try to say something, but it may or may not be the same for the person your describing, but if that person is "discovering who they are" and trying to act on their whims in accordance with who they want to be, their desire to be more poetic may be genuine but come across as odd since its out of character based on previous behavior.
I sincerely like some of the things you list, classical music, Keats, literature, some foreign movies but I know I am not exceptionally intelligent. I just consider these things to be interesting and beautiful. I get tired of people like in-laws accusing me of being interested in those things just to "look" smart. I guess what I am saying is I don't like the idea that people are only interested in these things to "look smart."
I am not saying that is what you mean here, but I have come up against this type of mind set enough to know it is out there.
I also hate that finding others who want to have *real* discussions about these issues without a lot of fake posturing and snobbishness about who is more intelligent or who does not belong there. I am not that quick minded and I would like to find more pedestrian discussions of these topics without being looked down on as not as smart as some or trying to be smarter than I am.
It is like I have a closet love of literature and classical music because of these twin aspects.
Anyway, best way to appear smart is to become Rocket Scientist.
Those are good points as well. I've only recently (last year or so) taken a more serious interest in things like classic literature and philosophy, but I don't see myself in the same league as folks that live and breath the stuff, but my interest is probably a lot greater than the people that study those topics to create an image. I think most people that have a genuine interest in any hobby are willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with newcomers if they believe the interest is genuine, but bad apples that pursue those interests only for trying to create a certain image for themselves scare off people that might actually enjoy pursuing those topics in a more casual manner as a hobby or curiosity.
Slightly off topic rant...
One of the things that discouraged me from taking an interest in such things as literature when I was younger was that they were mandated study in a lot of higher level English courses, and whenever you put something like that in a class that a lot of people feel compelled or required to take (I managed to find English alternative classes to avoid them, but I don't know how schools are nowadays) you mix people that really don't want to learn about the stuff with a few that might actually enjoy it if they were to learn about it in a more supportive environment (or on their own as I eventually did). So, right or wrong, I place at least partial blame on the school system for the views of society (that its a hobby of elitist snobs) regarding people that study literature in the states.