How to neutralize intelligence

Kurt Vonnegut’s short story Harrison Bergeron begins “The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal.” Beautiful people are required to wear ugly masks, strong people are required to carry weights, etc. Every excellence is handicapped.

But how do you handicap intelligence? With interruptions. In Vonnegut’s story, those deemed too intelligent are required to wear a device in their ear that regularly interrupts their thoughts with a loud noise.

Related posts:

Rethinking interruptions
Multitasking makes us shallow
Two kinds of multitasking
Screwtape on music and silence

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Posted in Creativity
6 comments on “How to neutralize intelligence
  1. Now we have Facebook, Twitter and Google+. He wasn’t too far off.

  2. william says:

    Ha, I have one of those. An HTC. But you can put it on silent if you want.

  3. adamo says:

    You make it work for the Public Sector stamping paperwork

  4. EastwoodDC says:

    Go into politics. ;-)

  5. Chris Barts says:

    A better way to handicap intelligence is to deny it access to information, or to only give it biased and sanitized information from a single source.

  6. John Venier says:

    Well, it is also a tried and true torture technique, especially when someone is trying to sleep.

    Sleep deprivation is also probably an effective intelligence handicap.

    Like others I find it ironic that many of us go out of our way or pay good money to have similar devices, but which can be turned off.

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