Also, in comparison to the giftedness as achievement group, the giftedness as potential group reported more demotivating experiences in school, and they perceived work as much less meaningful and joyful. The researchers also found that the giftedness as potential group followed a different path to meaning compared to the giftedness as achievement group. Among the giftedness as potential group , generativity engagement for the greater good and coming generations was the strongest predictor of meaning in life.
In contrast, meaningful work was the most central predictor of meaning in life among those in the giftedness as achievement group. Interestingly, self-compassion emerged as a significant contributor to meaning and subjective well-being for both groups: both gifted groups benefited much more from self-compassion than their control counterparts. These findings have a number of implications that I think add some important nuance to our understanding of the link between meaning and intellectual giftedness. For one, they support the distinction between two different conceptualizations of giftedness: giftedness as potential and giftedness as achievement.
To be sure, aptitude is highly correlated with competence. But these correlations are far from perfect, and for some practical purposes it's worth distinguishing between aptitude and competence. The Nobel laureate Gary Becker had over 5, scholarly citations while the New York Times columnist David Brooks had none, but who is to say that Brooks is the less influential intellectual?
But at least Posner did his own research. Most other surveys of public intellectuals seem to be done by polling readers of highbrow publications. For example in Prospect magazine conducted a poll to find " Britain's top public intellectuals ". Four years later Prospect teamed up with the American magazine Foreign Affairs with the aim of identifying " the most important public intellectuals that are still alive and active in public life". But the more one examined the list, the wackier it seemed.
Wikipedia reveals that he is "a Turkish preacher, author, educator, and Muslim scholar living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania". I could go on but you will get the point.
Recognising that they had been shafted by some clever flash-mobbing, the erudite editors of Prospect and Foreign Affairs tried to salvage something from the wreckage in a later edition. Noting that the definition of public intellectual remained "satisfyingly vague", they set up what the racing fraternity would call a stewards' inquiry to "weigh up the field on three criteria: novelty, real-world impact, and intellectual pizzazz".
The result: the world's leading intellectual turned out to be General David Petraeus, architect of the US "surge" in Iraq, currently in charge of the fiasco in Afghanistan and scheduled to become head of the CIA in September. This is the kind of thing that gives superficiality a bad name.
How, for example, would one measure novelty, let alone "intellectual pizzazz"? In an attempt to answer the question, I tried a different tack by analysing the lists of contributors to serious English-language print or online publications including the London Review of Books , the New York Review of Books , major broadsheet newspapers, some widely read blogs and other sources , looking for British thinkers.
I then added to these the names of British intellectuals drawn from earlier surveys by Prospect and Posner. The result was a list of just over people grouped by their primary profession whose ideas are deemed worthy of public attention by the gatekeepers of the publications I surveyed. A list like this has a certain voyeuristic fascination, and will doubtless be seen as arbitrary by those who find themselves — or their favourites — excluded.
It also comes with a health warning. Compiling it makes one realise how difficult it is to make an assessment of the impact that any particular individual has on the public consciousness. The philosopher Onora O'Neill has influenced the thinking of many of us with her coruscating insight.
But so too has the playwright Michael Frayn. Both have had a significant impact on our culture.
But who has been more influential? Impossible to say. Similarly, with his Radio 4 series In Our Time , Melvyn Bragg has done sterling service in injecting serious ideas into public consciousness. Is he therefore a more significant public intellectual than the unobtrusive editor of the London Review of Books , Mary-Kay Wilmers? What is Text Message Marketing? SMS Short Message Service Text Message Marketing is the ability to send permission-based text messages to a group of people who have opted-in to your mobile list. Do you find yourself in the position of trying to play catch up by learning, understanding and perhaps integrating Google, Facebook and other online services into your business and feel a little bit overwhelmed?
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