What would you do with the IQ dial?

Before we start: Last week’s caption contest was, not surprisingly, a pretty big disaster. I can’t laugh at you because I’m just as bad at it. There were a few we liked though— vote on your favorite here and we’ll announce the winner next week. (Update: See the winning caption here.)


It is indisputable that the being whose capacities of enjoyment are low, has the greatest chance of having them fully satisfied; and a highly endowed being will always feel that any happiness which he can look for, as the world is constituted, is imperfect. But he can learn to bear its imperfections, if they are at all bearable; and they will not make him envy the being who is indeed unconscious of the imperfections, but only because he feels not at all the good which those imperfections qualify.

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question.

― John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism

Do you agree with Mill that it is “better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied”?

How about the same question but asked in a less extreme way:

If you had a dial that could raise or lower your IQ by any amount, and you knew that for every point you went up, it would be harder and harder to make yourself happy, and for every point you went down it would make happiness easier to come by—and you could only adjust the dial once and the adjustment was permanent—what would you do?


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