Innate mathematical ability

This morning I had the great pleasure of reading an article on LessWrong on innate ability by Jonah Sinick. Jonah has been one of my greatest influences and inspirations, having interacted with him substantially. He is unusual in one of the best ways possible. I would not be surprised if he goes on to do something extraordinary.

When I catch with Jonah, I like to talk with him about math, mathematicians, and IQ, which happens to be what that article of his on LessWrong is about. 😉 That article resonates with me deeply because I myself had similar experiences as he did. It is hypothesized by me that I was also twice exceptional, albeit in different ways, with its effects compounded by my unusual background, all of which mediocrities within the American public school system are not good at dealing with in an effectual way.

This writing of Jonah has brought forth reflections in my own minds with regard to mathematical ability, development, and style. I’ll say that as a little kid under 6, I was very good at arithmetic and even engaged in it obsessively. However, by age 8, after two years of adjusting to life in America starting off not knowing a word of English, I had forgotten most of that. I was known to be good at math among the normal normal students; of course, that doesn’t mean much. In grade school, I was not terribly interested in math or anything academic; I was more interested in playing and watching sports, particularly basketball and baseball.

I didn’t have any mathematical enrichment outside of school other than this silly after school math olympiad program. Nonetheless, I managed to test into two year accelerated math once I reached junior high, not that it means anything. In junior high, we were doing this stupid “core math” with graphing calculators and “experiments.” I didn’t realize that I was actually a joke at math until I failed miserably at the state mathcounts contest, having not prepared for it, unlike all those other tiger mommed Asian kids, who to me seemed way beyond me at that time. It only occurred to me that I might have some real talent for math when I made the AIME in 10th grade, taking the AMCs for the first time, being one of four in my high school of about 2000 to do so. I thought it was fun solving some of those math contest problems, which were more g-loaded, with an emphasis on the pattern recognition side.

It was after that I started to read up on the history of mathematics and mathematicians. I taught myself some calculus and was fascinated by it, not that I understood it very well. But I could easily sense that this was much more significant than many of those contrived contest problems, and soon, I began to lose interest in the contest stuff. It was also after that that I learned about proving things, which the American public school math doesn’t teach. I finally realized what mathematics is really about.

Like Jonah, I had some difficulties with careless errors and mental organization. I don’t think my raw intellectual horsepower was very high back in high school, but fortunately, it has improved substantially since then that it is for the most part no longer the major impediment.

I took calculus officially in 11th grade, and it was a breeze for me. I could easily compute the areas and volumes and such but the entire time, I felt quite dissatisfied, because I could not actually understand that stuff at a rigorous, theoretical level as I poured through our textbook that went up to vector calculus during lecture, which was rather inane, expected if one considers the mismatch between cognitive threshold relative to the distribution of ability of the students. I knew from reading online the rich world of math far beyond what we were covering, most of which I was not intellectually mature enough to access at that time. However, I vividly remember during summer after 11th grade, while attending a math summer program, I was able to comfortably write out the delta epsilon definition of limit with understanding of why it was reasonably defined that way. Still, I would say I was still quite weak in terms of both my mathematical maturity and overall intellectual ability. There were too many things I wasn’t aware of, including the g factor, that I easily would have been had I been higher in verbal ability, which would have enabled me to read, absorb, and internalize information much more rapidly and broadly. In contrast, Jonah had discovered independently, or so he says, the lack of free will at the age of 7!

I made some incremental advances in my math knowledge from reading and thinking outside of school the next year. As for contest math, I almost made the USAMO. Though I had improved, I was still not terribly quick and careful with solving contest style problems and doing computations. I think close to graduation, I also solved some Putnam problems.

Only in undergrad did I learn real math more seriously, but even there, nothing too advanced. US undergrad is a joke, and I also was one, just to a lesser extent than most of my “peers.” Almost certainly, Jonah, based on he’s told me, had gained much deeper and broader knowledge at the same stage, from the reading works of giants like Euler and Riemann.

I’ve noticed how there are a lot of Chinese-(American) kids really into those high school math contests, and they now also dominate USAMO and Putnam (though careful, as in the latter, there you’ve got some of Chinese internationals drawn from the elite from China). I will say that at the lower levels, many of those kids have some pretty low taste and an inability to think outside the system that would enable them to discover the existence of real math, as opposed to this artificial math game that they enjoy playing or are pressured to doing so for college. Though those contests have a high pattern recognition component to them, there is not really much depth or substantial math knowledge. It is also my belief, with reference to Jonah’s article, that math contests are mostly M loaded while real math is more V loaded. So this behavior is consistent with the lopsidedness in favor of M and perhaps also short term working memory of Chinese students. It has also been Jonah’s belief that controlling for g, these contests select for low taste and value judgement, and I surely identify with that perspective. So maybe college admissions are somewhat fair to assess an Asian penalty?

Of the thesis of Jonah’s article, a representative figure is Terry Tao. There, Jonah also pointed out that Tao’s research in math is more concrete and problem solving oriented by pure math standards, in line with what appears to be the same lopsided (modulo the absolute level, as Terry is a far far outlier) cognitive profile of his based on testing at age 9 and 10. Again, people enjoy what they are best at, and though, Terry Tao is almost certainly at least +4 sigma at verbal, he is far more rare, at least +5 sigma, a real übermensch, in the (in some sense dual) pattern recognition component, which means he leans towards the areas of math more loaded on the latter. I have heard the saying that even other Fields medalists are intimidated by Terry Tao. The breadth and volume and technical power of his work is almost unrivaled and otherworldly. The media makes it seem like Terry is a league above even the other Fields medalists. However, Jonah seems to believe that the deepest and most leading of mathematicians are the ones who are more theory builders, who create through leaps of insight and synthesis new fields and directions that keep mathematicians busy for decades, and even centuries. That would be say Grothendieck or SS Chern, and an ability that is more loaded on verbal ability, crudely speaking. Again, I have felt the same. This might explain why the advantage of Chinese students is not anywhere near as pronounced in math research as in contests, and why some people say that generally speaking, the Chinese mathematicians are more problem solving and technical than theoretical, more analysis than algebra. Likewise, we can predict the opposite for Jews who are skewed in favor of verbal. A corollary of this would be that the Jews produce the deepest thinkers, adjusted somewhat for population, which is almost certainly the case, if you look at the giants of mathematics and theoretical physics.

I’ll conclude with the following remark. I used to revere somewhat those who placed very highly on those contests, until I realized that many of them are actually somewhat weak in terms of deep understanding and thinking at a more theoretical level. Yes, I have met MOSPers who got destroyed by real math and who are not very intellectually versatile, with glaring weaknesses; I was quite surprised initially that even I seemed to be smarter if not a lot than some of them. Once upon a time, I couldn’t understand those who appeared very strong at real math (and often also science and/or engineering and/or humanities) who struggled with more concrete math and/or contest-style problem solving, like Jonah, who has written on LessWrong of his difficulties with accuracy on the trivial math SAT. I’ve met this other guy, who I thought was an idiot for being unable to perform simple computations, who is leagues beyond me in the most abstract of math, who writes prolifically about partially V-loaded areas of math like model theory. Now, the more metacognitive me has awakened to the reality that I may never by deficit of my neurobiology be able to fathom and experience what they’re capable of. After all, there are plenty I am almost certain are and are essentially doomed to be very delusional by nature relative to me, and since I’m at the far tail but not quite so much, there are bound to be people who view me the same. I can only hope that I can become more like them through some combination of exposure and organic neurobiological growth, but I as a realist will not deem that very likely.



昨晚,我跟那位犹裔美国IMO金牌在脸书上讨论犹太人与中国人在最高智力层次相比的问题,想起有两位我所认识的以基督教传统长大的学习理论科学的美国人所我当时难以思议的东亚人智力上强于犹太人的观点。怎么说那,虽然在这前五十年,日本人和华人在理论科学上做出了的不少伟大的贡献,占有美国好研究大学不少教职,加上我这一代的华人在竞赛中出色的表现,可是还是感觉在科学里的绝顶,犹太人更多,以犹太人更具有一定的高瞻远瞩,可促以颠覆性的跨越,苏联那批犹裔数学大师为典型例子。同时,这个人,作为组合数学为学习及研究方向的高材生,又提醒我犹太人在理论计算机以及匈牙利式组合数学所有的牛耳。他说世界上最聪明的人是亚洲人,他的名字是Terry Tao,可是前一百犹太人综合强于前一百亚洲人的综合。对此,我问他:你了解任何Tao所做的工作吗,可肯定他是世界上最聪明的人?他回:我读过Green-Tao定理的证明。我没啥好说的,只言那还算比较前沿的东西,又跟他说我在对一些华罗庚撰的数论引导,虽引导,可以包含一些我现在认为相当深的数论,如Selberg所做的一些。Tao是个神,可是我也有朋友说:我有事想是否Tao未有过以自己不如von Neumann聪明而心里不安,加上数学那么难,连Tao都差点没有通过博士生资格考试。加上,von Neumann精通数门外语,具有即兴无迟钝翻译之能,以及过目不忘的记忆力,而我都看到过有些中国人在网上以将自己视为”primarily an Australian”的Tao对中国文化一无认同和他对中文一无所知表示反感。我在此博客上前所提到那位犹裔数学博士,念到深到Goro Shimura所做的工作,也觉得Tao有点overrated,觉得他的工作没有例如陈省身所做的深远及原创,说Tao至今还没有创造新的领域。关于犹亚之比,我想到的还有环境的因素,在这一点华人还是比较吃亏,由于经济原因,也由于名字及文化陌生原因,老一辈的华人还在为了自己及国家的生存挣扎,没有那么多经历投入科学研究。或许现在歧视对华人,即使在理论科学界,还是相当严重,虽理论科学少有集体性及宣传及政治因素,与比如生物或软件开发不同,可是人都是有偏见的,这包括评审委员会,如我听到的诺贝尔委员会对苏联科学家的工作的贬值。我这一代,华人在那些完全公平没有任何主观因素的竞赛里已经遥遥胜于犹太人,而那些是最好的对纯粹智力顶级的测试。我有时候想:中国人现在最缺的不是科学技术人才,而是反抗歧视,争取话语权的人才。在外国人眼中,中国人经常有性格被动的刻板印象,的确有这一点,但是好多也是不太客观的媒体所造成的。加上,中国人在美国也是少数,又有语言文化障碍,这又是一个视为寻常的Asian penalty.

数学上,我闻到了在\mathbb{F}_p域下的次数整除n的不可约首一多项式的积等于非常干净的x^{p^n} - x。此多项式很容易看到没有平方因式,用典型的此与此导数非共有因子去证。同时,取任意次数dd | n的不可约首一多项式\phi,则\mathbb{F}_p[x] / (\phi)是个p^d元素的域,则所有元素是x^{p^d} - x的根(x也是此域一元),从此可以得到任意多项式(这包括x)代到x^{p^d} - xx里都在模\phi等于零,也就是说他会是\phi的倍数。因d | nx^{p^d} - x | x^{p^n} - x,则\phi | x^{p^n} - x。不难证明\mathrm{gcd}(x^{p^n} - x, x^{p^d} - x) = x^{p^{\mathrm{gcd}(n, d)}} - x. 若d \nmid n,次数d的多项式若要整除x^{p^n} - x,必整除x^{p^{\mathrm{gcd}(n, d)}} - x,可以用归纳法证明此不可能,在\mathrm{gcd}(n, d)< d的情况下。从此,可以得到x^{p^n} - x没有因子次数非整除n。证闭。


Follow-up on the chosen people

Readers of my blog might recall my post titled The Chosen People. I’ve had the privilege to have had some fruitful and stimulating discussions with a friend of mine who was raised Christian on this matter. Such reminds me of Bobby Fischer, and I had just found my way to this, which has a transcript of some of Fischer’s antisemitic remarks. I was also reminded of sayings of a CCTV reporter along the same lines. When I was a child, I enjoyed watching the kids show Arthur. Particularly memorable was this rich girl Muffy Crosswire. I remember particularly vividly this clip, where when that girl’s psychopath auto CEO daddy turned on the speaker that exposed the dealings within the “strategy room,” it was like: so what if the engine falls out, once they’re off the lot, it’s their problem! Hmm, maybe that’s why American cars couldn’t compete with Japanese ones, because there were such people in executive management at Ford and General Motors? Also, there was the special Christmas episode of Authur, from which I learned that Muffy is the Gentile while her bestie Francine, the poor daughter of garbage man, is the Jew. Given how so a high percentage of the Russian oligarch robber barons are Jewish as are so many of the financiers and media moguls in America, aren’t the roles a bit reversed? Now, given that, would Marc Brown have had difficulties in his career had the portrayal been more in phase with the statistical reality? On this group that is the subject matter of the blog post, I have also heard people say in private things in the likes of: it’s always they win others lose, that’s why nobody likes them. And they’re basically doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them!

The Jews are a very unique group. They seem to take almost exclusively jobs in the intellectual class. You see very few in the low end menial jobs. Now that is a natural consequence of their high average IQ over 115ish. This naturally breeds resentment. People love to say how now Asians are the new Jews, but keep in mind there most Chinese do menial labor for living, especially in China. Even in the US, many of them work at restaurants and laundromats and such and they are very socially disjoint with the Chinese intellectual class, the ones who work for Microsoft or profess at universities. Also, there are almost no Chinese in positions of power in the US right now. We all know that ruling classes of virtually all cultures are scumbags in one way or another. However, I would say that some are more benign than others. Remember that during the Cultural Revolution in China, children of the communist elite were actually forced to go work in the countryside to get a taste of what the majority of working class people go through on a daily basis, and many of the current leaders of China are in that category. Steve Hsu has pointed out a possible lower prevalence of psychopaths among those of East Asian descent as a partial explanation to the dearth of East Asians in “leadership” positions in America. There is also the (very politically incorrect theory) that the Holocaust wiped out the weaker and nicer portion of the Jewish population that further contributes to the phenomenon here described. Now we all know that people who are too smart for their own good are a root of resentment but those people are quite benign and contribute much to our culture and are responsible for the radical scientific and technological advances which enrich (hopefully) people’s lives. However, there is more cause for hate when you have a group of parasites who do no menial labor and hoard the wealth created by the blood and sweat of working masses for themselves and even feel entitled to do so.

I have not much more to say at this moment on this matter. You, the reader, be the judge.


Brainwashing in America

A friend of mine (white American, not Jewish) sent me this photo:


I never would have expected anything like this. A compilation of the rulers of the major media outlets in America, with a classification of their background, with Jewish as one of them. We all know that Jews in many racial classifications are not in their separate group, as they are considered white.

It reminds me of a guy who worked for Xinhua News Agency who switched to a technical field when he came to America, in particular a remark of him. Remember back a few years, the whole Jimmy Kimmel kill all Chinese episode? On that, he commented: in America, a TV host says “kill all Chinese,” and it’s like a joke. Just imagine if someone said that about the Jews. Of course, that would never happen because Jews control the media outlets in America. Now this is something that many people know is 100% true, but which our suffocating atmosphere of PC prevents us from talking about.

Now my question is how Jews managed to politic their way to such a position. Yes, we all know that they are very verbally and culturally gifted (they dominate film as well), but that can’t explain it all. There must be other major factors in play here.

Green in that diagram is for “goy”. With the murky resolution, I initially saw that as “gay”. Now that’s another minority group known to have been shunned, persecuted, historically that produces many a creative genius. Kolmogorov? Alan Turing? Robert MacPherson? But no, it refers to the complement of Semite minus non-white in this diagram, in other words, the white and non-Jewish. Check out this.

What I am bringing up here could not be more consequential. What people do is a function of what resides in one’s mind, which is influenced or even controlled in some cases by the cultural environment, by the information one accesses. Now, most people aren’t like me. Most people don’t have the awareness of their possibly being brainwashed that I do that leads them to learn foreign languages and contact alternative perspectives on matters. Most people don’t have the rigorous, critical mindset that brings them to question conventional modes of thought and taboos imposed by social and cultural norms. Most people don’t realize that information is often fed out of narrow self-interest of those who control it so that the people they rule can be controlled, so that they can worry less about the risk of being overthrown.

The US brought down the Soviet Union with ideas. It could not through military means. With economics, it is also tough. But it could by penetrating and influencing the elites and the masses with dangerous liberal ideology, or whatever one phrases it as, so that idiots like Gorbachev and Yeltsin may come to power there. That’s how powerful propaganda is. War is largely cultural. You win by winning someone’s heart.

Now, I’ve seen a girl born in Russia but raised in the US who actually believes that it was America who defeated Nazi Germany. That’s how successful America has been at brainwashing. As brilliant as Russians are technically, a bulk of the best of them are now in America working for the profit of American capitalists who are fundamentally at odds with them. This just goes to show how important cultural preservation and political organization are. Without it, one can easily be riding west when one’s destination is east and thinking that one is doing well because the absolute value of one’s velocity vector is astronomical.

Kong Qingdong has noted that the West still controls international debate, and on that, perhaps the GFC is a form of self-protectionism? 扬长避短 (play up one’s strengths and down one’s weaknesses), as the Chinese would say. The Chinese communists did that in combat to great success. In China, I have seen many emphasize the importance of winning China’s international voice, as Chinese culture is still grossly misunderstood and misrepresented outside China, to the extent that even most Chinese kids reared in America learn a pseudo version of it. It should be obvious that there is another world on the other side of the curtain that one needs to learn a notoriously difficult foreign language in order to access. The gap here is no longer physical, with the internet. It is mental.

I’ll conclude by encouraging my readers to be more reflective and cognizant of the grasp one’s cultural environment has on oneself. You are not liberated until you tear its fetters away!


I find myself increasingly into languages and the humanities, more exclusively verbally loaded things. This is in contrast with my high school self, who was quite weak with that. I recall struggling greatly with English class. I dreaded reading novels and writing those BS literary analyses of them because there were so many places where I’d be completely at sea, and plus, I wasn’t very good with writing or communication in any way. Also, I lacked common sense and general knowledge, indispensable for literature. From that I could only conclude that I’m very naturally bad at literature and at verbal things.

I also remember being having really low self-esteem in third grade because I couldn’t read Harry Potter, which many of the other kids seemed to have with ease and with great enjoyment. I only started learning English at almost 6.5 years of age, so I guess I do have some excuse for sucking at these things. Also, there was also this slang I didn’t know even in middle school, which the other kids taunted me for. I was also overly literal minded and couldn’t get jokes or idioms. Maybe because I was borderline autistic? Who knows.

Anyhow, with some more years of age all this has mostly disappeared. I still wouldn’t consider myself super high V, like +4 sigma at this. If I were, I wouldn’t have to look up so many Russian words despite having studied it (entirely independently, with some long hiatuses) since fall of 2013! That I did by accident on my desire to understand the lyrics of Катюша (Katyusha), which is such a beautiful song. From this, I was brought into the beauty of Soviet music, which I listen to regularly to this day. Those composers were such high aesthetic discernment! I can’t think of any national music that is better than Soviet music!

Because I’m not a genius, unlike Pushkin or Lenin, I feel like I actually have to do deliberate practice; I can’t just learn by osmosis, even with internet dictionaries and Google translate. Sure, one can say I never had formal training, but I don’t think formal training makes much difference. The genuinely gifted tend to be able to learn things on their own without feeling like they’re trying. And needless to say, no matter what instruction you are given, it’s still up to you to form the mental processes required for mastery.

The best way to do deliberate practice is to perform some translations, at my current level. I’ll do one here, on this writing of Lenin on anti-Semitism. From doing this, I can hopefully remember all the words that I don’t know permanently. To be less uncreative, I’ll do it in a very analytical way, you’ll see what I mean.


Антисемитизмом называется распространение вражды к евреям. Anti-Semitism is on called enlarged spread of enmity towards Jews. Когда проклятая царская монархия доживала свое последнее время, она старалась натравить темных рабочих и крестьян на евреев. What time сursed Tsarist monarchy to lived its through track time, she tried on incite dark workers and peasants on Jews. Царская полиция в союзе с помещиками и капиталистами устраивала еврейские погромы. Tsarist police in union with through place and capitalists with concrete purpose build Jewish through thunder. Ненависть измученных нуждой рабочих и крестьян помещики и капиталисты старались направить на евреев. Not on see from wear out by need workers and peasants landlords and capitalists tried on drive on Jews. И в других странах приходится видеть нередко, что капиталисты разжигают вражду к евреям, чтобы засорить глаза рабочего, чтобы отвлечь их взоры от настоящего врага трудящихся – от капитала. And in other countries motion inwards go see without sparsity, that capitalists enlarged burn enmity towards Jews, what conditionally cover waste eyes of workers, what conditionally away attract them in dawn away on standing enemy of working people – from capital. Вражда к евреям держится прочно только там, где кабала помещиков и капиталистов создала беспросветную темноту рабочих и крестьян. Enmity towards Jews holds firmly only there, where bondage of landlords and capitalists with built without having light darkness of workers and peasants. Только совсем темные, совсем забитые люди могут верить лжи и клевете, распространяемой против евреев. Only with all dark, with all with beaten people can believe lies and libel, enlarged spread against Jews. Это – остатки старого крепостного времени, когда попы заставляли сжигать еретиков на кострах, когда существовало рабство крестьян, когда народ был задавлен и безгласен. These – of stay of old serf time, what time priests with to make burn heretics on stake, what time existed slavery of peasants, what time on humanity were on weighed and without voice. Эта старая крепостническая темнота проходит. Народ становится зрячим. This old feudal darkness through go. People become able to see.


I stopped after the first paragraph. There are few more. I won’t continue on like this because it’s a bit too tedious and not the best use of my time. This exercise did help much educationally for me.

What Lenin described is basically a common tactic used by colonialists (and current day corporate executives), namely directing their enemy against a harmless, easy to target group, to distract them, in this specific case with Jews as the scapegoat. Compared to divide and conquer, where British colonialists incite X Indian to kill Y Indian, after which British colonialists kill X Indian, this is actually rather mild. I wonder what pieces Lenin wrote on the divide and conquer tactic.

In light of divide and conquer, the communists lost the Cold War after many great triumphs because they fought too much against themselves. The Sino-Soviet split weakened the socialist camp tremendously. By the 80s, the USSR was more behind, and America through soft, ideological means successfully brought about its implosion. The same almost happened with China with the 89 protests, but China did not do what the USSR stupidly did.

There’s also what Michael O Church loves to say, that in Silicon Valley, the executive scumbags love to fuel tensions between the working class and intellectual class. To those throwing rocks at Google shuttles, it’s like dude, you’re attacking the wrong people! This also brings to mind the classic tactic of enticing one’s enemy group with wealth and benefits to bring them to your side. The American elite did that during the Cold War to its working classes and they won with that, and after the pressure on them (from an external power) was over, they believed they could get away with depriving medical care and creating a higher education bubble and did just that. My friend loves to say that we won’t have a revolution because it’s much easier now for rich people to give poor people a little more to get them to shut up. People aren’t starving anymore.

I’ve read writing about how psychopathy, or the willingness and ability to take advantage of others, propels people to the top. Psychopathy I’m sure also runs in families. Now the question is how much longer will the world be ruled by psychopaths who suck people’s blood. I can’t imagine that changing in the next century. Humans are too awful and defective. However, maybe once we discover the genes for psychopathy, we can do something about that. 😉

The chosen people

I have always had a fascination with Jews as a group. They are after all this super high achieving, creative ultra minority group that accounts for like 25% of the people at the top of various disciplines. Most notable are mathematics and physics. In math, you have von Neumann, Grothendieck, Paul Cohen, etc. In physics, the list is even longer: Einstein, Feynman, Gellman, Landau, Teller, too many to name. And these are the brainiest fields. But also, Jews excel at the highest levels in literature and music and in softer sciences. Marx, Freud, Chomsky, etc. They also excel in finance, law, and entrepreneurship. Look at the founders of some of the important SV firms and the top Wall Street hedge funds. This is rather universal. Even in the Soviet Union, some of the most prominent musicians and film producers were Jewish. Sergei Eisenstein, Iosif Kobzon. And many of the most infamous Russian oligarchs are Jewish too. In that realm, comes to mind Roman Abramovich, that guy who, in addition to marrying a trophy wife, bought the world’s best soccer team!

People use IQ as an explanation. Jews as a group, as we all know, have a very high median IQ (with extra advantage at verbal), and we all know what effect such has on the far tail (assuming same sigma (even there, Jews may be higher)). But could IQ alone account for most of such disproportionate achievement? A highly talented math PhD of Jewish origin has hypothesized (and communicated such directly to me) that Jews, aside from cultural and socioeconomic advantages, have higher aesthetic discernment, which enables them to be more creative. We all know that in science and the arts, horsepower is important, but there is also the taste and vision aspect.

I know some Jews, some of whom have lived in Israel, and I enjoy talking with them enormously. One of them I consider far smarter than I am. On the other hand, one of them, who is quite deficient academically and spouts a lot of nonsense, I have a rather low opinion of. He once sent me photos of military hardware that China bought and cloned from Israel to express to me how uncreative Chinese people are. I had already know, from talking with people in China, that China imported some cutting edge military technology from Israel, especially in the 80s. Earlier today, I glanced through the page on the Six Day War, the one in which Israel decisively defeated Arab countries that the Soviet Union had supported during the Cold War. It further reinforced my impression of how formidable the Israeli military is. I know that they have nuclear weapons, and are widely believed to possess thermonuclear ones as well, which they are very confident work despite not having tested them. A guy I talk to, who is doing a PhD in string theory at a top school, of very neutral Indian origin, however, says that they didn’t develop them on their own. (In contrast, it is almost universally accepted that China developed those independently in the 60s after the Soviet experts left.) To my great surprise, Gwydion Madawc Williams, who is highly knowledgeable about history and politics in an objective way, has publicized his doubts as to whether Israel would even survive in the long run. That seems to me quite far-fetched. Even though the demographics, and perhaps even public opinion, is against them, they are too competent and powerful (with weapons of mass destruction) not to survive. I may be wrong though in that judgement, with my near total lack of knowledge at the detailed level.

Yes, I know almost nothing about Jewish culture or even about Israel. I recall learning about it in my bull shit history class senior year of high school, which had the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of its major units. I know who Herzl was, what the Balfour Declaration was, and other such commonly known facts. However, how could a 17 year old possibly understand something like that in any deep, non-trivial way? Maybe in my spare time, I can actually accumulate all that requisite knowledge of biblical history as well as of the modern one. And learn some Hebrew too. If only I had the intellectual horsepower to devour that alongside Chinese language and history, which is already boundless enough. In spite of the great degree of my lack of JvN, I’ll do what I can. I could at least do better than all those Jews I’ve talked to who’ve said completely ridiculous things about Chinese culture and history to me. Jewish culture is little known and misunderstood outside those who practice it, but Chinese culture is far more so, with China having been traditionally isolated from and developed almost entirely independently of the West, alongside the freeze in relations with America following the Korean War that lasted for 20 years, the legacy of which is still ubiquitous today in America, around which global culture revolves. Though I grew up almost entirely in America, someone as intelligent as I am inevitably realized over time that the American or Western portrayal of Chinese culture, both the traditional one, and the PRC one, is more or less nonsense, and factually inaccurate in many ways. To de-brainwash myself on that one, I did what any reasonable person would do: read a ton of Chinese online, learning it in the process.

I’ll conclude by writing that as far as I see it, Jewish intellectual supremacy is hard to deny. As a group, Jews really do seem to produce a lion’s share of the geniuses, and by genius, I mean one who radically changes a field, who produces revolutionary work, as opposed to one who merely becomes professor at first rate university. It won’t be a surprise if this persists for quite a while, perhaps through the 21st century. People love to talk about now how in the young generation, it is the East Asian students who are outperforming, with their domination now of the IMO and Putnam contests, and other olympiads, as well as their increasing population in hard STEM departments in universities. There is still however some doubt on their ability to create new fields, to alter the face of science, as there is the widespread belief that East Asians are not as creative. Though I definitely cannot say with confidence, at this point, that Jewish ultra intellectual elite can be matched, I do think the aforementioned hypothesis regarding East Asians is rather overblown. I’ll explain why in the next paragraph.

First of all, I’ve come to realize that Japan has been producing ceiling creative people at a very high rate since they’ve been a developed country. This is true for mathematics, for physics, for engineering, for video games, for anime. That Jewish math PhD cited earlier in this post feels the same. Their high performance in science is evident from the plethora of Japanese names at the apex of various scientific fields who created their own directions which turned out to be extremely important and fundamental. In theoretical fields, Yoichiro Nambu, Hideki Yukawa, Goro Shimura, Kiyoshi Ito, Kenkichi Iwasawa, too many to name. Japanese have won a lion’s share of Nobel Prizes in the 21st century. Given such, it’s ironic that Satoshi Kanazawa wrote that Asians can’t think. People then will point to China and its underperformance. For that, one needs to keep in mind that China did not begin rapid modernization until the 1950s, whereas Japan was already more or less an advanced country during WWII. The high level of poverty, the great need for applied work, which diverted many of the smartest people away from pure science, and political movements such as the Cultural Revolution that substantially disrupted pure research all contributed to this. China following the reforms had many of its best and brightest go to American PhD programs, with most of them not returning, many of them eventually becoming professors in good or top American universities. It seems like that that cohort of mainland Chinese in America did exceedingly well, many becoming quite distinguished. As for conformism, if one knows the slightest about 20th century Chinese revolutionary culture and history, it will be apparent that Chinese are plenty non-conformist. That way smarter than me guy with Jewish blood, who I talk to regularly, once said that Jews produce the greatest extremes in virtually every direction, from Benjamin Netanyahu to Norman Finkelstein, from Garry Kasparov to Bobby Fischer, which I could not disagree with. As I learned more about 20th century Chinese history and culture though, I feel like Chinese are plenty crazy too. Politically, there is the very original culture and political system created by the Chinese communists, and on the other direction, you have liberal anti-communists like Fang Lizhi as well as Liu Xiaobo and other Tiananmen Square liberals who are now saying crazy things in America in the likes of Kasparov and Fischer. The Chinese communists developed one of a kind methods of warfare that proved to be highly successful, that enabled them ultimately to fight successfully against the most powerful country in the world, proving Chinese military ability in the modern era for the first time. However, due to cultural and linguistic isolation, coupled with political bias from the West, this is little known by the rest of world.

I’ll conclude by saying that all of this, on Jews, on East Asians, is rather consistent with theories derived from psychometrics. Psychometrics would predict, based on their higher base IQs, that those two groups would be vastly overrepresented within the intellectual elite, as they are. And it also seems to me that higher IQ really does make people more likely to be non-conformist and extreme, not only intellectually but also politically. Genius and madness go together.