Conrad Black and the Intelligence Trap

Is Conrad Black just too intelligent

Conrad Black has been convicted in a Chicago court, and the world is now analyzing how such brilliance can be coupled with such wrongdoing. One aspect that has not been mentioned is that perhaps his high intelligence was his undoing. It’s all related to the intelligence trap.

The concept of the Intelligence Trap was developed by Edward de Bono, one of the early creativity gurus and the inventor of the term ‘lateral thinking’. He pointed out that intelligence and thinking are not the same. As he explained it:

A highly intelligent person may have a certain view on a subject and use his or her thinking just to support that view. This is done with arguments that make a great deal of sense. The more able a thinker is to support a point of view, the less inclined is that thinker to explore other points of view. Since the original point of view may be based on prejudice or habit, this failure to explore the subject is bad thinking.

By choosing our values and our perceptions, we can support almost any view we like. The only protection we have against fooling ourselves is the ability to explore other views. Sometimes the intelligent person is subconsciously trapped into one point of view by his or her ready ability to defend that view.

In addition, others may be intimidated and shrink from debating with the highly intelligent person. Clearly Conrad Black has a very dominating personality but perhaps a contributing factor to his downfall was his intelligent blinkers.

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