Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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It is interesting, because the assumption had always been that we just keep losing brain cells and therefore must lose intelligence as we get older. Also, it was believed that intelligence measured during childhood cannot increase very much.

When a child gets labeled as not very smart, he loses motivation for intellectual learning and will probably stay that way for life. It's nice to know that cycle can be escaped, and anyone can grow their brains and become smarter.

The implications for aging are positive, because it means declines in intelligence probably result mostly from physical health problems, many of them caused by lifestyle. I think if we can stay somewhat healthy and continue learning, we won't lose intelligence and might even become smarter.

In my own experience, my intelligence was always related to motivation and curiosity. If I really wanted to learn something, I always did.

One problem of living in a meritocracy is that being born with intelligence, or talent, has replaced being born an aristocrat. We think some have it and others don't, and everyone must accept their rank. It starts in grade school.

I read something about this recently at another web site. It described a guy who seemed to be an intellectual loser in his 20's, until he finally became interested in something and became a highly successful scientist.

I would like to know how often this happens, and I think the new discoveries will motivate people to continue learning. I experienced this a lot in my own life, so I was always skeptical of the fixed-brain theory.

As for the rich environment of nature -- I don't know, humans are much more flexible than animals. We can experience a rich environment from staying inside and reading, or from technology.

Sissy Willis

I leap to unwarranted conclusions, therefore I am.

A wonderful post . . . I have, indeed, learned something, and my brain cells are jumping for joy.

Blogging = Prozac on steroids?

Mark Ribado

HI, Nice post. I just happen to stumble through. I cannot stress more the impact our environment has. I have two young children and witness this daily. This does however concern me. When it comes to the Television I dont know what to think. I already own numerous internet filtering programs, I just dont want my children to to be exposed to certain things. I think that the mainstream media is not helping the situation. What do you think? Post something, I'm sure your fans would like to know your thoughts.


This is a terrific piece. Thanks for bringing this study to my attention.

Charlie (Colorado)

Funny, it seems to work both wayas too --- stupidity makes me stressed and depressed.


Confidence can make even the dumbest people seem intelligent. I currently struggle with a severe depression. When I am down I feel stupid and therefore i act stupid. On the rare occasion that i feel happy, I show intelligence. Depression makes your mind wander, You overanalyze everything in your life. In actuality you are not stupid, its just your mind is so cluttered with depressive thoughts that its hard to sound articulate when you speak, because your not mind is not focused. If you have nothing to worry about then these things come easier.


Thank you for this info. It makes me feel hopeful that out of the 24 jobs I have had in my life there may be a chance I am not totally incompetent. I go to work with a smile and good intentions but I am so absent minded that I constantly make carelss mistakes that make me look stupid and I just cant keep saying I'm sorry. I had to take the elevator back to my floor three times after work today because I couldnt remember for sure if I locked the office door just moments before.



What you are describing may be obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It isn't psychological, it's a neurological phenomenon, and it is treatable. Please check it out. I strongly recommend this book, for one.


To "amba":
Where is the scientific proof that OCD (or any other "mental illness" is neurological? THERE IS NONE! That is just the currently-fashionable, personal responsibility-ducking politically correct explanation for what is actually a character issue (namely, mental immaturity if not a just plain lack of intelligence.)

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