Quote: The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability... - F. Scott Fitzgerald
"— the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
Copyright ©2023 January 25, 2023
It is a very common problem on the Internet; too many people make stuff up and then claim that a famous person had said it. One of the results is of the public assuming that the quotes ought to be honest, which results in the public unknowingly using fake quotes.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is popularly claimed to have written "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." Well, yes, the quote is in a Fitzgerald book, but the quote is taken out of context, and thus the quote is presented to the public to imply one thing, while Fitzgerald implied something different.
"— the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
"Before I go on with the short history, let me make a general observation—the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbably, the implausible, often the "impossible," come true. Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort, or to what proportion could be mustered of both." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up, archive.org electronic version)
First off, a person ought to have immediately cross-lighted and recognized that Fitzgerald's definition of a "first-rate intelligence" does not so much as remotely relate to an accurate measure of "first-rate intelligence". Secondly, a person ought to have immediately recognized that holding "two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time" is symptomatic of mental inferiority. An example is of the 'global warming' protesters whom themselves live in large homes, consume and waste vast quantities of electricity, and use cell phones: the protesters are hypocrites and liars, unable to cross-light the obviousness that they themselves are the cause of their 'global warming'.
The Fitzgerald quote, as it stands alone, and as the quote is almost always given by 'quote websites', is contradictory, unlearned, and is just simply false in all measures.
However, if the quote were to include Fitzgerald's two following sentences, then the quote has a rational meaning.
Yes, though it may be known that it is impossible to accurately translate ancient foreign languages, still it can happen that through a large quantity of effort an individual may find himself usefully translating the languages in a manner that makes sense and is rational relative to the real-world laws of Nature. Also, though it is known that it is impossible to help humanity as a whole, still it is a worthy goal and effort to strive to help the few individuals who are able to help themselves.
Within that view, Fitzgerald's quote makes sense within the idea that one's ideas are not directly opposed, but rather the ideas are as tensions against the other, resulting in achieving what is known to be very implausible of achieving.
A news reporter is known to have dishonestly and purposefully twisted Fitzgerald's words into saying "two conflicting ideas", which, of course, is fake news, wrong, lies, and it purposefully harms all listeners, but, of course, that is what all known news reporters do.