“The concept of talent is not based on any scientific reality”
Talent, either we have it, or we admire it in the other. because this ability, which we like to think innate, fascinates with its mystical, unusual side.
Nevertheless, it seems that those who shine in their performances in individual subjects are not affected by grace. In his exam Talent is a fiction: Deconstructing the Myths of Achievement and Merit (Ed. JC Lattès), neurology doctor Samah Karaki supports this the concept of talent itself is not based on any scientific reality.
A work fueled by the latest available information and popular illustrations, it prompts us to question the society we are a part of and to look beyond the individual and their achievements to stop idolizing individual excellence. .
Marie Claire: You write that talent is a vague concept, difficult to define. After all this research, how would you put it into words?
Dr. Samah Karaki “I would say that most likely it would be a trait that we attribute to a person or a potential that we assume might explain who a person is today.n will hunt, discover, reveal, because it is a hidden potential.
Thus, it is either considered mystical or found in biological nature. In any case, it seems to already exist in humans.
Why have we convinced ourselves of its existence without ever questioning it?
Because it is very simple to consider that what explains a phenomenon we observe is a direct line referring to the original potential. “Because I have X genes, I have Y ability. Because I have X talent, I have Y performance…”. It’s a very direct but above all immutable line of causality: I either have it or I don’t.
There may be a bias in genes, which I don’t deny, but it would be simplistic to explain what we are by tracing back to what we inherited from our parents. Whenever we look at stories and trajectories, we stay within a limited frame: the frame of individual stories because it is more compelling than looking at the social structure in which we place ourselves.
For example, when we talk about transclasses, those who change class due to their talent, we will argue about “is it thanks to parents, perseverance, perseverance?…”. We will focus on ‘what makes it’, whereas we need to look at the distant picture to see what culture or social structure these people fit into.
I have nothing against this fascination, but it doesn’t reflect the reality of the world, it’s the one off stories that we’ll make books and series about because they’re statistically unlikely and awesome.
It would be simplistic to explain what we are by referring back to what we inherited from our parents.
With the boom in personal development and dozens of books extolling the phrase ‘if you want, you can’, you’d think that anyone could develop a talent if they worked hard enough. What does science say?
Indeed, the trend of individual development comes to support this individual tendency. We believe that what makes us exceptional is within ourselves, and invite us to change our internal narratives in a way that separates us from the context in which we operate and achieve the best version of ourselves. However, collective narratives permeate our self-concepts in a greater way than we realize.
As a woman who has been stereotyped for hundreds of years, I can’t just say to myself, “I’m going to tear it all down, raise my voice, and stand my ground,” and I’m going to fight alone. the power of these collective stories.
There is a tendency to look away, to think that the problems lie with the individual rather than the systems, and this is dangerous. We get the impression that if we haven’t done something about our problems, we’ve wasted our lives. But our ways are not springboards to become the best versions of ourselves, and it’s perfectly legitimate to question the world we’re in rather than question our own existence and even being angry at it.
We need to organize ourselves to influence systems and think about educational and professional models that are fairer and more responsive to our diversity, because these ideas feed inequalities.
What if personal development coaching didn’t do us any good?
If the talent is admirable, you nuance that it can also be a hindrance to the person holding it. How can it serve us?
Talent creates expectations on the part of others. Research shows that in children who are perceived as smart and are told so, this leads to an ability mindset and they will think that being smart is like having blue or brown eyes, I either have them or I don’t. ‘t.
If I have, then others must not change their minds. What we’ve noticed is that they will react very negatively when they fail because it’s as if their entire identity has been questioned and they’re motivated to validate rather than learn. It is very present in the sports world. This creates pressure to perform, but above all, it changes our learning goals, which we no longer see as curves, but as points.
However, creativity or learning are curves we develop and are not immutable numbers. Not having others reduce us to numbers or adjectives allows us to maintain this complexity. The more we see our brains as a set of muscles fed by external inputs, the more we have a dynamic view of ourselves that is freeing and unconditioned by a given performance.
Sports: how to motivate yourself when you win everything?
Other than feeling guilty about not having that “quirky” side, why should we all associate talent as a fiction?
Because ‘talent’ does not allow us to think too much building a realistic narrative about what learning is. A person who loves a certain subject does not wonder where his faculty comes from, he is immersed in learning, not in self. And it frees. Whether we say “I have talent” or “I don’t have talent”, in both cases we are in the process of evaluating it, quantifying it beyond learning, while everything interesting is found in the places we forget. ourselves.
It is not only about knowing whether talent exists, but also asking what is the point of creating a hierarchy among individuals.
And that raises another question. It is not only about knowing whether talent exists, but also asking what is the point of creating a hierarchy among individuals. Is there something we have or don’t have that makes us feel superior or inferior to others? Something fundamental enough to make it legitimate to prioritize respect among people? This is the whole purpose of my book.”
I grew up in the shadow of a famous brother