Why Sherlock Holmes is stupid

8 mins read

The FINANCIAL — It has been countless decades since the pale inhabitant of 221B Baker Street with his charcoal hair, infamous hat and unrivalled deductive skills, used to reign supreme and defend the title of the brightest detective, inspiring youth all around the world and being run as one of the most successful fictional franchises ever since.

However, as the title indicates, this article is not just another glorifying tribute to the deductive giant, but rather a debunking of his overhyped status.

In case you’ve decided not to throw your laptop away just yet and are still willing to continue reading, even though one’s childhood ideals might be in jeopardy, before we justify the outrageous statement in the title it is necessary to discuss the purpose and origins of intelligence.

From the day of one’s birth, every species residing on mother earth has been working towards a single task, to survive in their surroundings and to multiply, which back in the day could only have been ensured by sheer muscle power. Therefore chieftains always used to be the strongest of the tribe, in order to ensure their survival.

It was some time later in the ancient past that muscle power became less and less a determinant of success, and humanity was introduced to a game-changing skill – intelligence. Not only did it become a great opportunity for the physically weak to shine, but also a tool for spreading control and acquiring long-lasting results.

Humans threw down their spears and started learning, communicating and, most importantly, improving. In time we stepped into an era where outstanding cognitive reasoning became the most wanted and valued skill. We glorified intelligent mathematicians, doctors and philosophers while striving towards becoming like them one day. However, while romanticising about the endless possibilities an intellect bestows upon individuals, perhaps humanity lost the vision it should have served.

The shift in usage from physical to cognitive abilities has been a huge improvement there’s no doubt, however we rarely speak about the long term goal that the shift should have served, which I believe has remained quite the same: building long-lasting systems.

Catching individual criminals fails to drop crime rates

The purpose of a detective is to nullify all of the existing crimes, by finding and bringing them to justice, which in unity should bring world peace. However, if a particular person is more skilled than another in finding a criminal, it only improves the speed by which certain criminals were brought to justice, a great improvement no doubt, but I highly doubt it could be considered a planetary scale achievement.

A true intellect would lean towards creating a long-lasting system that would assure the success of eradication of the criminal, such as for example smart government system improvements, or creating an establishment of collective intelligence which, since Sherlock greatly understood the mind of criminals, would increase efficiency against crime-fighting.

In that regard Mycroft Holmes was able to exploit his mental abilities far better than his brother, as he showed a constant desire towards making things better through diplomacy and policies.

Dictionaries might claim a lack of intelligence is the definition of stupidity, however, I believe having the mental capabilities and not using them properly is a far more serious mistake.

The only decent argument that Sherlock might have up his sleeve would, of course, be the Moriarty case, whose defeat could be considered one of the greatest achievements indeed. However, after analyzing the deeds of James, he barely deviates from any corrupted government bureaucrat, yet another individual in a flawed system.

This leaves us with the three following possibilities: either A) Sherlock is aware of the insignificance of his deeds but desperately neglects taking the necessary adjustments; B) He is afraid to come out of his comfort zone due to the simplicity he finds in catching individuals in order to actually seek the social validation he then desperately tries to reject; or C) He simply failed to have considered any such possibilities, which is hardly believable due to his cognitive reasoning abilities.

An intelligent person always leans towards building something long-lasting, Sherlock does not have children, nor successors

Similar to the justice system argument, Sherlock did not spend any time cultivating any successors, neither children nor any establishments which the talented detective could have cultivated in order to fight crime on a larger scale. Similar to what we see in the death note series, where following the murder of a brilliant detective anonymously known as L, the school for talented youngsters gives the responsibility to Mello and Near to catch the mass murderer Kira. In other words, the death of L could not bring down their system of justice.

He neglects emotions, rather than embracing them

According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, the contribution of emotional intelligence to having success in business is about 90%. The number might sound exaggerated at first glance, however, while re-evaluating, business is about uniting, serving and delivering a product or service to a large part of society, where communication and therefore emotional intellect play a decisive role.

The distrust or fear of social connections might be yet another reason Sherlock has neglected the creation of long-lasting crime-fighting systems or the school for the gifted. Running a project that massive requires funding and hustling, a trait directly linked to the abovementioned emotional intelligence.

If life were simplified to only solving puzzling riddles, then Sherlock would probably win the game, however as far as I am concerned this is rarely the case. The influential always try to cultivate their ideas globally, so they are transformed into something long-lasting, which in the end makes humanity evolve. Therefore, we are back to two possibilities: either A) Sherlock could not come up with the right potential to use his brilliant mind properly; or B) He was simply too scared to take action that mattered to the world. In any case the outcome contradicts his status.

If a man is born in a certain way which enables him to apply a specific skill better than others, as outrageous as the skill might be, not exploiting them in the long run is a fatal mistake, making the supposedly brilliant Holmes into a mere ‘King Sisyphus’, pushing a boulder all the way to the top of a mountain only to have to face the same task the following day.

By Gela Megeneishvili

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