The arc of human evolution is really the arc of human learning. Our biology keeps improving, but only at a snail’s pace. Our culture evolves much, much faster. The average IQ has edged upward in the last 50 years, whereas our biological brains have hardly changed at all in the last 50,000 years.

Most of us assume that learning difficult subjects requires a higher IQ, but it’s more likely that a higher IQ comes from confronting difficult subjects. In a way, we don’t solve problems—problems solve us. They help us complete the puzzle of who we are, asking us to stretch beyond our boundaries and confront what we don’t know. ...

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