Now I suppose lots of people are going to... Supposing you could arrange everybody so that they all have certain characteristics. What would you want them to have? So...we want everyone should be geniuses. Well, I've got some personal knowledge of geniuses, and let me tell you one in a long while is all you can stand.
I mean, I personally don't want anyone around me who's a genius; I can just barely stand myself.
Or we want everyone who's sort of a deep thinker, everyone who's sort of sensitive, and kind, and humane...naah! Any race, any set of human beings that are all alike are not only dull, but useless, really.
I was asked a few days ago...really was, I'm not making this up...whether I didn't think an intellectual elite ought to run the world. And I said, by an intellectual elite, you mean people like me? Because I didn't know what he meant by an intellectual elite. I thought maybe it might mean people like him, in which case no!
And he said: "Yes, people like you". And I said no, that would be no good because I'm only smart in certain ways, and very stupid in other ways. And if everybody was like me, and we were running the world, we'd all be smart in the same way, and all be stupid in the same way, and it's the stupidness that's going to kill us. I said, what we need are people of all kinds running the world! Some of whom are smart in one way, and some of whom are smart in the other way, and with everyone's smartness in different directions, so that they can sort of cancel out; so that everybody's stupidity can be caught by someone else's smartness in the same direction.
In the same way, that's what we want. The greatest...the greatest gift that mankind has is it's vast gene pool. All the different genes it has. All the different characteristics; the smart and the stupid, the strong and the weak. Because it's the variety that makes it possible for us to meet different emergencies, and what is weak under one set of conditions might be strong under another, what is stupid at one time is smart at another, and so on. We can't throw out anything for fear that that's exactly what we'll need someday."
from a lecture by Issac Asimov