The curse of high intelligence
I wrote this tonight, it's been a rough night...
Iím 6í2Ē. People sometimes remark to me and almost everyone seems to just naturally assume that being tall is somehow a good thing. After all, I can reach things on the top shelf. What they donít realize is how cramped everything else in life is, table space, chairs, airplanes, cars. Being tall is not always a great thing.
People also seem to think that intelligence is a good thing. It both is and it isnít. While itís true that high intelligence corresponds to more complex jobs and thus more income and more income generally raises things that most people who attribute as happiness (wealth, materials, power), this is a misnomer.
The truth is, intelligence, being smart, really truly smart, is a horribly lonely affair. It is soul-crushingly lonely. For someone such as me with an IQ as a stupid, naive, child was last measured at 142. Thatís roughly .14% or 14 / 10,000. Now restrict that sample to a given location and there may be (if youíre lucky) a few hundred people in the area you live in (this depends of course on where you live, Iím speaking for my current situation). Now how many of those are roughly your age? How many are of the opposite sex, emotionally compatible, attractive, and single? In many to most cases the answer is nearly nil. What are the odds of meeting such a person? Imagine how lonely a situation that is, and itís just simply arrived at by simple analysis.
Imagine my dismay tonight. On Wednesday I met a woman, the best woman Iíve met in my entire 28 year old life. Iíve met many, many people, and many women. I can say safely none held so much as a candle to this womanís intelligence, personality, beauty, accent, sweetness, and other assorted wonderful qualities.
After much thought I quickly came to the following realizations:
ē My odds of meeting someone this good in the area I live in are on par with me winning the lottery
ē The odds of me meeting anyone else on the same scale is the same as the odds of meeting this woman (past results do not impact future rolls)
Presented with those conclusions it then logically follows that:
ē I should do anything in my power to make this woman happy. Knowing her rarity makes me want to do anything in my power to make her happy, love her, make her feel wonderful, cherish her, know that she would bear brilliant children, and know that there is a quality of conversation that only we can provide each other (without winning the lottery again)
ē Since I am more motivated then the other millions then other people she would have to look through to find someone who would love her more
ē In theory these are good qualities in a mate, someone who respects and puts you happiness at the forefront of their own goals
ē So you have what is essentially a perfect and impossibly unlikely situation. For a person to throw away such a thing callously or without thinking the situation through is like handing someone a winning lottery ticket and then having them throw it away without a cursory glance and being unable to explain it to them as they have already made up their mind.
Realizing conclusions like this in a few scant instances is not a blessing, itís an absolute curse. How do you not break down in despair when you comprehend how unhappy you are likely to be for your entire life? The best one can do is try to settle for something which is a vague substitute. But with a even small intelligence gap things can quickly become just as depressing.
Try to conceive of the mind of a stupid dog, it understands perhaps how to eat and that it should defecate far from where it eats. Perhaps it realizes to use shelter when itís cold out, perhaps it simply chases its tail all day and sits passively waiting for food. It may very well be happy all the time. It can only conceive of the status quo and has no concept of death or any other consequences.
Now conceive of the mind of a smart dog, one that can learn complex behaviors and predict with some small certainty how events will play out. Perhaps he knows a schedule, perhaps he knows how to do tricks, perhaps he understands that good behavior will result in a positive reward. The smart dog is almost incomprehensibly smarter than the regular dog.
Unfortunately this section will probably offend people, however I feel it is necessary to talk about as facts should not be discarded simply because they are uncomfortable. Believe me, I didnít relish writing this part:
Now imagine a mentally retarded individual (my own brother is autistic). He is likely in most measurable ways smarter than the smart dog but it is possible that the dog may learn a cause and effect faster than some humans. This simply does and can be shown to happen in some cases.
Now imagine an average human, in all or almost all ways they seem intellectually quite superior to the mentally handicapped, however to an intelligent human being they may very well be seen as slow, dull, or unable to reason.
An intelligent or even very intelligent individual may well be able to balance their checkbook, do their taxes, and hold down a job. But rarely do they bend their minds to the problems of philosophy. Social interactions will take the bulk of their time as there are still a multitude of people at or near their intelligence levels. Also the distinctions between average and intelligent are fairly small (as there are still many people in both groups).
As you move up the scale, the distinguishing percentage narrows more and more. Yet the differences between people still do change. Imagine how it might feel for someone with a 180 IQ to interact with a GENIUS with a 140 IQ. If itís remotely the same as a 140 interacting with a 100 (and it should be worse as the concepts will by definition be more and more complex and insightful) then the 180 is going to feel incredibly lonely. Who can they talk to? Who will understand them?