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Published by DeepikaASaxena

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Published by: DeepikaASaxena on Oct 11, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.- Ernest Hemingway, author and journalist, Nobel laureate (1899-1961)Hemingway, who took his own life in 1961, knew his share of both intelligentpeople and of unhappiness. He lived through two world wars, the Great Depression,four wives and an unknown number of failed romantic relationships, none of whichwould help him to develop happiness if he knew how.As Hemingway's quote was based on his life experience, I will base the followingspeculation on both my personal and my professional experience as a sociologist.Not enough study exists to quote on this subject.Western society is not set up to nurture intelligent children and adults, the wayit dotes over athletes and sports figures, especially the outstanding ones. Whilewe have the odd notable personality such as Albert Einstein, we also have manyextremely intelligent people working in occupations that are considered among thelowliest, as may be attested by a review of the membership lists of Mensa (theclub for the top two percent on intelligence scales).Education systems in countries whose primary interest is in wealth accumulationencourage heroes in movies, war and sports, but not in intellectual development.Super intelligent people manage, but few reach the top of the business or socialladder.Children develop along four streams: intellectual, physical, emotional(psychological) and social. In classrooms, the smartest kids tend to be left outof more activities by other children than they are included in. They are "odd,"they are the geeks, they are social outsiders. In other words, they do not developsocially as well as they may develop intellectually or even physically whereopportunities may exist for more progress.Their emotional development, characterized by their ability to cope with risky orstressful situations, especially over long periods of time, also lags behind thatof the average person.Adults tend to believe that intelligent kids can deal with anything because theyare intellectually superior. This inevitably includes situations where theintelligent kids have neither knowledge nor skills to support their experience.They go through the tough times alone. Adults don't understand that they need helpand other kids don't want to associate with kids the social leaders say areoutsiders.As a result we have many highly intelligent people whose social developmentprogresses much slower than that of most people and they have trouble coping withthe stressors of life that present themselves to everyone. It should come as nosurprise that the vast majority of prison inmates are socially and emotionallyunderdeveloped or maldeveloped and a larger than average percentage of them aremore intelligent than the norm.Western society provides the ideal incubator for social misfits and those withemotional coping problems. When it comes to happiness, people who are sociallyinept and who have trouble coping emotionally with the exigencies of life wouldnot be among those you should expect to be happy.This may be changing in the 21st century as the geeks gain recognition as peoplewith great potential, especially as people who might make their fortune in theworld of high technology. Geeks may be more socially accepted than in the past,but unless they receive more assistance with their social and emotional

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