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Why Intelligent People Tend to Be Unhappy

Why Intelligent People Tend to Be Unhappy



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Published by Dav Ina

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Published by: Dav Ina on Nov 01, 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 intelligent people and of unhappiness. He lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, four wives and anunknown number of failed romantic relationships, none of which would help him todevelop 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. Notenough study exists to quote on this subject.Western society is not set up to nurture intelligent children and adults, the way it dotesover athletes and sports figures, especially the outstanding ones. While we have the oddnotable personality such as Albert Einstein, we also have many extremely intelligentpeople working in occupations that are considered among the lowliest, as may be attestedby a review of the membership lists of Mensa (the club for the top two percent onintelligence 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 social ladder.Children develop along four streams: intellectual, physical, emotional (psychological) andsocial. In classrooms, the smartest kids tend to be left out of more activities by other children than they are included in. They are "odd," they are the geeks, they are socialoutsiders. In other words, they do not develop socially as well as they may developintellectually or even physically where opportunities may exist for more progress.Their emotional development, characterized by their ability to cope with risky or stressfulsituations, especially over long periods of time, also lags behind that of the averageperson.Adults tend to believe that intelligent kids can deal with anything because they areintellectually superior. This inevitably includes situations where the intelligent kids haveneither knowledge nor skills to support their experience. They go through the tough timesalone. Adults don't understand that they need help and other kids don't want to associatewith kids the social leaders say are outsiders.As a result we have many highly intelligent people whose social development progressesmuch slower than that of most people and they have trouble coping with the stressors of life that present themselves to everyone. It should come as no surprise that the vastmajority of prison inmates are socially and emotionally underdeveloped or maldevelopedand a larger than average percentage of them are more intelligent than the norm.

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