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Why Intelligent People Tend To Be Unhappy

Why Intelligent People Tend To Be Unhappy

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Published by Bill Allin
The rates of suicide, imprisonment and emotional dysfunction among highly intelligent people are much higher than for the average. Many are socially and emotionally underdeveloped or maldeveloped. Read on to learn why.
The rates of suicide, imprisonment and emotional dysfunction among highly intelligent people are much higher than for the average. Many are socially and emotionally underdeveloped or maldeveloped. Read on to learn why.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Bill Allin on Mar 11, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/22/2014

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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 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 following speculation 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 way it dotes over athletes and sports figures, especially the outstanding ones. While we have the odd notable personality such as Albert Einstein, we also have many extremely intelligent people working in occupations that are considered amongthe lowliest, as may be attested by a review of the membership lists of Mensa (the club 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 social ladder.Children develop along four streams: intellectual, physical, emotional (psychological) and social. In classrooms, the smartest kids tend to be left out of moreactivities by other children than they are included in. They are "odd," they arethe geeks, they are social outsiders. In other words, they do not develop socially as well as they may develop intellectually or even physically where opportunities may exist for more progress.Their emotional development, characterized by their ability to cope with risky or stressful situations, especially over long periods of time, also lags behind that of the average person.Adults tend to believe that intelligent kids can deal with anything because theyare intellectually superior. This inevitably includes situations where the intelligent kids have neither knowledge nor skills to support their experience. Theygo through the tough times alone. Adults don't understand that they need help and other kids don't want to associate with kids the social leaders say are outsiders.As a result we have many highly intelligent people whose social development progresses much 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 vast majority of prison inmates are socially and emotionally underdeveloped or maldeveloped and a larger than average percentage of them are more intelligent than the norm.Western society provides the ideal incubator for social misfits and those with emotional coping problems. When it comes to happiness, people who are socially inept and who have trouble coping emotionally with the exigencies of life would not 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 development, most are destined to be unhappy as they mature in the world of adults.

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Gypsii liked this
CheeHong Plays Dota added this note
Anyone that is intelligent and brave enough should voice it out to the world about this issue. I can relate to this article as an intelligent person, it is very accurate from my point of view. I tend to see more tragedies than the goods of the society. What's worse is that people with average intelligent hardly appreciate intelligent people even if they can't understand what intelligent people is
CheeHong Plays Dota added this note
Anyone that is intelligent and brave enough should voice it out to the world about this issue. I can relate to this article as an intelligent person, it is very accurate from my point of view. I tend to see more tragedies than the goods of the society. What's worse is that people with average intelligent hardly appreciate intelligent people even if they can't understand what intelligent people is
Kevin Atkinson added this note
You speak about the alienated intelligent but what about the more charismatic intelligent person?
Bill Allin added this note
Ariel, thanks for your note. What you used to call friends are what I call business friends. In other words, they are "friends" so long as they have something they can gain by having some kind of relationship with you. When you can no longer deliver that benefit, the business relationship is over. Be assured that, in the long term, they lost more than you did.
Ariel Rice added this note
So true. I used to be depressed until I decided I just don't care about having friends. Now I can count my friends on one hand, and they're all very intelligent, and I'm happy with what I got. Actually, I became happier when I learned how to plan my laziness.
Bill Allin liked this
paulturtle92 added this note
These are a few of the experiences I feel I had to share on this subject. Never, ever equate intellect with happiness. I, along with my friends, are arguably above average in the "head" department, and yet we (well, most of us) are one of the most miserable bastards I've seen, even on screen or off. I've tried drinking, and I've contemplated stronger substances too. Nothing solves my problem, and

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