September 28, 2009

Intelligence As A Curse

One of the most wonderful things that I found when the journey through the blogoshpere first began, was that I was able to converse with people that could actually understand me. Have incredibly in depth conversations that were meaningful and not superficial. To have people that could challenge and stump me and call me on my dumbass shit. (My wife Sherri is great for that) I call it truly wonderful because of one thing, and this is not boasting, just the truth, my mensa membership. Mensa is a social club for the top 2% of intelligences in the world. Really this is not a bragging session, I entered for a resume' builder. The wonder is the number of highly intelligent people that I ran into here. The thoughts that run through the heads of our small community are truly above the normal level of thought. So thank you for the challenging and wonderful things that you have brought to my life.

But, there is also a couple of HUGE drawbacks that intelligence creates. Three are the most prevalent, and the cause of many of our challenges with our faith. They cause us to create lives that are often much less than we and others would think. I have a friend with Genius IQ that has built a nice life for himself, but he is not a researcher looking to prove string theory for look for the God particle. He lives just a normal life, and he is selling cars at the moment. They cause us to be restless, sometimes insensitive, erratic, eclectic, kind of just odd birds. They create much upheaval in our lives.

First is that since we are smarter than anyone else, we don't listen to anyone else. Our experiences have taught us that our perceptions are correct much more often than that of those around us. So we will listen to those around us, but reach our own decisions. Meaning, if we are in an institutional church, we will politely listen to them, then come to our own conclusion, and it will not be that of the institution. Then we feel betrayed that something so important could be imparted to us incorrectly.

Next is that we have a stronger sense of the thing that is built into all humans, it is called the law of diminishing returns. Meaning that the more we experience anything, the less wonderful and exciting it is. My best explanation is that when we have a favorite food, and then proceed to have it everyday for a month, it is not so special anymore. Then it is common and ordinary and does not hold that same special place in our hearts it used to. This causes us to be wanderers in the mental landscape. I have found that truly intelligent hate true change and upheaval. We like our routines and comforts, and hate those things that majorly impinges upon them. But with our mental wanderings, they go far and wide. Erin speaks of the super collider in France, Barry peaks of the philosophies of the world, Michelle speaks of Jung often, these are not normal conversation points for the populace at large. But our minds MUST seek these things out, no choice.

Lastly, we can comprehend those things that others cannot. This is the worst one. Why? Many times we expect that others have to be able to comprehend because it is so obvious. But they are really just completely unable to grasp the entirety of the concept. Many times we judge them for this. We wonder how they can be so small and petty. But that is ofttimes the extent of their mentality. They can do no better. It has been very hard for me to reconcile that fact in my own perceptions and feelings towards those in the establishment. For I am commanded to love them. I find it easier to love the Gay community than the church at the moment, but love them I must. Not just love them, but care about their fate, lives , loves, cares, and anything else. It is hard to reconcile that concept.

What does all of this mean to us, those highly intelligent creatures that have no mental rest or reassurance. Well, it comes down to faith. Faith is belief in things unseen, unprovable, and intangible. Fortunately for me, I have quantifiable proof of providence. But, as stated earlier, we only believe our own conclusions, so you wouldn't believe me if I told you. (ha, ha) We have the hard part. To accept those that, no matter how hard we try, are not EVER going to be at our level of knowledge understanding, or faith. Again, not a boast, just a fact. Some can run the 100M in under 10 Seconds, I can't, it is the same in this. It is just a natural ability, and we cannot fault birth. God made us as he wants us, and to reject His creation to me is wrong.


Barry said...

Intelligence certainly is a double-edged sword. It has its advantages, but it can also leave you feeling isolated at times when others can't understand why you have to think so much, why you can't "just believe".

I'm a former Mensa member myself, and joined for similar reasons to you. I took it off my CV (resume) quite quickly though, as it seems that appearing too intelligent, in job-seeking as in other areas of life, marks you out as "different" and therefore either undesirable or a target.

Many people are satisfied with a simple faith. I can't judge them for it as it works well for them. However, I can't be satisfied with that, and again it marks me out as different, which most people just can't understand. You can't win, really.

Erin said...

I qualified for Mensa but haven't joined. I guess it made me feel...well, I wasn't comfortable with it.

I agree with you Nate. One thing I could never grasp is the way people in churches take what they are told at face value. Some people are OK with that, but it makes me shudder. When you are told things that don't a) make logical sense and/or b) don't make sense in your spirit and/or don't make sense compared to the bible...I think there is a problem. But so many people are ok with that.

I have been told all my life that I think too much...and I hate that. What's wrong with thinking? I am only sorry I haven't tapped into my intelligence sooner...not that I regret staying home to raise my kids...but now I have 20 years of idle brain to make up for.

Susan said...

Me too, Erin. I struggle with people who believe things that don't make logical sense and/or b) don't make sense in your spirit and/or don't make sense compared to the bible.

I also struggle with people who simply don't think!!

Nate said...

Sorry for being away so long, but had to go for some training with my new job.

I knew there was a reason we all connected so well. That does make sense. Also why I can never convince either of you totally of my arguments. But, I truly enjoy seeing where each of us end up with our thinking, and that there is cogent reasoning behind it. Also that we are all open for discussion because we realize that the more we know, the more we realize how little we know.

Mark said...

Nate, you forgot one more thing high intelligence often brings. Pride. Pride will cause you to not be open to other points of view. Pride will make you dogmatic in your thinking. Pride will make you think of yourself over others. It’s ironic that the Bible says that pride and wanting more intelligence (knowledge of good and evil) was the cause of all sin.

Valorosa said...


Barry said...

Mark: Pride doesn't always come with high intelligence, and most highly-intelligent people are no more or less likely to listen to other opinions than anyone else. The difference is that intellectuals are more likely to take more persuading because they will usually have thought an issue through in more depth and thus have a stronger idea of what they believe on an issue.

As for wanting knowledge of good and evil: even if you accept that as the root of all sin, it's not a case of wanting more intelligence, but wanting more knowledge. That's a very different thing. Your level of intelligence is something you're born with; you can't get more.

Mark said...

Barry, I think (although I maybe wrong) your view of pride is too narrow. Isn’t the belief that I’m right and you’re wrong a form of pride. Isn’t the view that I have thought something through in so much depth that it’s unlikely that I’m wrong, a form of pride. Pride is a sneaky sin, and can masks it self so well. In fact, I’m most likely guilty of it right now :)

I personally don’t believe in the Genesis account, and believe that evil is just a product of nature. I agree with you that knowledge and intelligence are different, but they are also inseparable. I think the jury is still out whether or not one can get more intelligence. I mean the simple aspect of the environment changing IQs (for better or worse) is an example of changing the amount of intelligence you’re born with. The brain still has many more mysteries in store for us.