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Very Smart People

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Just wondering how everyone feels about geniuses. In general do you feel that geniuses are a blessing or a curse to society? Do you personally enjoy conversing with someone who’s IQ is off the charts are do you find them somewhat arrogant and a pain in the nick. Do you seek them out or do you avoid them?

Studies would indicate that society, in general, tends to dislike the very smart – unless the smart person is their offspring. I notice that on the TV show “Big Bang Theory” that there seems to be a tendency to make fun and belittle the main character (and others) as someone that in reality is a bumbling fool; a stereotyping that in any other setting would be considered blatant prejudice.

As I think about it – most entertainment humor now days seem to rely very heavily on ridiculing someone intelligent trying to accomplish some good or someone in authority trying to keep order in society.

Do we as a society dislike and support the dislike of very smart people?

The Traveler

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People will always have an opinion about other people. Are there people that dislike genius-know-it-alls? Sure. Just as there are people who dislike "skinny" people, or "pretty" people, because they believe these individuals are somehow barred from the life challenges that we all face. Of course, they're wrong. Oh, and I love Sheldon. He looks nothing like my husband but there's something just overwhelmingly adorable about him.

Edited by Bini
Typo.

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Depends on how you define "genius." The inventor of the Stanford-Binet IQ test placed "genius" level at an IQ of 140 or above. Being that my IQ is 143, I definitely consider myself a blessing rather than a curse. If we're talking Einstein-caliber geniuses, that eliminates a lot more of the population.

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Traveler,

A genius maybe someone who excells at a specific field but may not excel at others. EG musical genius, maths or physics genius

You can be a genius at something without being very smart in traditional terms. I think the humour comes partly from the mismatch in skill levels (eg Sheldon is very good at maths but lacks eQ). There is also probably a part that responds, well your better then me at x but your not so good at y.

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I've known a couple of people who were considered to be genius based on their IQ scores but lacked any type of common sense and understanding of the real world.

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Just wondering how everyone feels about geniuses. In general do you feel that geniuses are a blessing or a curse to society? Do you personally enjoy conversing with someone who’s IQ is off the charts are do you find them somewhat arrogant and a pain in the nick. Do you seek them out or do you avoid them?

Love them, at least the humble geniuses. They are one of the reasons why we enjoy so much technology today, and why the human race is able to be connected in a way no generation of homo sapiens have been able to.

Blessing. However anything that can be a blessing has the option of being a curse. It is in how the genius uses his intellect that creates the blessing or curse.

It really depends on the genius who I am speaking with. Do they try to speak above you to show you how smart they are, or do they speak with you. A member of our ward back home in California apparently had an IQ off the charts. I was good friends with his two youngest daughters.

Geniuses who want to show you how smart they are, are arrogant and a pain in the neck. I truly enjoy speaking with a person that eventually in the friendship you realize you actually have a genius as a friend, verses the individual who immediately lets you know he/she is smarter than you.

Studies would indicate that society, in general, tends to dislike the very smart – unless the smart person is their offspring. I notice that on the TV show “Big Bang Theory” that there seems to be a tendency to make fun and belittle the main character (and others) as someone that in reality is a bumbling fool; a stereotyping that in any other setting would be considered blatant prejudice.

I have only scene snippets on youtube with "Big Bang Theory" and the snippets I have watched are very funny.

I see them representing the awkwardness some of these people show, rather than belittling them. No different from shows that belittle the jocks, as block heads, whereas at my school some of the jocks were the smarter people in school. One of which was our valedictorian his graduating class with a full ride to Stanford.

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Most people seem to think I'm arrogant and a pain in the neck. They also seem to avoid talking to me. I can't think of the last time someone "sought me out".

I must be a genius.

Regards,

Finrock

Edited by Finrock
grammar

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People more than a couple of standard deviations from the norm are almost always rejected, whether that deviation be in height, in weight, in skin color, in hair length, in word usage, in riches...you name it. Even the extremely beautiful suffer a weird sort of discrimination (not that I would know by first-hand experience, mind you, but so I have heard). The very intelligent have a choice: Hide their intelligence to be accepted more easily, or expose their intelligence and brave ridicule. Neither choice is obviously better. Many have chosen the former route and have learned to use their greater intelligence to their benefit in hidden ways, while others have wasted their gift in mediocrity for fear of offending the masses. On the other hand, many have chosen the latter path and have learned to compensate by friendliness, generosity, and simply ignoring boorish behavior by the jealous, while others have become hermits and set up shrines to their own vast intelligence at the expense of concern for others. (Anyone remember Heinlein's short story Waldo?)

A confounding factor in all this is the prevalence of autism in human society. Those who suffer from mild forms of autism such as Asperger's Syndrome find their brains work differently from most. They often have the gift/curse of hyperfocus, which in turn allows them to become superproficient in certain areas of interest, yet tends to handicap them in social situations. Thus we end up with the stereotype of the genius who is a social misfit.

In reality, I am sure that we understand very little of what true genius is. We see some people are "smart", so we label them as "geniuses". But what does that mean? Really, really smart? And how would we even know that? Because they talk a lot and say interesting things? Because they won't shut up? Because they answer hard questions? Because they score well on standardized tests? Because they hold advanced degrees? Because they have a bunch of patents? Because they've made a boatload of money? Because they have advanced the cause of human dignity? Seriously, what is the metric or set of metrics by which we can judge a person's intelligence? Even those in the intelligence-measuring community fail to reach a consensus on the matter.

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In reality, I am sure that we understand very little of what true genius is. We see some people are "smart", so we label them as "geniuses". But what does that mean? Really, really smart? And how would we even know that? Because they talk a lot and say interesting things? Because they won't shut up? Because they answer hard questions? Because they score well on standardized tests? Because they hold advanced degrees? Because they have a bunch of patents? Because they've made a boatload of money? Because they have advanced the cause of human dignity? Seriously, what is the metric or set of metrics by which we can judge a person's intelligence? Even those in the intelligence-measuring community fail to reach a consensus on the matter.

Vort are you trying to convince us that you are a genius?

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Vort are you trying to convince us that you are a genius?

If I were a genius, I would make a lot more money than I do, I would take my family on much more interesting vacations than I do, I would be a much better person than I am, and frankly, I would probably spend less time on LDS.net than I do. So no, I'm not looking to make any Vortian converts.

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I have personally known 2 individuals that were well above the minimum genius IQ .... they were brothers & were uncles of mine. Both very much into physics & engineering & both died of "old age", 1 in his later 30s & the othern early 40s ....... maybe there was some logic to my reasoning of choosing career paths (firefighting, law enforcement, & then returning to my farming roots) that require "street smarts" rather then "book smarts".

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I've know many intelligent people. And many individuals who thought it was very important that I realize that they were intelligent. There is a huge difference.

I think anyone that is prideful of their blessings either good looks or intelligence can be rather irritating to be around.

If we were able to test Jesus Christ's IQ, I'm sure that He would be off the chart. Does that mean that He is irritating? Doubt it.

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I have known some incredibly intelligent people and can think of only one that was annoying. He was very much ridiculed for his intelligence too. Poor kid just didnt know how to relate to people but was quite interesting once you knew him. Most were pretty involved in their work but seemed pretty normal.

Sometimes I wonder how many people do hide their intelligence for fear of being mocked. What a wasteful burden we put on people to be average.

God has told us to use our talents. Think how far we could have come if we did instead of hiding them?

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It depends on how humble the smart person is. My I.Q is in the genius range but I don't go around telling everyone that and I talk about general topics like shopping, school, movies, etc... and I don't rattle on about harder topics unless they want me too . I realize that everyone is smart in their own special way and to think that I am better than anyone else is just ridiculous because I'm not. And that's why a lot of people like me because I always believe that people are equal to or better than me. I have friends who can sing I can't do that. Play an instrument. I can't do that. I guess for a smart person to be respected they need to respect the gifts and the talents of others and to remember that the Lord gave them their intelligence to praise and help others not to go around bragging about it. I'm not arrogant about my intelligence because I know the Lord can say it and bang just like that my intelligence will be gone .... but I am grateful for it. And grateful that everyone has different talents for different reasons and to serve different purposes.

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Sometimes I wonder how many people do hide their intelligence for fear of being mocked. What a wasteful burden we put on people to be average.

God has told us to use our talents. Think how far we could have come if we did instead of hiding them?

I think you have a point. I am glad I went to prep school and that my son went to a school for gifted and talented. Smart people were sought out, not ridiculed, in those environments. I can't imagine being teased for being smart.

This kind of teasing, especially when it has the added feature of 'you're acting white,' is devastating for many young black people who would rather be known for their basketball prowess than their SAT scores.

I've known a lot of genius and near genius people, including one Nobel Laureate. Some are regular folks, some are jerks, like everywhere else.

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Sometimes I wonder how many people do hide their intelligence for fear of being mocked. What a wasteful burden we put on people to be average.

God has told us to use our talents. Think how far we could have come if we did instead of hiding them?

I believe we all tend to hide certain aspects of ourselves, of our personalities, of our abilities, & even our knowledge.

The reasons may vary some for different individuals, though over all we all grow up with a strong desire to "fit in".

In adulthood, sometimes it's simply out of habit that one continues to hide those aspects of ourselves, though sometimes it contnues to be a fear that we will not find acceptance.

I once knew a boy, young man, that was the "class trouble maker" in school to the point where school officials in Utah frequent counseled with his parents.

He'd catch on to things with a click of your fingers & then spend the rest of the time being bored .... not knowing what else to do, he'd start doodling & then turn to cracking jokes & then become rowdy. He knew the math answers but had a hard time showing his work on papper ... frequent he couled "see the answer", how to take the math problem & work it & get to the answer he didn't know, he just knew the answer.

Strange how the school assumed that he was acting out because he was not grasping or understanding the concepts being taught --- & he only further promugated this belief as he had the smarts to defeat the academic tests so that he always tested at or below grade-level.

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In general do you feel that geniuses are a blessing or a curse to society?

They are whatever they choose to be. And just because they've reached an extreme in IQ, doesn't mean they need to be either a blessing or a curse - they can be in the middle if they want.

Do you personally enjoy conversing with someone who’s IQ is off the charts are do you find them somewhat arrogant and a pain in the nick.

I like to stand next to them and learn from them as the talk about whatever's on their mind. Even if I think they're absolutely dead wrong, I can usually learn something. My wife likes to take the self-righteous ones and make them nervous.

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For the record - I believe that most of the genus of our society and time is unrecognized, not identified and not utilized - sadly even by the very geniuses themselves. I believe that we have become so anti to the exceptional that we systematically oppose the shinning brilliantly enlightened intelligence - especially in ourselves preferring mediocrity instead.

The Traveler

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One of my kids, you may know them, was in the fourth grade. She was reading a book, the Biography of Sigmund Freud. Now that is a huge book. Interesting but huge. Her teacher told her to stop faking that she could actually even read it. She protested and he told her that he was testing her on the book. He did and then realized she not only read it but understood it. Oh then he was all for her being in a gifted class etc. First he had to insult her though to get to that point.

Another of my kids was in a new school in the sixth grade. Well she did good and was on the 'principles list' etc. Her teachers loved her and she was well liked. By the middle of the 7th grade she made sure she got at least a B. Why? Well no one likes a 'school girl' and she did not like standing out. She didnt mind being thoght of as smart but no more than that. When she was 2 she could count backwards and was learning multiplication and division for fun. That stopped dead in its tracks when she realized that it was not usual.

Another of my kids took up an interesting game. Want to give her standardized tests? Go for it. She answered by how pretty the dots looks on the answer sheet once she discovered teachers bugged her all the time if she was answering correctly.

We do not reward people, socially, for being different. In punishing them we lose so much. I have no answers but it is wrong. One teacher actually told us that his goal was to mainstream all the kids including ours. By mainstream he meant making them all fit in the middle. He explained it all out to us. Wow we were really impressed.

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For the record - I believe that most of the genus of our society and time is unrecognized, not identified and not utilized..."

The Traveler

I agree, I haven't been discovered yet, but I am trying. ;)

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It's like the general dumbing down of America, has such a foot-hold, that any intellegence is sort of lookd at very suspect.

We have all seen the e-mail of the death of common sense . Television is such an assult on even common decency anymore.

It is welcome when someone has intellegence, and I hope I would not be a respecter of persons, if I knew that I had met a genius.

When we converse with the God of all creation, our greatest blessings abound.

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I agree, I haven't been discovered yet, but I am trying. ;)

The single most common denominator of genius is that they have mentors. Someone that believes in them and is willing to show them their own genius. But most of us dislike very much being told what to do especially from someone that believes we could and should be doing it better.

The Traveler

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Has anyone here ever read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson? Really interesting book. Anyway there are several places where he talks about the great scientists and while they were brilliant men quite a few of them were also exceedingly odd.

Take Henry Cavendish for instance, he discovered hydrogen and did a whole bunch of other stuff (like an experiment to weigh the earth) but he was exceedingly shy, to put it lightly. Once an admirer showed up on his doorstep and when Cavendish opened the door the man began to babble out praise. He took the first few compliments as if they were blows from a blunt object and then ran down the path and out the gate leaving the front door wide open. It was several hours before he could be coaxed into returning home. Even his housekeeper was required to communicate with him by letter. He would occasionally go to meetings of a scientific society but it was made clear to all in attendance that they were not to approach him. If they had something they wanted to discuss with him they were to stand somewhere in his vicinity and address their words into thin air, if he found their views worthy of discussion they might get a whispered response, otherwise they would hear nothing and on turning around would find Cavendish fleeing to a more peaceful corner.

Newton also did odd things, once he inserted a long needle into his eye socket and rubbed it around between the bone of the eye socket and the eye, just to see what would happen. He also once stared at the sun for as long as he could, just to see if it would cause any lasting damage to his vision. Anyway this doesn't have much to do with what you guys were talking about but the OP made me think of it. Fascinating book.

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