What’s it like to be smart?

What’s it like to be smart?  Some quick thoughts, with a twist that surprised even me.

Interesting trend making the rounds, I caught it from +Jake Weisz’s post but the original is on Quora (huh, never thought I’d acknowledge its existence) with a discussion on Slate as well.Edit

I learned two things.  Smart folks have a lot of trouble interacting with people, probably because they are royal jerks.  They talk down to above-average IQ, even in explaining how it’s a mistake.  They (of course) brag about how smart they are at the same time saying how it’s such a burden.

The only smart thing I’ve done is learn to be humble.  There is something to learn from every person.  Even if not, then there’s a chance to teach.

Don’t get me wrong, I have very little clue how to interact socially… I’m doggedly loyal to a too-small group of family and friends, and can’t understand when an email or voice mail goes unanswered.  I have to practice conversations in my head against a set of expectations (that are often wrong) to see if it is socially acceptable to say, and whether it will get me the results I want.  I write on a blog, for myself, as if that isn’t a cry for help.

What else is being smart like?  Here’s my short bullet list:

  • When I’m doing something I’m good at, I feel smart, and I feel useful.  When I’m not, I feel lightly despondent.
  • I set up elaborate reveries of people in my life in different, often tragic situations.  What would they do without me?  What would I do without them?
  • Along similar lines, I like to play video games to experience the alternate universe the creators set up.
  • I like to understand the universes of horror movies and games, but I despise watching them, because they haunt me both during the day and night for about two weeks after.

There you go.  Mind of Pat.  As if you were reading!

Oh, the second thing I learned from reading these links? I had coined the phrase “intellectual bullying” for myself a couple of years ago based on some interactions with technical folk I’d seen.  My assumption was that it was just because a person grew up being a bully.  I had no idea this elitism was so rampant in the “smart.”  Almost innate, I guess.  That makes me sad.

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3 Responses to What’s it like to be smart?

  1. Dan Lewis says:

    +1 Pat, you’re doing it right.

  2. EricF says:

    The human ego is an amazing thing. Too much, and we become careless and cocky. Too little, and we’re overcautious and uncertain. Somewhere between “well balanced” and “too much” is where I’d suggest is healthiest to reside.

    While I’m not sure it’s due to any special level-of-intelligence I may or very well may not have, I have practice conversations too. At one time the written word was my toy, and thus my scrimmages usually revolve around phrasing, grammar or punctuation (and too-oft fail) with the occasional subject matter concerns. Sometimes I do too much thinking and then end up writing or saying nothing at all, stuck in some endless programming loop.

    As Dan Lewis said, you’re doing it right. Keep up the good work.

  3. Pingback: The Clumsy Pattern: Doing “Girl Power” wrong. | MuddyHorse Farm and Tech

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