4:50 AM

The Intelligence Curse

I will never understand why people think “intelligence” to be a quality: In my opinion it’s a curse. yes, this is experience talking.

When you are intelligent, you are blessed with an amount of intellect which is going to facilitate surviving everyday life. If you study you will get good grades. You will get a good job. You will buy a fuel-efficient car. You will invest in property and maybe win a little more than an average person in Poker. You will have your moments of brilliance, and people will laugh at your jokes. Your parents will boast about the grades you got, the competition you won, the books you read, the awards you got. You will have friends and you’ll make merry on Christmas. If luck has it, ceteris paribus, life will be good.

However you will always be very acutely aware of you being intelligent but not brilliant ; How far away you are from ever doing anything genius. In the gallery of life, you will be the curator. You will have an eye for a great piece yet you’ll never be a great painter or a sculptor. If you are lucky you will have some random one night stands with some up-&-coming artists but every night before you go to bed you are destined to mull over your lack of such absolute talent which you get to see every day, sometimes in the shape of a song you heard on the radio, sometimes in the ingenuity of the great advertisement hoarded on your side-walk, sometimes in the painting you saw at a roadside by an ordinary looking bloke. It will just never be you; a genius.

Intelligence to me is God playing an evil joke on you. It’s like you’re caged in heaven, you can smell it, you can see it, but all from a distance. You shall never be let into these gardens. It’s this dark secret that you’re forced to live with, day-in, day-out . Others around you, in their innocence, pass their compliments and you can never really take it with a just a nod of the head and a “thank you”; There is always that loud internal “little do you know.”

The worst drawback however remains the ability to coin justifications for our shamelessly askew actions. “I love you but I really need to concentrate on my career right now!”, “There’s nothing wrong with smoking up; it’s not addictive”, “ I’ll go on a vacation next year; Right now, I really need to save up for a car”… Every day, we let go of so many “little” things for the sake of the “big” ones. Every day we break hearts, we disappoint, we dream less. We read the best-sellers; we are fans of “The Secret” and Deepak Chopra. We analyze and think and ponder and over-analyze. We are probably more depressed and confused than the dumb-bimbo-brigade , but self-preservation has us thinking we are better off. We are the ones who become agnostics; we are the ones who become the fundamentalists. We run in circles, trying to do what is right, and most often than not, miserably fail at it. We try alternate life styles, we experiment. We are experts on theology and philosophy and yet nothing cures the forlornness that incubates in our heart, haunting our days and nights.

I guess, all this leads to one question: exactly how does one go about being intelligent?

Easy; You need to be a genius.


Anonymous said...

nice post.

Hopeless Romantic said...

nice one....keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Gugan said...

hey...i agree with everything u said about being intelligent...but i guess being intelligent is easier than being genius..being intelligent is like you are jack of all trade and u don't need to get to the bottom of anything...but to be a genius one should have it deep inside...right??

Annie said...

@ Hopeless romantic and Gigi
Thanks for the comments :)

Thanks a lot for your comments.

I will have to disagree with you a little here. I think being Intelligent means being aware of problems but not being able to solve them as aptly as someone whose a genius might be, but then there are exceptions and contradictions.. This stance is based on a cetras paribus kinda situation.

Anonymous said...

first time reading someone who says intelligence is a curse.....
by the way a nice post.

~*~ Jal Pari ~*~ said...

very interesting! :)

Irfan Khan said...

I'd rather be neither. Almost all of the geniuses I know or have read about are nutcases so to speak. They loathe humanity, are disjointed, bitter and cynic.

Intelligence is a curse, yes, but not the way you put it. More in a "Ignorance is bliss" sort of a way. As Ernest Hemmingway once said, "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know". Its hard to know there are questions you still don't know the answers to and be happy.

Also, it is an equal sum game. Geniuses give up their happiness and social values, in some cases even their human senses(Beethoven) to achieve greatness(as we perceive it). 99.99% of the remaining human population gives up their genius to remain utterly stupid and blissfully happy. Either way, its not a choice, geniuses are born, not created.

IMHO, What you seek is not genius, but total and utter idiocy and ignorance. Thats the only way to blissful happiness.

A bit on the writing:

Intelligence and genius(at least the way you describe it in you article) are two very different terms. Its like comparing apples to oranges. Intelligence is usually described as someone's ability to gather data and process it. Amount of data and time taken to process it are the primary measures. Being witty, having a high IQ, doing good on your math test mostly qualify as being intelligent.

Slash is a genius at guitarist, but is he intelligent? Mutually exclusive terms here. By your definition genius is a higher term of intelligence which is not true. Genius is a trait on its own.

The last paragraph has no relation whatsoever to being intelligent. It seems like you are trying to imply that people who are not intelligent dont do all the things you have listed, or do not think they are intelligent in self preservation. They DO think that way, thats why they are stupid. Being intelligent will be to understand the underlying pros/cons and rationally coming up to a solution that is the most efficient. You nullify your point by making assumptions otherwise.

Q. I guess, all this leads to one question: exactly how does one go about being intelligent?

A. By being rational.

My 2 cents.

P.S "DISCLAIMER: I did not mean to diss anyone. I was merely criticizing the authors write-up."

Rose said...

Enjoyed this post and the very interesting comment above! Wandered onto your blog from Compulsive confessor and must say the cyber-jaunt was fun! Keep up the writing.. and the thought provoking!

Annie said...

@ Irfan
I do not agree with you, when you say that comparing intelligence and genius is like comparing apples and oranges. Intelligence, along with other factors like talent, creativity, intellect, ability all contribute towards making a genius, so they are not unrelated.

Also when I used the term genius, I was using it for a person. It can also be used to refer to a body of work, or a singular achievement. I apologize for not mentioning it specifically. At the time of writing this post, I assumed people would be able to understand that anyway.

Furthermore, most of the argument was based on a ceteris paribus situation. Therefore your saying that I was implying that people only do such things if they are intelligent is wrong. I did not imply any such thing. You not agreeing with the examples is understandable, however my point was that intelligence can go wrong, when people tend to “rationalize” their wrongs. This is something I have seen happening a lot around me. You obviously, are allowed to disagree. Secondly stupidity and intelligence, unfortunately, more often than not, are not mutually exclusive qualities. People can be generally intelligent but make stupid mistakes. My point was exactly that. I just didn’t use the term ‘stupid’.

I hope I cleared all the confusions.

@ Rose
Thanks a lot :)

the sheikh said...

"We are probably more depressed and confused than the dumb-bimbo-brigade..."

love it - so true

great post!

Ali K. said...

/Intelligence to me is God playing an evil joke on you/

lol. Well written.

zf said...

Well, imagine how cruel being mediocre would be....

You're right, its hard to be a genius, but when you're intelligent already, your path to being a genius is shorter and easier as compared to the one who is mediocre. That should serve as motivation! There's always room to improve.

Salman Latif said...

I believe it's that yearning to grab at every souveniour we come across - to be good at everything.
However, the obvious rule for being intelligent is that we are the jack of all trades - and hence the master of none, and therefore, never geniuses.

Salman Latif said...

Oh and being intelligent necessarily brings that curse of conscience which is not there otherwise - you get to think of everything around you and yet you don't have that genius in you to resolve most of it - and that breeds both pain and bitterness.

Annie said...

yeah, spot on ... all these things add up and complicate the shit out of our lives..

desi skeptic said...

Your analysis had me smiling through most of it. Insightful.