You know that person in your office, next door, or at the coffeehouse.
That extremely intelligent person who is so smart …
…they are unable to break out of their “intelligence” hell.
Intellectually brilliant and socially inept. Unable to figure out.
Ted Kaczynski, Keith Olbermann, Bob Knight, and I come to mind. Gifted, intelligent, and socially awkward. We can recall information, small and big, and yet be brooding, feeling aggrieved, and wondering why people don’t understand us. Book smart, can think of things on the fly, and feel lost in the world and revert to the personal castle we’ve built around ourselves. Intelligent people tend to pound the table, getting others to accept their view of the world, and we attack those whose views are vastly different than ours, rather than be open to listen and consider ideas that are different.
In extreme cases, we “snap”. Kaczynski started sending bombs and writing manifestos. Knight verbally abused and physically threatened people. Olbermann made life for his co-workers and bosses unbearable. Smart people do stupid, foolish, and dangerous things when their world starts to change and they are unable to stop it.
The life of being an intelligent person isn’t cool. You have goals and standards that are unachieveable to reach. You feel like a misfit. You are so wrapped up in your thoughts, you develop a fear that your self-constructed beliefs, theories, and everything you built (in your own mind) could crumble and burn.
I’m a recovering “intelligent person”. I think I’ve done a decent job of not always going into my shell, or dishing out manifestos like a candy-store barista. I realized that I don’t need to know “everything” in this world. But, I still need help as a recovering “addict”, so to speak. In this new world of the “creative class”, finding what I’m creative in is like a hamster running in its cage…there has to be a starting point.
I’m still a misfit, but a misfit who yearns to learn, understand, and see things evolve. I’m itching to bust out, but I don’t know where to start.