Another excerpt from "Curse of the High IQ."
For all the drawbacks there are to school, there is one incredible benefit. They congregate a critical mass of young people together in one spot. At first this may not seem like such an incredible benefit. Cliques form, fights ensue, mental trauma is suffered, and childhoods are wasted. But in this gulag-like morass of public education high IQ children enjoy something they will never again upon entering adulthood – enough high IQ peers to form a social life.
If you think about it school is the only time in one’s life where all the children within the region are forced to go to the same place and socialize. And while there is everything wrong with today’s education system it does bring a critical mass of all types of children together. This creates the environment where friendships, some of them life-long, form which is one of the most important things a human can have in his or her life.
Of course, high IQ children are likely to be mocked as geeks and nerds.
And yes, abnormally intelligent children will get beaten on the playground.
And yes, genius children will be mentally tortured by their teachers for 13 years.
But in the end they meet equally-intelligent peers who are so statistically rare, it would be unlikely they’d ever meet and form friendships had there been no such thing as school.
Unfortunately, school is an artificial environment and once college is done, this artificial environment goes away. And what children (who are now adults) assumed was going to be a constant variable in their lives since the age of five and would continue on forever…ends. And slowly, but surely so too does the number one thing in their lives – their friendships.
This presents the fundamental problem high IQ people face in their social life. What they considered to be a “base” or “normal” social life is not sustainable. It is very much like a stock market bubble, pumped up by temporary forces that will inevitably go away. And when these forces go away (school and college) their social life will “crash” down to where it should be or is considered “normal.”
However, the social life that is considered normal for an average person with an average IQ is NOT the same for an above-average person with an IQ of 135. Remember, 68% of the population falls within ONE standard deviation of an IQ score of 100. This means the average Joe can go down to the bar and likely find scores of average Joes equally excited about sportsball and swingystick. But if you are two or (heaven help you) three standard deviations above average less than 1% of the population is at or near your intellect. This sheer rarity of smart people makes having a social life incredibly difficult. It’s not only hard to find equals, but nearly impossible to find them in the quantities needed, LET ALONE NEARBY, to have an effective and rewarding social life. Thus, the crash from the artificial social life supported by a fleeting school environment to the base or normal social life supported by the real world is cripplingly dramatic for abnormally intelligent people.
But what makes it worse is the rate at which it happens.