Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why Your Social Life is Unsustainable Post College

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.


leeholsen said...

I can relate to this. although I know I'm not in the high IQ range, my knowledge has increased exponentially so much that watching and talking movies and sports is boring now when what holds my interest today is generally astrophysics news which makes most peoples eyes spin.
So, I know well the depression they have. The old saying ignorance is bliss is true. If I didn't pursue that knowledge and maintained and average life I would probably be much happier.

A.B. Prosper said...

That is why I still play D&D and other roleplaying games

Pretending to be a space captain or a wizard is a very silly pastime for a grown man but at least I can find people who share some of my more esoteric interests.

As as High IQ guy, if it weren't for that hobby I's be a lot more lonely

Anonymous said...

Finding others that you can relate to is one of the side benefits of going to medical school, marrying a woman physician and hanging out with physician friends. Now if I could only get my physician wife to work more than 35% time.

Anonymous said...

There is more....As you get older, you accumulate more life experiences and form more opinions. These become obstacles when you try to find not only intellectual equals, but also friends and dating partners. The number of deal breakers to a relationship seems to increase in proportion to the number of years out of college.

Samson said...

The book sounds intriguing; certainly this excerpt is on-the-money. I've noticed that a lot of high-IQ folks that I know, if they want to settle in a smaller town instead of a big city, they tend to choose one that at least has a university.

MC said...

Honestly, I found more dumb people in college than anywhere else.

They might have been academically intelligent, but they were by and large utterly lacking in common sense.

I have kept 3 friends (out of a total of 7 friends) from my college days. I kept none from high school once I left college. Out of those 3, two struggled academically, but displayed a high degree of common sense.

I've met more intelligent people since leaving college than at any other time in my life. Most of them do not have a large vocabulary or read widely, but I will sacrifice my sesquipedalian vocabulary and the ability to discuss literature for the sake of conversing in words of three syllables or less (or "kicking the English out of it") with people who THINK.

MC said...

AB Prosper, funny you should mention that.

Hubby and I met ALL the college friends we found worth keeping through D&D and other dice-based games.

He met all the friends he had when we lived out West the same way (I had too many little kids at home to participate).

Now we live near Pittsburgh, and it is very difficult to find intelligent adults who play. The smart folks around here seem to view it as a foolish pastime for high-school students. Apparently, Yinzers who consider themselves intellectuals attend lectures and the theater, and do not indulge in RPGs.

Still trying to figure that one out.

grey enlightenment said...

lol @ the sportsball and swingystick part

Ravel said...

This is pure genius!

Ravel P.

Anonymous said...

High IQ individuals meet on the internet. They don't need to be forced together at school.