Intelligence and loneliness

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by S.A.M., Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    A milieu where most people are well educated and quickly gain experience socializing with people from vastly different backgrounds? What I notice more often, as a moderator, is simply deliberate immature behavior.

    If you're referring to our own arguments, I specifically recall the last time we had an argument. Rather than attempting to answer my questions you just ran off complaining that I was one of the most horrible people you've ever met and wondering whether you ever wanted to post on this website again. Which one of us was "closed off?"

    No one ever said that bridging differences is fast, easy and painless. Everything requires work and work is not always fun.

    I remember our most recent exchange, which was not an argument because you never replied to my last post. I cited authoritative definitions of terms you were throwing around (such as "strong atheist" and "weak atheist"), contrasting them with your own non-standard usage. Language only exists by consensus. Using words in ways other than conventional is one of the fastest ways to be misunderstood. Perhaps you have another authority that disagrees with mine, but you did not present it. Therefore your oft-repeated assertion that you're not a strong atheist didn't seem to explain the attitude you ascribed to it. This is not a cultural misunderstanding but a linguistic one, and linguistic misunderstandings can be resolved without arranging to meet each other's families and participating in each other's cultural rituals.
     
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  3. river Valued Senior Member

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    The ones who are above average in intelligence that fall through the cracks of society are the ones who are lonely
     
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  5. Neverfly Banned Banned

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    This statement is true, but it reads as though you're stating it as a generalization. An unintelligent person may easily do the same.
     
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  7. river Valued Senior Member

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    How so? How could an unintelligent person go through the same loneliness as an intelligent person would?
     
  8. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    Are you one of them?
     
  9. Neverfly Banned Banned

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    I'm at a loss as to why you even ask that. Are you suggesting a less intelligent person doesn't get lonely? Of course they do. Is it the same loneliness? Accepting differences between individuals, I would say, yes. Loneliness is loneliness. They may feel depressed, isolated, rejected, etc.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The best description of that behavior I've ever heard was: "You think you've beaten the system. But all you're doing is hiding out at the very bottom of it."

    I'm not quite sure how loneliness is categorized. I'm willing to accept the premise that there are many different kinds of loneliness. So an unintelligent person may indeed not go through "the same loneliness" as an intelligent person. But it's still loneliness and it still hurts.

    An intelligent person may feel that he can't find any peers to socialize with because they're all dumber than him. An unintelligent person may feel that he can't find any peers to socialize with because they're all smarter than him.

    I confess that I generally find it hard to be friends with unintelligent people. We tend to have different interests so it's hard to find something to talk about. Yet some of them are so generous, so compassionate, so forgiving, that I find them to be role models and I try to emulate their attitudes. And we all love music and dogs. It's usually the smart-asses who find some excuse to not like dogs.
     
  11. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

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    Does having a dog mitigate loneliness (make it a little more bearable)? What are the odds that an intelligent person can find other intelligent people to interact with on a science forum? Has anybody done a study about the average intelligence of science forum members? I'm thinking they are higher than average over the general population. Anyway I find myself getting lonelier when my Internet connection goes down and it's a very real feeling.

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  12. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    I know at least one person who probably would be dead today if she didn't have one of these fwuffy wittle bunny wabbits to cuddle at night.

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  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    You have to be able to relate to the dog as a companion. Verbal communication is a major component of companionship for most people, if not all--I think our species is just wired that way since speech is the key to all of our accomplishments for the last 50K years or so. (Anthropologists look at the things humans have done since then and say it couldn't possibly have happened without language.)

    Dogs are extremely sensitive to our feelings through our pheromones and our body language, and most short-muzzled breeds have photoreceptors concentrated in the center of their retinas so they can read our facial expressions. They communicate back with body language, touch, licking and occasionally sound. But they can't understand more than a few words of our language (the world record is something like 200), and they can't talk back. Still, their unwavering loyalty provides a dependable constant in our life that can make bad times more bearable. And even though they can't talk to us, we can talk to them and they listen with great interest. I've often joked that the reason we have dogs is so we can talk to ourselves without looking weird.

    Having a dog is also a bit like having a child: having someone to care for gives you a purpose and takes your mind off of your troubles. I don't mean to short-change people who bond with other species, notably cats, parrots and various primates, all of whom communicate in their own way with a significant bandwidth. But dogs were the first domesticated non-human animal so we've had longer to adapt to each other, and we have even interfered with their evolution to make the bond stronger. For example, their alpha instinct is much weaker than that of the wolf, so we don't have to argue over who's in charge. They're also much more gregarious than wolves and are happy to live in a gigantic multi-species pack that would drive a wolf bonkers.

    There are different dimensions to intelligence. Join a poetry forum and you'll find people who can blow your ass away when it comes to ferreting out the hidden meaning in poems. Join an online chess or go group and you'll be humbled by how much smarter those people are in formulating those kinds of strategies. Music, history, literature, art... people are intelligent in different ways.

    As I've often noted, our species's uniquely massive forebrain gives us the ability to override instinctive behavior with reasoned and learned behavior. (Some of our companion animals have a limited ability to do this, but not like ours.) Speech was the first communication technology and as I noted it was probably invented at least 50KYA. Writing was the second, invented in the Bronze Age around 5KYA. Then electronic communication was invented in 1834, with the first commercial telegraph. These new kinds of communication created a kind of "companionship" that is divorced from physical proximity.

    Look at us right here. We regard each other as companions even though we've never seen each other's faces or heard our voices. Many of us don't even identify our gender and we often guess at age and nationality (male, 69, USA). And it works. You've provided the perfect example of this transcendence of virtual companionship over physical: You miss us when your electronic link is down, even though you've never seen or heard us.

    It's become a cliche that when families sit around the dinner table (if they even do that anymore), each person is absorbed in a texting exchange with someone outside the group and they hardly talk to each other.

    As I've said before, I applaud this extension of our sense of companionship. I believe it represents our future and promises the ultimate merging of our disparate nations into one more-or-less peaceful global civilization. Our shit-for-brains government has been telling us for 30 years that Americans and Iranians hate each other. Yet when Neda Aga Soltan was gunned down in the streets of Tehran and her friends sent real-time cellphone videos of the event out over the ether, Americans wept for her and wrote songs about her.

    I like this future. Billions of companions!
     
  14. seagypsy Banned Banned

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    But it's dumbasses that can't find any fault with dogs. Just sayin....

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    so is this why I'm always called a smart ass? oh well, at least I'm only rarely called a dumb ass.
     
  15. seagypsy Banned Banned

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    I find it interesting that an "intelligent" person can't stand being around "unintelligent" people but they like the company of a dog. I wonder if they even define intelligence by something legitimate or if they really mean that they can't find people who agree with them constantly. Considering we, as humans, tend to label anyone who disagrees with us as "unintelligent". So a compliant, agreeable fur ball seems more pleasing than the supposed "unintelligent"(iow-disagreeable) person. Notice the "intelligent" dog lover is ignoring the lack of intelligence in the dog. I have yet to meet a dog that can discuss current events with me.

    IMO, I think loneliness is caused more by the unsatisfied desire to have our opinions and perspectives validated by others. And absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. But I'm not a psychologist. I also don't care if anyone agrees with me or not. I also haven't felt lonely since I came to understand that my opinions need no validation from others. And that the validation of someones opposing opinion does not necessarily negate the validity of my own opinion. It's quite liberating and satisfying being able to not give two shits what other people think.
     
  16. elte Valued Senior Member

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    I have just one physical companion, my mom. My thinking clashes too much with almost everyone else's ideas.
     
  17. seagypsy Banned Banned

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    That's a good example of what I am talking about. Your clash of ideas with others is not an indicator that you are more or less intelligent than they are, you simply have a different pov. One that is apparently rejected by many, and that clash of viewpoints is what is leading to the isolation from other people. I don't want to say loneliness because you didn't.
     
  18. elte Valued Senior Member

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    I was thinking how much you had touched upon my situation and i felt I could relate to what KilljoyKlown was saying in the quote in your post. It's okay to call it loneliness. I used to work on electronic projects but that got me in trouble with the local government. I'm like Tesla, in a way, but not as smart.
     
  19. seagypsy Banned Banned

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    You have to train yourself to value yourself and your views regardless of whether or not they are popular. I'm not suggesting that you ignore rational thought or arguments against a position you hold just for the sake of maintaining your position. I am only saying that you need to learn to validate yourself, your ideas that are right as well as accepting that it is ok to realize you are wrong about something and change your view. Some people become absolutely devastated at the mere idea of being wrong. They think that in their moment of error that they are no longer a valid human being worthy of existing and it is such a horrible feeling that we fight the acceptance of error, sometimes to the death (mentally speaking). People often become psychotic in their defense of being right that being perceived as right by others is more important than actually being right.

    Discovering you are wrong about something does not negate your worth as a human being. Actually being able to see your own errors and make an attempt to correct them is a strength that few of us mere humans have.

    For me, I haven't felt lonely since I have learned to accept and acknowledge when I am in error in matters of scientific fact, and to accept that in matters of subjective opinion, having others disagree with me doesn't make me or them wrong. I no longer crave validation from outside of my being and now only need validation from within. And I welcome a challenge to my pov, especially one that is rational enough to make me consider a different perspective. Even if I don't change my position, there is a feeling of enlightenment that comes with being able to appreciate a different view point.

    I think I need sleep, I seem to be talking too much shit now lol.
     
  20. elte Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed, I and the government are both wrong, or maybe it's better to say no one is right, though I am wrong mostly because I don't have the mass of culture as backing. It's a big loss to my occupation, though, and I now consider myself retired.
     
  21. seagypsy Banned Banned

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    Well, you are human. It's ok, normal, human, to make mistakes. So you are still valid and worthy of living.
     
  22. elte Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks, and rest well.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    My usual problem with unintelligent people is that we can't find anything to talk about. It's a shame that I don't like sports because that's a universal ice-breaker. Of course music is too and I have no trouble socializing with people at concerts and other music events. Flower shows, crafts fairs, dog shows, movies, there are lots of venues that automatically bring people together with a common interest, so it's easy to talk to people I meet there.

    Dogs provide a different kind of companionship, purely emotional. I've been comfortable in other countries where the people provide stronger emotional companionship and I found it very pleasant. Back home in the Southwest there's a strong vector of Latin culture and I experienced a bit of that feeling there. But in most of the USA an Anglo-Saxon/Nordic culture dominates and strong emotional companionship outside the narrow confines of the immediately family is rare--and frankly often even within those confines.

    Perhaps the reason dogs are so popular in the USA and the UK is that we've designated them as our emotional companions so we can be more cold and businesslike with each other.

    That's certainly common enough, but it's bogus. The truly intelligent person can communicate with people he doesn't agree with. There's nothing so stimulating to the intelligent person as a really good argument!

    Of course this requires good communication skills. Many people have a high score on their raw IQ, but they never learned to communicate well. And of course this often comes from simply not being very social, and therefore not getting a lot of practice at communicating. A vicious cycle.

    You're certainly not describing me here. I have no problem with people who disagree with me. I can spend hours explaining why they're wrong.

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    Several of my closest and most loyal friends disagree with me on major issues such as politics and religion. I suppose the real deal-breaker for me is someone who doesn't like dogs. Now that always seems to be a manifestation of a really large fundamental difference in personality... not intelligence

    Hey, not everybody is like that. Since my college days and even the last year or two of high school, I was taught by immersion that animated disagreements are a fun way to socialize. When you're done you go off and have a beer together, or perhaps pair off with the gals. (Well we didn't always do "pairs" in the 60s but that's a topic for another thread.)

    Is life perhaps really different now? In the 1960s nobody agreed on anything, except the basic broad issues of peace and civil rights. And even those broad issues deconstructed into details over which we disagreed vociferously.

    Except to the extent that they give you a perspective on your own ideas so you can constantly reality-test them and adjust them to changing conditions.

    I'm about to give up on thirty years of Libertarian politics (which right there shows you that I had already given up on the uncompromising leftist politics of my youth) because our entire civilization is on the verge of becoming a planet-wide "tragedy of the commons." The Libertarians don't seem to have a workable solution to it, whereas the Greens do, or are at least working on it. I can thank my "disagreeable" friends for that, who are clearly not unintelligent.
     

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