Intelligence and loneliness

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

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I've spent much of my life teaching. Sometimes full-time corporate training, other times training sessions sprinkled among my normal assignments, teaching music in my off-hours for money, and teaching English as a second language as an avocation.

    If you find it difficult to communicate with people who are not at your level of intelligence, you should try teaching. Every class had a mixture of the bright and the dull, and I had to be able to get through to all of them. Some of them were smarter than me which added a much-needed dose of humility to my attitude. Others were not, but they sincerely wanted to learn (in many cases they HAD to learn what I was teaching in order to keep their jobs), and I had to find a way to communicate with them or I would not be able to keep MY OWN job.

    As I have often opined, since most of our thoughts are formed in words (unless you're a sculptor, a pianist, etc.), most really intelligent people must be really good communicators. Good communication means the ability to express your thoughts so they are understood. If you're up in the MENSA range of the top 2%, that means that 98% of the people you meet aren't as intelligent as you are.

    Rather than writing them off, why not regard them as a challenge that a genius like yourself can surely find a way to surmount? Sure, you'll probably never get them to understand Special Relativity--do you? But if you're talking about the kinds of things that bear on everybody's life, there's no reason that you shouldn't be able to make most of your points, and make them convincingly.

    Intelligence is only one measure of a person. Many people who are of merely average intelligence, or even lower than that, have some wonderful qualities that can make them true treasures in your own life. Perhaps their cooking, or the way they love without reservation, or their forgiving nature, or the knack for raising the sweetest pets you've ever met, or their ability to bounce back after a crushing defeat, or the things they do that make everybody laugh.

    Why go through life without being able to accept what these people can give you, because you can't find a way to give what you have to them?

    You're the smart one. You're the one who's supposed to be able to figure out how to make difficult things work.

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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    And that is a self-damning outlook.

    And when used in reverse, it's an easy way to dismiss others and assume oneself superior and blame the other person - "If I can't understand you, it means only one thing: you haven't explained yourself clearly."

    In order to understand something, one must have the knowledge and experience to do so.
    There are many things that a person is simply not able to understand if they don't have that knowledge and experience, no matter how much the other person tries to explain themselves.
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Also to consider is the curse of knowledge:
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  7. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

    Wynn, it's been suggested that there's a correlation between intelligence and depression. To be vulgar about it, the happiest people I know are the mentally handicapped as they mop up the floor, etc. You have a burden of seeing things that others cannot.

    Have you considered that your depression is chemical? Perhaps you are lonely because you're depressed, rather than the other way around, and if you tried some meds you would be inspired to become more social...
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    That's very often the case. I go into a class with notes, but not a script. I explain something in a way that I've found from experience works for most people, and then I seek out the perplexed looks and ask them if there was any part of that which they didn't find clear.

    Sometimes their response gives me a clue as to why my original explanation didn't come through. But otherwise I just pick another way of explaining it, and see how that goes over. Usually there's a little glimmer of understanding by now so they can ask a more-or-less specific question. A couple more iterations of this and they've got something to work with. The other people who didn't get it the first time were listening too. Some of them were also satisfied with the second explanation, but even those who weren't are further along and it doesn't take too long to fill their gap.

    Sure, there might be somebody who just doesn't get it. But I have mostly taught classes in management, computer security and the arcana of software development, so by the time an employee has had his job long enough to be sent to one of my classes, he's usually proven himself to have the cognitive skills to pass it if it's taught right. Of course if I'm at the community center giving a lecture on music theory or the evolution of the English language, because they had an opening that night, there will be people there who can't connect. But at least I hope some of my presentation has been entertaining, and I can be sure that their failure to understand isn't going to set them back in their careers.

    When I teach English to speakers of other languages, they are so damn motivated that they always get it. And if they speak a language I'm familiar with, like Spanish or Mandarin, I anticipate their problems and work right through them.

    And that's what classes are for. We present the knowledge, and then we give exercises that provide some experience in its application.

    I don't limit this approach to my formal classes. When someone doesn't understand something I'm talking about, I digress and give a short lecture. I've had enough experience in public speaking to make it a little bit interesting and also to keep it short. Not everyone appreciates this and I'll just knock it off and let them go. But a surprising number of people like it. Humans are curious and if you can present something new to them in a way that they understand it, in addition to explaining why they might find it useful some day, it often brightens their day.
  9. kris Registered Member

    The term intelligence can be ambiguous; I am assuming in this case it refers to facets such as accumulated knowledge and capacity to assimilate new knowledge.

    Intuitively, it seems plausible.

    Any personal characteristic can of course be disparate between two people. I believe knowledge and skill can form a boundary between people when they directly identify themselves or others with it.

    On the other hand, it can provide a more comprehensive world view and enhance our ability to understand and relate to the perspectives of others.

    For example, I am not religious, but have endeavoured to understand how other people relate to religion on a personal level. It has been an illuminating experience and has made me view religious affiliations as far less relevant in my capacity to relate to other human beings.

    When we mis-identify ourselves with what we believe, know, think then we will always isolate ourselves from other people; we will always tend to categorise and stereotype.

    I think it is far more useful to identify with direct human experience and in that regard relate to other people by attempting to understand and appreciate their distinct experience.
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    You're talking to the wrong person here.

  11. Gerhard Kemmerer Banned Banned

    People that are intelligent don't feel that they are, because they are too aware of how much they don't know, and they have an insatiable desire to figure things out. They don't feel distant from simple people, and rather love their company. And they will never call someone stupid or a nut and so forth.
    An intelligent person rarely feels lonely with any people within reach, he or she is always happy to be with people, children as well as animals.

    This does not mean they cannot suffer loneliness, but loneliness certainly does not come from having intelligence.

    The capacity for loneliness is related to intelligence, but loneliness can be cruel for someone who does not know why. so the experience is pretty much the same for all of us.
  12. seagypsy Banned Banned

    I think mems has identified what loneliness actually is better than anyone so far. I have only read the posts from 2012 on this thread though.
    I would add that communication is the means of making a emotional connection to another person. These emotional connections are what make us feel enjoined to others rather than alone.
    Loneliness isn't merely the inability to get along with others or the inability to enjoy common interests with others. It isn't even being unpopular. It is a communication deficiency that causes it. Intelligence can take many forms but few people go out of their way to learn communication intelligence. Communication intelligence examples would be someone who is very aware of the social and language norms of many different cultures and subcultures and can blend in with them at will. A chameleon of sorts. A person who picks up, not only foreign languages at ease, but also the subtle nuances of communication that vary from one group of people to the next. For instance a poor girl who can put on a fancy dress and blend in with the rich elite at an elegant ball because she has studied the etiquette and social norms of the rich elite. She will not use course language, discuss issues the elite never concern themselves with, and will know which fork to eat her salad with. She will talk about rugby and tennis rather than basketball or hockey. She will talk about taking her prize poodle to the salon rather than taking her rottweiler in for a flee dip. She will talk about how hard it is to find a good maid rather than which which laundromat has free dryers. The elite will not know she isn't one of them. Princess Diana surely had this sort of intelligence. She was able to hold her head high in the royal palace and obey all the little rules that apply to a princess but she was also able to come back to her roots and play with commoner children and hold the hand of the sick and relate to their pain.

    Communication intelligence requires that we be able to see from another person's perspective and act accordingly in order to be able to communicate with them.

    Whether or not you choose to communicate with people who are of "lessor intelligence" in other areas such as science, math, politics or sociology is up to you, but whether or not you are able is not necessarily.

    The desire to communicate without the ability will cause loneliness. And that loneliness can lead to depression.

    I think anyone of us is able to ;earn how to communicate with anyone we choose. We choose to learn how to communicate with different types of people all the time. Imagine a guy sees a girl across the cafeteria at his place of work and he wants to talk to her but has no idea how to approach her. He wants to make a good first impression so he asks around about her. What's her name? What hobbies does she have? Does she like comedy? If so what kind? What kind of music does she like? Answers to these questions will help him decide how to approach her in a manner that she would see him as interesting and worth getting to know.
    Even if he ends up pretending to be someone he isn't to get her attention, he has still exercised communications intelligence because he adapted his communication techniques to suite her comfort zone more effectively and has made a connection with her.

    While I don't think overall intelligence has anything to do with loneliness I do think a lack of communications intelligence is the key to what makes one lonely. Even a stupid person will feel lonely if you take away their ability to communicate and connect with others. Say if they lost their hands and their ability to speak.
  13. seagypsy Banned Banned

    It's been my experience that there are those that don't get it and those that won't get it. In a teaching environment, usually the students WANT to learn and will make every effort to do so. Even if your efforts are never successful they won't just blame you. Though you did fail, only a super genius would know exactly how every other person's brain works so that they know exactly how to present an idea in order for it to be digested properly.

    So sure, if the person sincerely wants to understand and the person explaining to them has not successfully communicated the concept to them, then yes it is the teachers fault to a degree. But only to the degree that one can expect the teacher to know how to communicate the concept to this one particular student. So the communications intelligence would be graded by the percentage of students you are able to successfully teach rather than a black and white pass/fail brand. You don't have to reach everyone to be a successful teacher/communicator. You simply have to reach the majority. If the majority of the people know what you are talking about then it is either the lack of desire to understand or a very unique learning style that is to blame for the few who fail to grasp the concepts.

    This is often why when someone misinterprets my words I ask for others advice as to what THEY thought I meant so that I will know if it is a failure on my part or an issue on the side of the person who misinterpreted me.

    For me, pursing communications intelligence is something I strive for. (this is a recent development for me so I am not claiming to be a communication genius)Ultimately I want to know what makes the world go around but unless I am able to communicate, I won't know how to present the questions in my mind in a way that make sense and can be answered.
  14. mems Registered Member

    I am sorry that you completely misunderstood the phrase: "communicate with people of different levels of perception". My career was nearly detroyed, not because ı could not communicate with others on a mediocre level, but because I started to search for satisfaction and a place were I would be happy to just be. This as you may well assue ended in disillusionment. The "communication" thing is not about only conveying your thought accross to people but about realising tht people do not percieve your experiences and your own use of your allocation of data that you have stored throughout your life.

    I severly uphold the belief that knowing things is in no way the same thing as being intelligent; for example a man who has been brought up in a tribe with no contact with civilization may have a higher intelligence then a high honour student in Cambridge or Harvard, the only thing that the tribesman lacks is the chance to have been educated and a platform to proove his intelligence. This person will obviously use his intelligence in relative ways to his own life.

    Having "communication skills" is a totally different thing. You might like to know that my communication skills are quite apt and I suffer no adverse situations regarding people or communication in the workplace. I assume you are American as you are very focused on said workplace.
  15. mems Registered Member

    I actually agree with you. But I must clarify, and I will keep it extemely short... I am very "able to communicate" in general and I have no issue with communicating with people. I am a very social person. However, it is hard to find people that you "click" with. Communicating and making connections are very different as you also state yourself. I think some people misunderstood this when reading my post...Loneliness is a very broad subject in itself and it has a lot to do with one's life experiences as well as his/her intelligence.

    Let me make a very obvious example: Two people (who have been lucky to find eachother a friends I might add) are looking at a painting of, let's say a litter of puppies...It does not matter if they are knowledgeable about art or not but they share the same level of appreciation for it and in turn, respect the work itself.
    Another person come along and says "Oh look at the lovely doggies!" (now I know it sound silly and it is not right to judge, and this tird person may be a fantastic person but...)
    What do you think goes through the minds of the two friends...
  16. seagypsy Banned Banned

    The fact that they made a simple statement about the art doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't art lovers or that they don't appreciate it on the same level as you. It may just be that they are not very eloquent in how they communicate their appreciation. They may have wanted to appreciate it in solitude so pretended to be less impressed or impressed on a level that would not inspire others to ask them to go deeper. I love art. I usually have a very deep interpretation of what I see. But I don't usually want to share that interpretation with others because it is personal to me. So I will often be heard in a museum pointing saying in a goofy voice "Pretty!", because to keep people away, I sometimes behave in a manner to keep them at bay. In my case it is an intentional miscommunication of my thoughts on the art piece but for others it may be that they simply do not have the communication skills to express what they really think of the art. So to dismiss them may be cheating yourself or them. Or in my case, you would just be giving the reaction I hoped for.

    It still comes down to communication. Sometimes we excel to the point that we forget how to do simple things. Less intelligent people still experience all the same feelings and emotions in response to stimuli that we do. So you may not be able to relate to them on deeper subjects such as art, but are you limited to only thinking and feeling about deep subjects or have you forgotten the simple things?
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    My point is, one that I keep making, but you keep ignoring, is that in order to understand some things, a considerable previous knowledge and experience are needed, knowledge and experience that cannot be provided within an ordinary conversation; some of that knowledge and experience may require years of training, or be very expensive or otherwise difficult to acquire.

    At the forums, you've previously blamed people for not expressing themselves clearly enough. But you completely ignored the possibility that you are the one lacking the previous knowledge and experience that is necessary to understand what they are talking about, and that no matter how much people may explain things, you won't understand them as long as you don't have that previous knowledge and experience.
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That is a fact of life: people are different, and it is hard to find someone who would "really get you" or whom you "click with."

    Learning the facts of life can be quite depressing sometimes.

    It is sometimes said that one first needs to learn how to be alone, before one can meaningfully associate with others.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yes, I understand that. But in the normal course of life it's rather unusual for Person A to be expounding on something so arcane that Person B has absolutely zero context from which to interpret it. You'd have to be talking about your profession, or one of your hobbies, or your schoolwork; or be from an extremely different milieu such as China or Afghanistan; or from an extremely different personal background such as a literalist or non-Abrahamist religion. People who differ in such fundamental ways usually notice it long before they get mired in a discussion of women's rights, computer security, atonal music or trickle-down economics. Like, it hits them in the face within five minutes!

    That's possible, but it's difficult to argue without an example. Next time it happens, let's talk about it then rather than months later.
  20. mems Registered Member

    I wonder will you keep ending me patronizing replies if I send you another post...
  21. mems Registered Member

    As I mentioned earlier, the example is an obvious one and required no extra analysis. However, it seem you felt the need to delve into and broaden that "simple state" as you so eloquently put it. I was not implying any other situation that would arise in that particular example. It had no other meaning of possibility due to the fact that I was trying to make a "simple" point. So how you "sometimes" behave according to your mood it in no way relative to me. I will attempt one lat example: Sometimes I eat my hotdogs with ketchup but mostly I prefer them with mustard. If you see me eating a hotdog w/ketchup you cannot and should not assume that I only eat it that way...
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    For example, forums like these are where this often takes place.

    When it happens, you have shown to be closed off to considering it.
  23. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

    "He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God." -- Aeschylus

    My advice Wynn: drink more

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