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The Side Effects of Having a High IQ

The game of knowing my IQ began with the search of a polymath like me.
Far away from me lived a Polymath-at-Large (he is a dear).
[Dear Polymath –at –Large, I will miss your company if we can’t ever meet. Should I come to the United States to meet you? People will call me mad if I go on a wild goose chase travelling half the world to meet someone whose mail I just received once.
“Only a fool would travel half the world just to see someone without any purpose!”
“Only a fool – ”
And here, I was a man of high IQ going to meet a man of high IQ. It would be a paradox, if I went to meet him for nothing. I would rather retrace my steps. For a moment, I hesitated thinking whether I should see him or not. If I had been a man of low IQ, maybe I wouldn’t have thought nonsense. But my brain, in a few seconds would construct an entire movie how I was being embarrassed introducing myself and telling my purpose of visit.
I finally would retrace my steps. If…only if, my IQ wasn’t high….] The paradox in my life!

That is one of the small side effects of having a high IQ … You overthink!

I have read that the world is filled with people of diverse interests. There are people who are gifted, and extraordinary. I have read about supernatural events performed by rare individuals. Well they are born extraordinary. But I am not born extraordinary. I do not have an amazing memory like some of those who memorise numbers up to thousands of digits (especially of pi). I do not perform wonderful calculations or mathematical operations at whim. Neither am I Andrew Wiles to shut myself from the world, and work to solve a problem (Fermat's Last Theorem) that is over a hundred years old.
I am just an ordinary man like you. And if you are reading this then you are ordinary. Aren’t you? Among millions of illiterate people, and many who can’t afford a computer or cell phone – You are here on this page, reading what I have written. Well, how many could do that? If you were diseased you wouldn’t be here. You must be mentally healthy to be here. So, you must have analysed and considered your luck by now.  Do you think yourself to be ordinary now?
The intelligent human beings on earth devised a way to measure the intelligence of fellow human beings and have company of individuals with similar level of intelligence. And they made societies of people having high IQ. These honourable societies are for the intellectuals who do not fit in the common society. And being a part of them is supposed to a sort of honour. The Triple Nine Society, International Society for Philosophical Enquiry (ISPE), Ron Hoeflin's’s The Prometheus Society and The Mega Society (to enumerate a few) are such societies that require a very high IQ to be their member (above 148). Only one in a population of thirty thousand are eligible for membership. And that too, those who acquire the knowledge of their existence. For in a population of 7 billion, around 2 million individuals are eligible. The absolute number of people with high IQ is definitely very alarming. But then, those who can convert their intelligence to productive and creative work are few. And it need not always be people with very high IQ!
Then there is the MENSA IQ test. Those who can score beyond the 98th percentile can join the group of intellectuals. And what benefits do you get on membership. Well, they have written out the benefits in their website. And it was for me to decide if I would give the exam. Would I qualify it? But that was not the question. The important thing was that, would it do me good if I joined a group as such because I passed a test that would mean nothing to me for I hadn’t added anything beneficial to human knowledge? Being friends with a lot of intellectuals wouldn’t make you secure. Intellectuals have a lot more to disagree on, than agree. There is a difference being intelligent and being wise. I look around me. Are the people who are intelligent also wise? No matter what, wisdom comes from intelligence and discipline. Not all intelligent humans are disciplined. I would rather do my work quietly, than brag about my intelligence. The society that are of the intelligent humans; how much have each contributed to increase the overall human knowledge pool? I would rather have a society that accepted individuals based on their work. Their work that made them different from their mortal fellow beings. Work alone can lead to immortality. Nothing else!
Would I be more creative? Now as intelligence increase so does the side effects. People do overthink and over analyse the situation. Hard-work is important to achieve success. No matter what the IQ happens to be, without hard work, the IQ wouldn’t be of much use. Life is very complex and intricate. We don’t know when the two paths that fork out, our destiny would be completely different by our choice of paths. And the choice has nothing to do with IQ. It is completely independent of your IQ. Do I support such groups? I don’t know. I want to be present everywhere and yet nowhere. The more I have read, the more I knew that the less I knew. I have seen thousands of books waiting to be read. But they are not from my field. I never felt so helpless. And being a man of creativity, I have to keep a balance from assimilating others knowledge and contributing my own to the world.
The most successful people are not those who have a very high IQ, but the ones who can stick through all odds and have a focused goal.
It is a bit unusual for me, that I sought to be everything that I could be in life. Well, each of our lives are different. I intended my life to be completely different from my peers. I had too much knowledge, more than I could bear. I faced anxiety and depression. And it was proportional to the use of my mind. How much of my brain did I use? Well, we can think conversely. Isn't our anxiety and depression proportional to how much mind we have used? If we plot a graph of side effects with the percentage of brain use, assuming each of us have equal amount of brain mass, and people with higher IQ use more percent of their brain; we get something like this –

Figure: The Y-Axis shows the percentage brain usage as a result of which the IQ and mental illness also increases. The work efficiency drastically reduces as side effects increases. 

Could I socialize?

We have people like William James Sidis, the smartest man who ever lived on the planet. His parents thrust him with high IQ, making him learn adult stuff at a young age. As a result he lost his childhood. In rebellion, he let his high IQ rot in adulthood, and failed to socialize. 
Ignorance is bliss, is what we have heard. Can we really be happy being ignorant? I think it follows a curve, being ignorant and being happy. To a certain level, ignorance is good for health and happiness. I would recount the incidence of ignorance that had brought peace in a beautiful hill town. People did not know about drugs or their side effects. What happened, was that some young lads and some wicked men did get involved in the drug making and supplying business. Some of the lads of the town became addicts. Now, a group of volunteers who wanted to do justice to the society decided to raise an awareness campaign about the harmful effects of taking drugs. They made banners, posters and shouted slogans and marched all over the town saying how dangerous drugs were. Did that decrease the number of drug addicts in the town? The answer was No. Surprisingly, the number of drug addicts increased at a much faster rate than it had been earlier, thanks to the negative campaigning, which made the young lads all the more curious to try out the drugs. Paradoxical drug addicts!
People like me are not anti-socials but then we don’t also socialize. I do not like going to parties. Most of the time, I spend alone, reading and thinking and analyzing facts. This social media has proved to be a boon for people like me. We can be in contact with people from our imagination. And we don’t need their physical presence to be anxious. I did not know I was intelligent and far from the ordinary. I studied a lot, and I thought it was my interest in studies that helped my cognitive abilities. If my friends, who spent time on sports studied they would have similar cognitive abilities. So, I didn’t know about my above normal intelligence. I would do all the sums without the need of a teacher, and read all the books in the first month of my class, and the rest of the year I would be bored to death, if it were not for story books. I would watch how others made mistake, or couldn’t understand a problem and wondered how such obvious things seemed difficult for them. I had heard God had given everyone same amount of brain, then maybe it was that they weren’t using it. Using the brain requires effort and some are too lazy to use theirs.
 My prepossession turned out to be false when I met my first love. She was a beautiful girl, and it was her beauty that attracted my raging hormones. She was impressed with my immense knowledge. But when I realized that she was also dumb like the rest of the population, it was difficult for her to cope up with me. Our lives are at fault if we know not our goals. We should at least spend some to figure out what we want to do with our lives. She did not know her goals, and it was to say rather vague.
Because of my high IQ, the love of my life left me. She couldn’t cope up with my knowledge and felt I was interfering too much in her life. I realized people are too stupid. Being with them would harm your own mind. I was exasperated with my girl and so was she with me!
“You are just too smart to be around anyone,” she told me before leaving. “Stop being

‘Mr. Know It All’. 

It gets very irritating. Do you always make people around you feel this small?”

I have lived all my life alone because of this

curse of intelligence.

 I look around and see men fooling with their lives. It seems so obvious, and yet they do not know what is wrong with them. Instead they find fault with me, and think me weird. I wondered how some people could just not work and sleep peacefully. I wouldn’t get even a farthing of sleep.
My ego was hurt. How could anyone leave me, just because I knew more than an average human being? The days after that was harrowing. The side effects of intelligence comes with it. I had severe generalized anxiety disorder. I lost my appetite. Weird thoughts crept in my mind. Existence became a menace. I had two choices, either to kill myself and end all sufferings or to be brave enough to face this eternal menace and hope maybe sometime I could get well. A Hope, that was non-existent when you become too intelligent and suffer from depression. Hope escapes out from the mind.
Unable to eat, I managed staying alive on fruit juices. I tried reassuring my mind everything was okay. I was normal as every human being around me. But my mind refused to listen. If losing my appetite was not enough, my body and mind tried to humiliate me further by depriving me off my sleep. Now losing sleep is the worst thing imaginable to the human kind. A fear crept in me, a situation of panic. I paced continuously in my room. Hoping that I would get tired out and fall asleep due to sheer exhaustion. But that too remained a dream in my alert awake state. I shouted, and cried and pulled my hairs. I begged to God for mercy. Or Death would be better. I was more like a madman. I hit my head on the wall, and it bled. But the external pain didn’t go in, to diminish my internal pain. The severe internal conflict, that was it – had left me in a wretched state.
I cursed myself and her. Even when I dozed off for a few minutes (I directly went to REM sleep), I had horrible nightmares. It left me mad and exhausted. In a week, I knew I would be unconscious of my own identity like those mad men in tattered clothes roaming about the streets. I would lose my identity and myself to nothingness. Was this curse that God had given to Adam for eating the fruit of Intelligence?
At least Adam knew God, and had faith in His mercy. Here I was even skeptical about the existence of God. Where do I seek mercy? Though I did beg God for mercy, but then in this modern world of doctors and science, God has ceased to be evidently visible. And that reminded me of going to doctors. A psychiatrist or a mental health doctor would be fine.
I was diagnosed of Severe Depression and Generalized Anxiety Depression. And treatment was started immediately. The effect of therapy was slow, and recovery was an uphill task. I would recover, and be normal on some days, but then again relapse into the gloomy world of horror. And in those times, I only thought of death. An imminent death would be most welcome. But I was obstinate not to take my own life.
I made a promise to myself, if ever I recovered, I would thank God for the little happiness in life. The joy of sitting alone and watching the sun set. The feel of the cool breeze as we sit under the tree on a hot summer noon. The chirruping of birds that we ignore in the busy rush of traffic. The laughter of children in the little presents they get from their parents or relatives. I watched how people laughed at the little things, and I realized that achieving great things need not always lead to happiness. It was happiness and peace that mattered to me. And it could be found in the everyday things that we could do. For the best gifts and the most essential gifts of God to mankind was freely available.
It cost nothing to laugh. It cost nothing to sit on the river bank and watch the river flow and trees sway in the wind in the distance, as the birds frolicked about. What did it cost to get existence? We don’t know, and seeking the answer would be more of seeking the meaning of one’s own life. That wise men did before with a resultant not to seek but enjoy the bliss of life and purity of conscience. When those who have tread on the path of knowledge have but one thing to say: Enjoy the present – as intelligent humans, do we seek our own destruction?
It took me three years to recover, though not wholly. Did I understand the use of my intelligence? What use was overthinking and so much planning? When what had happened was something that I hadn’t thought and planned. The wise would take a forethought of some unexpected occurrence to God, and act accordingly. But an overconfident individual would plan, and plan, and seek out everything, leaving no stone upturned. In a way, inviting the wrath of God!
I felt the joy of living alone. The joy that I found in the little gifts of nature was immense and immeasurable. I wanted to live my life. I wanted to feel the taste and pleasure of an honest kiss. I wanted to just lie down, thinking I didn’t exist and was in communion with the divine being. I was a part of the greater being. I was lost in my little world. 
I sat watching the sun set and the birds go to their homes, in Kali Ghat on the banks of river Ganga. A beautiful woman approached me.
“So, what are you doing here, all alone?” she asked smiling.
“Enjoying the bliss of doing nothing.”
“Why don’t you enjoy with me?” she offered.
“Naah. I am happy doing nothing!” I said in a dreamy lazy voice.
She gave me a scornful look.
“Are you stupid or something?”
I just smiled.

The Side Effects of Having a High IQ Reviewed by Polymath on 5:32 pm Rating: 5

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