It Is Indeed Possible to Be Excessively Smart

Rowlii writes: How can you be broke if there is a correlation between IQ and income? Do you count on lower IQ (like me) to finance your blog?

Come to France! The welfare state will take care of you.

More seriously, I love your blog.

Lower IQ people are definitely my lifeline. Consider that my IQ higher than that of 1 out of 1,340 people. I recently lived in a town of 15,000 people. Out of those 15,000, only ~10 had IQ’s as high or higher than mine. So 14,990 people in that town had IQ’s lower than mine. After that, I stayed for a bit in a town of 7,000. There were ~5 people in that whole town who had IQ’s high or higher than mine. I now live in a town of 50,000. The town is majority Hispanic, so that skews the averages. But if it was a White city, there would be 37 people with IQ’s as high or higher than mine in this town. But since  this town is so Hispanic, the number is lower than that, but I don’t know how to do the math.

Literally, we very high IQ types need lower IQ people to even survive at all. We can’t blow these people off. Anyway in daily interactions, it is not always obvious that a given White person has a lower IQ than I do. In terms of whatever I am doing at the moment, their intelligence level seems to be about the same as mine. I do not commonly run into people who seem obviously less intelligent than me when going about my day to day business.

In fact, I am rather stunned at how fast and bright your average person is. My brain works very fast, and that is probably clear to most people dealing with me. What I find fascinating is that so many people who clearly have IQ’s lower than mine really ramp up their brain speeds when they are dealing with me. I think they see my brain working very fast, and they just ramp up the speed of their own brains to match mine in a sense. Most people with undoubtedly lower IQ’s than mine seem to be able to ramp up their brains to a very high speed when dealing with me.

I do not believe that intelligence at my level is of much use when going about the day to day chores and business of your average person. You probably only need maybe an IQ of 100 or even less to function adequately enough to where people do not think you are dumb in ordinary day to day society. Quotidian society does not have much use for people at my IQ level, so my brains are sort of wasted in everyday society. And I will definitely say that people who clearly have IQ’s below mine are for all intents and purposes just as smart as I am when it comes to the brains you need to function well in modern society. People like me are actually too smart. We are much smarter than we need to be.


Filed under Intelligence, Psychology, Sociology

4 responses to “It Is Indeed Possible to Be Excessively Smart

  1. Stray Wylk

    My own experience is that I did very well in school any time I was interested and merely well when I wasn’t . This, with little effort most of the time and with parents who couldn’t keep the same dwelling for more than about six months. I had a college counselor who was very impressed by my SATs and my IQ has tested from 135 to 145 in various self-adminstered tests.

    Yet, I never made more than $32k. I could have made more, say by doing overtime or by taking more schooling. Making more money would have involved doing more things I disliked, so it evens out. It also evens out when fifteen minutes’ judicious shopping gives me what another would have spent the pay from hours of overtime on.

  2. Jason Y

    They had this comic strip from a long time ago showing a professor staring at his cereal and another person commented, “That’s not cold fusion. It’s corn flakes.”

  3. Intelligence can be rigorously defined as a measure of the difficulty of questions one can answer with 50% reliability. (guessing-adjusted) Questions also have varying discriminative ability, plotting probability of success on a question vs. persons’ abilities, they have logistic curves of varying softness rather than crisp step functions. This definition of intelligence allows creating absolute measures of intelligence that are on equal-interval scales with a true zero. (Rasch/IRT) On such measures the middle 95% of the adult population varies by only a bit over 7% in absolute intelligence. One standard deviation, or 15 adult IQ points is about 1.7% absolute difference in intelligence. (See here for conversions between different age/IQ combinations.)

    On hard problems highly intelligent people are exponentially more likely to be right than less intelligent people, especially when the problem’s difficulty is greater than the ability of either person. On easy matters, intelligence gives little advantage other than speed.But failing to use the intelligence of those most likely to solve the hardest problems leads to those problems being unsolved while at the same time the failed solutions have bad effects of their own. This has huge costs to society.

    There should be a way to profit from mispriced brainpower, perhaps hiring them as consultants, non-customer-facing if they’re not good at that. The problem is the people who most need intelligence are the least likely to know it. A way to make the clients feel smart for hiring smart people is key, most of the problem is bosses feeling threatened and overshadowed by brilliance, so to speak.

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