Answered on Quora. Quora is neat because there is an IQ section and there are frequent questions about IQ, often directed at high or very high IQ people. A lot are on the lines of How do very high IQ people think/react/live/feel etc. about this or that? What is it like to have a very high IQ? Well, those are valid questions and they need answering, so lots of high and very high IQ people on there jump in and answer those questions. It’s completely socially acceptable to do that on there.
That’s neat because the whole rest of society is pretty much blocked out to discussions like that. You simply cannot talk about how smart you. You can talk about being superior in any other way (face it: high IQ people are superior at least on the one metric of intelligence), and most people will eat it up if you do it in the right way. Personally, I recommend false modesty. When discussing any accomplishments, I often shrug my shoulders like I am talking about a glass of water or I even put my head down, lower my voice and act like I am embarassed or even ashamed of the accomplishment. Mostly I just discuss it matter of factly like it’s nothing. This usually goes over very well. But you can’t really talk about brains at all.
You certainly cannot discuss your IQ score most of the time. It’s a social taboo. I can’t even write about the subject on this blog, even though this is an IQ blog for Chrissakes, because writing about it on the blog falls under the same taboo as discussing it in public. You are “bragging” and you are violating the social taboo about as much as if you blurted it out in public.
However, Quora provides a completely socially acceptable forum for high and very high IQ people to discuss IQ and their intelligence without necessarily being seen as bragging (granted some still come off as braggarts due to the way they talk about it not because they mention the fact). I suppose the social taboo police types still think it’s horrible that we talk about in forums designed for that specific fact on Quora, but honestly, they can go to Hell. There’s nothing wrong with talking about anything on a public forum set up to discuss specifically that very thing.
Anyway, here is my answer. Hope you enjoy it and I hope at least one person finds some good advice here because there’s also a life hack technique discussed here about being a social actor to play a fake role and get along better with others.
You must realize that at any given time, I actually am smarter than everyone or certainly almost everyone around me, assuming that intelligence = IQ, which I believe it does. According to my IQ score, if you have 1,000 people in a room, I am smarter than all of them. You have get 2,000 people in the room to have one person who is on my level or higher.
So in my small city, there should be 60 people as smart or smarter than I am. That assumes my city has an average (100) IQ, which is highly dubious. I would say instead that the IQ of this city is more like 93, if it is even that high. Now I cannot do the math anymore because I only know how to do it with IQ set at 100, but the number is now less than 60. Edit: I just did the math and at my city’s 93 IQ, there are exactly four people in this city who are as smart or smarter than I am. Wow, that’s a powerful thought!
That means that if you got 1/4 of the population of my city together, I would be smarter than all of them! You would have to get half the town in one place to get one person as smart as or smarter than I am.
However, even though that is an objective fact, I rarely make myself aware of it. I simply blot it out of my mind. I live in a tough minority-heavy working class or even poor neighborhood. This place is like the hood or the ghetto, except it’s Mexicans, so it’s a barrio, so it’s much more livable than a Black ghetto. But the general vibes are the same. All of the men are very tough and hard.
There are gangs around here. There’s a lot of drinking and there are some drugs too. You can get hit anytime here for any reason if you disrespect someone or act like an idiot, so you have to be cool all the time. Gay men and lesbians are certainly not welcome here at all. Even feminine men would have a real problem because here if you are a man, you have to be hard because if you’re not, you might get hit. It’s a low class, hypermasculine, heavily ethnic, working class neighborhood. This place is anti-intellectual and I doubt if most people around here read one book last year.
The point is that I have to fit in here so I adopt more or the hard street tough hustler type mindset of the neighborhood. This means that most of the time, I shut down my own knowledge of my intelligence level and pretend that I am about as smart as those around me. The main reason is that I do not want to feel superior to these tough working class uneducated people around me. If I start feeling that way, I think they will pick up on it and regard it as arrogance and not be friendly. I want to be as friendly as possible so I try to get down to the same level of the salt of the Earth types.
On the other hand, most people around here have figured out that I am pretty damn smart because of the things that I like to talk about. We have Arabs around here and I ask them about their countries, US foreign policy and foreign affairs. They are amazed that I know so much about their country. They always ask me if I am from there or if I have been there.
Even the Mexicans and Salvadorans cannot believe that I know so much about their countries. They all assume I must be from their country because to them, no one not from there knows this much stuff about their land. The Indians are the same. They insist I must be Indian or must have been to India, otherwise there’s no way I could know all of this.
I must say that a lot of the Indians and Arabs are smarter and I can let down my hair with them pretty quickly. They often pick up that I am smart very quickly, and a lot of the Indian men are quite smart fellows. A lot of Arab men are also very smart. When I find another smart ethnic person, I show a lot more of my intelligence. They see this right away and sometimes switch into “intellectual mode” (especially the Indian men).
I am probably smarter than most all of even these Indian and Arab men but I refuse to think about or even recognize that because I want to be on their level. Instead I marvel at how much relatively brighter and more educated they are than most folks around here.
At times, I have to deal with some very smart people in this city, though they never live here. I mean physicians, pharmacists, judges, etc. I seem to be about on the same level as most of these folks. Especially physicians. Physicians are taken aback by me quite quickly, probably because I am a lot smarter than the average patient. They very quickly figure out that I am very smart, and they are often very surprised by how smart I am. They usually comment something along those lines.
If you have been reading this far, you can see that the smarter someone is, the quicker they realize that they are dealing with a very smart person on the other hand. I would say that the speed at which they recognize this almost correlates with IQ.
It’s not uncommon when meeting a physician that very quickly, maybe within a couple of minutes, he jerks his head back and shakes his head and is shocked at how smart I am. They appreciate it, and I can usually have some really neat conversations with my physicians because smart people (like physicians) like other smart people.
If you are very smart, like say a doctor, another smart person is going to be a lot more fun to be around because they are more on your wavelength. Also smart people, like physicians, like to learn new things, and smart people are always telling you new things. They also like to be challenged mentally, and smart people tend to challenge your mind.
A lot of people find this intimidating, but smart people, like say doctors, seem to find it as a sort of delightful challenge because they seem to like to crunch their brains, maybe almost even for sheer kicks. Also understand that smart people, like say physicians, are often also very curious and smart people are an endless source of fascination for a curious person because you can learn so many fun and cool things from them.
Do I know I’m smarter than most everyone around? I suppose I do, because it is a scientific fact. However, I often blind myself to this idea and a lot of the time, I even lie to myself, say it’s not true, tell myself I am an idiot, that I know nothing, exaggerate the intelligence of those around me, etc. This is a sort of acting or role-playing that I do so I can get along better with people around me.
Going around all the time consciously thinking you are smarter than most everyone around, even if it’s a fact, doesn’t seem to work very well. I seem to come off a bit uppity, superior or arrogant. I don’t want to come off that way because I want smooth relations with other humans. So a lot of the time I shut that fact out of my mind or even pretend it’s not true.