The pain of brilliance.
Well, it is simple. He is in pain...social pain. It brings him almost to tears to have to deal with his fellow academics in his University, because they are almost all mediocre, by comparison to him. Everyday, he must try to accommodate himself to the general “dumbness” that surrounds him. Everyday, he must struggle through conversations with people who are completely unable to follow his thoughts, should he allow himself to show them to others. He is suffocating. He is enveloped in a social bubble that prevents true communication to those around him, simply because it is impossible for them to understand him. Now, I understand him well. I know this situation. Perhaps that is why he discussed it with me.
My friend’s problem is the peculiar affliction of many gifted people all over the world. If one is truly gifted, then, in a very real sense, one is also truly cursed. For with the gifts of the mind, come the curses of the social world. It is essentially impossible for my friend, to fit in, in his present environment, because the disparity in intelligence, between him and those around him, is too marked. He is brilliant. They are not. Nothing that he, himself, can do, will ever change that. The only way he can accommodate to it, is by hiding himself, and nurturing a false public self, to be accepted. However, the real him is still there, inside, hidden away, quietly suffocating, quietly tortured by it all.
I have suggested to him that he find a more elite University to join, for the average intelligence of the staff should be greater, and there are likely to be more truly bright academics there. I hope he does so, for there can be nothing but misery in his future, if he stays where he is.
Everyone who is not truly gifted, imagines that life must be wonderful for those who are. The truth, however, is rather different. Great gift is a great burden, too. With every blessing it brings, there are concomitant curses that nothing the gifted person does, will ever change. It is still a blessing to be gifted – but a mixed blessing. It is not innately a gift that brings great happiness in its wake. Happiness, as a gifted person, must be worked for. Each gifted person must come to their own accommodation with the world and must find their own path within it, that satisfies whatever personal, professional and social needs they may have. Some, like myself, find that the best solution is to become accustomed to a quiet life. If one does not need constant social contact, or gives up that need, then life is easier – for there are many other ways to be fulfilled, that don’t involve people.
I am lucky. I have a good wife who complements me well. That fulfils my primary social needs. Anything else is a bonus. I enjoy the company of intelligent people, when I have the chance to spend time with them – but I have learnt not to need such company too often. Every now and again, is enough, to meet any social need I might have.
My friend does not deserve to be in pain. He did not ask to be the way he is. He did not make himself more intelligent than the people around him. That is just the way he is. Yet, he suffers all the same. Many gifted people suffer likewise – yet their pain goes unknown, it is something overlooked, marginalized and ignored. Rather than being understood, many gifted people are envied. So, not only do they have to put up with the pain of intellectual isolation – but they receive varying degrees of social hostility too, quite often. This is sad, because, like I said, they are the way they are, through no fault of their own. One cannot blame someone for their genetic inheritance.
I hope my friend manages to change his life for the better and finds a more intelligent milieu in which to live. I hope, too, that every significantly gifted person, in the world, finds at least one other, to relate to, at the level they would wish to, in an ideal world. That is all it takes, to make the pain go away: one person to talk to, freely. Do you have that?
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If you would like to read any of our scientific research papers, there are links to some of them, here: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/02/research-papers-by-valentine-cawley-and.html
If you would like to see an online summary of my academic achievements to date, please go here: http://www.getcited.org/mbrz/11136175
To learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 7 and Tiarnan, 5, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html
I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.
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