I have this peculiarly troubling phenomenon happen to me from time to time.
A real-life friend of mine told me something that always seems to worry me a bit. He said, “I wonder if I’m smart enough to keep up with you” I have heard that a few times before. And it’s always puzzled me.
Because, I’m actually not that smart. I have an estimated IQ of about 120 (I never took an IQ test as far as I know, just other tests that could be converted to IQ, like the pre-1989 ACT).
This comment was made to me by my friend who has a KNOWN IQ of 137.
I’d say that qualifies him as being smart enough to keep up with me.
I replied, “I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve been told that someone can’t keep up with me, as if i am so far out of their intellectual league. I’m left bewildered because I feel stupid most of the time“.
As the conversation progressed, I was told, “It must be the curse of being as smart as you are, to feel dumb or at least to be aware of how much you still don’t know”
I used to think most of my social problems came in because I was too smart for my own good, but over the past couple of years, I realize that it’s not because I’m so smart, just that our society has dumbed so far down, so I have the APPEARANCE of being a lot smarter than the average bear.
But the truth is, compared to the some really amazing minds out there, I’m dumb as toast. I know a little bit about a lot of subjects, and with the help of google, I can seem a whole lot smarter than I really am. Sometimes my memory isn’t as good as it once was and I’ll remember bits and pieces of something, and google helps me fill in the rest. But catch me offline and try to have a conversation with me, I’m struggling for the ideas I’m trying to convey.
And it’s not necessarily that I want to “know more”. I’ve come to realize that “knowing more” doesn’t make for great parlor conversation. Not very many people care to know what I DO know. And that’s part of the problem. The other part of the problem is that I’m rarely invited over to anyone’s parlor.
The conclusion I’ve reached?
It’s not so much that I’m so smart…it’s just that most people are so incapable of real deep, authentic communication, or much of ANY communication, for that matter.
I’ve had to embark on a spiritual journey simply to be okay with the fact that by and large, no one cares anymore about much and definitely not about the things I think about.
The dialogue with other people matters to me and I don’t get enough of it. I can read glorious books from smart and sensitive others (Hermann Hesse is still my top favorite) and feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit in his writings; still, nothing beats having a living, breathing human being in front of you to wax philosophical or riff poetical with, you know?
How do we grow emotionally and spiritually if we don’t hone the ideas we have about life and ourselves if we are forced to keep it all inside because no one wants to listen. Or has time to listen.
I meditate. A LOT. Because I’m not getting the kinds of interactions I’d like.
It’s not because I’m that smart. It’s because most people around here just don’t care. They’ve been programmed not to look inward and reflect on meaningful things. They are programmed to accumulate, compare, judge and condemn.
And in my own way, I’m judging, too. I’m not so smart…but I am critical that other people are just so dumb.
I forgive them that. Yet, I get melancholy that I am “too much” for people. I can’t help the way I am. I can’t help that I need what I need and can’t get meaningful interactions with other people in real life.
Knowing more doesn’t make me feel any better knowing that I’ve got no circle of intelligent friends with whom I can have the kind of lively, engaging discussions or meaningful friendship I wish I could have. I have friends and we talk about normal, everyday stuff, just not the kinds of conversations that I really wish I could be having.
I’ve learned to meditate for this reason. To feel better about myself. To forgive myself for needing more. To feel better about being profoundly lonely at times and failing to make meaningful connections. To learn to stop caring about not achieving much in this season of intense child-rearing. To learn to stop asking other people to meet me where I’m at because that puts a burden on them.
So it won’t hurt to know that I AM a burden on my friends, sometimes.
I try to be cognizant of the fact that I might be a burden on them, so I won’t be a burden on them.
And end up being a burden on them anyway, despite my best intentions.
I fail at this game.
All. The. Time.
And you can bet I’m going to meditate on that too.