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Debate & Discussion: Does Intelligence = Depression?

  1. Jun 7, 2003 #1
    There was a thread recently on the Overclockers Australia Forums concerning this topic. I personally identified with a lot of the comments and I thought I would post some of the more interesting ones here so that we could continue the discussion on PF. The whole thread can be found here if you are interested:
    Unfortunately there was very little said in the way of how to deal with the problem. If anyone identifies with this and has worked through the problem I would be interested in hearing about how you dealt with it or any other thoughts on the matter. I'd hate to think that the solution is to become cold and uncaring as someone suggests.
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  3. Jun 8, 2003 #2


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    I see it differently. The people we consider depressed and intelligent simply don't seek out happiness as a goal for life. They believe however in ideals to reach, which are usually unreachable.

    Not to say that no intelligent person look for happiness. If they do, they are often very successful. (I don't think Bill Gates is depressed, is he? Intelligent people often end up on top, if they put their minds to it.)
  4. Jun 8, 2003 #3
    Intelligent people have every opportunity for success. However, many very intelligent people have underdeveloped social skills - due to not being surrounded by similar peers - and this sometimes counteracts the advantage bestowed by being 'smarter'.

    I think that the isolation and lack of social skills have a large effect upon this depression.
  5. Jun 8, 2003 #4
    Oh is THAT what my problem is? I'm just super-endowed with brains!

    I believe that depression is more likely linked with poor self-esteem and a sense of powerlessness. When intelligence 'gets you down', it's probably a signal that you're actually being tunnel-visioned, making harsh, biased judgements about how life 'should be' and how people 'should be', including yourself. That kind of 'intelligence' seems to ironically lack in wisdom.

    It's a kind of childish dummy-spit (on the inside) at not getting your own way and is cooked in the same kind of angsting fear that occured when mother left you in a room full of strangers (The *****) to fend for yourself. You didn't need to know The Theory of Relativity, you just needed to know, you were o.k and would remain o.k.

    Perhaps people who are very secure in themselves are not so prone to depression.

    I don't think intelligence has all that much to do with it. I think, too, that some people mistake self-indulgent arrogance with intelligence and "I think therefore I am" with "I think therefore you're a cretin".
  6. May 19, 2007 #5
    "Could be" (not "should be")

    I certainly don't want to offend someone passionate enough to post a thread or share their view. Having said that, I will go on to say that when I read a post written by someone while they were angry, I have to disregard it completely. I know that when I go back and read something I wrote during a fit of anger, I usually don't like what I read. (In other words, I believe in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, instead of judging them. The only person with the right to judge my behavior or any part of me, is me, and that goes for everyone else, as well.)

    Now that the disclaimer is out of the way... depression almost has to be linked to poor self-esteem, yes. But I do not believe that what is mostly talked about so far in the postings I am responding to (intelligence+depression) are actions or results of tunnel-vision, harsh judgements, or anything involving what "should be". I would guess that most intelligent people consider instead, what "could be". Possibilities, possible answers or reasons behind behaviors and feelings. Personally, it disgusts me when I encounter someone who is happy with things (in general) simply because that's the way they have been. Knowledge grows exponentially, but change happens at a considerably slower rate. All too often, blind faith is relied on in deciding how a person lives their life, at least in the "bible belt-cinched" midwest where I am. Tunnel vision implies a need for control, as do judgemental tendencies, which include any thinking involving "should" as a driving force. Who says anything "should" be any way except a person of limited intelligence, limited scope, and limited reasoning abilities. I really do believe that if, as a living entity of life, we as humans began viewing how things "could" be by examining possibilites, rather than limitations, the rate of change might increase. Before I'm accused of it, I'll state that I am not saying that this "should" happen, simply that it is possible, just like anything and everything.

    As for knowing the Theory of Relativity, I can only say that I do not. That means I cannot reproduce it verbatim. Is it possible that I could understand it? Yes, and that is true for anyone because anything is possible until proven impossible. And for the record, when someone cannot explain something to another person, that does not mean that the explainer does not understand it, more likely that the person receiving the explanation simply cannot fathom an idea that is difficult to process or understand. It is also possible to agree with a number of things based on their general possiblities and priciples on which they are based, even if a person has never read the entire document. Challenge that. :tongue:
  7. May 21, 2007 #6
    Here is a stages of grief breakdown on realizing that you are intelligent:

    1) Pre-awareness: Everyone else is very similar to myself, their thoughts are just like mine but with slightly different subject matter.

    2) Denial: I seem to be smarter then most of the people around me, but the odds are that once I go to an ivy league school I will be put in my place - not at the top.

    3) Anger: Everyone around me is an idiot! They just don't care what happens, and when they make stupid mistakes they shrug and call them 'accidents'.

    4) Bargaining: (optional) using drugs to fit in, 'I would give up my intelligence if only I could fit in socially'.

    5) Depression: No one can help me, there is no cure.

    6) Acceptance: My intelligence makes me happier being alone then some people, and I find I don't often get bored. I can deal with others, but I have a radically different set of expectations then I did in the pre-awareness stage. I deal with them on their level. Part of me is still depressed, because the fears of the world are so vivid, and I am lonely.

    7) Vehemence: Forget intelligence, we all have power, I must use mine to accomplish goals. Make others feel that they too have the power and they will become alive an intelligent like myself. We are all so strong, with so much to accomplish, anyone can be brilliant.
  8. May 21, 2007 #7


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    I'm sure there might still be someone interested in discussing this, but this thread is from four years ago and the poster of it hasn't been here in ages.
  9. May 21, 2007 #8


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    That sounds like Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron".
  10. May 21, 2007 #9


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    I think we have a clear cut case of an e-sniffer.
  11. May 21, 2007 #10


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    There was a recent study comparing gifted vs. normal grade school students in France. In their sample they found that the gifted children had significantly higher IQ but significantly lower self-esteem and higher depression. So perhaps, on average, there is something to the purported correlation, though the degree to which the results from this single study are generalizable is questionable.

    There has been some work in social psychology showing that students' views on the nature of intelligence can impact how they handle failure. Students who tend to think intelligence is more or less a fixed trait tend not to respond as well to failure because they take it to indicate an inherent shortcoming on their part. On the other hand, students who tend to think intelligence is more malleable and can be developed tend to respond better to failure. But the messages sent to more intelligent children seem to reinforce the fixed view of intelligence (eg "you're so smart" vs "you tried so hard"). So that may be a contributing mechanism in academic situations. I don't know if higher IQ is associated with greater depression on a more general level.
  12. Oct 1, 2010 #11
    I have been called intelligent quite a few times so my personal experience may apply. I find that I get depressed because i generally cannot find people to relate to. I can always talk to people but it is usually strenuous and draining. I am generally left to my own devices when problems arise.It is this lack of companionship which I can sometimes find to be depressing. It has nothing to do with the state of the world or any cold realities. For me I am simply lonely. I would say the best thing to remedy this is to talk to others over the internet, and to attempt to talk to others (intelligence rises in many odd places) I am hopeful that someone intelligent will one day reciprocate.
  13. Oct 1, 2010 #12
    Intelligent people are much more likely to notice how messed up society is, and feel alone. Which leads to depression. Unfortunately, most intelligent people cling on to modern liberalism as a means to delude themselves that they are all-knowing and that things will be all right, but of course reality does not align with this position.
  14. Oct 1, 2010 #13


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    Well, a zero post newbie has broken the forum record for necroposting, go figure. Congratulations mithridate!!

    The OP date is 6-7-03, resurrected by a zero poster in 5-07.
  15. Oct 1, 2010 #14
    Random question: how can you confirm that this is the record? ^_^
  16. Oct 1, 2010 #15


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    I usually see all of the necroposts, but I can't confirm it. I still say they win though. :biggrin: I've seen 6 year old threads resurrected, but never a seven year old one.
  17. Oct 1, 2010 #16
    I'll take your word for it.

    Another question: does "Posts: 0" mean that they were banned, or that their post simply hasn't registered/refreshed as of yet?
  18. Oct 1, 2010 #17


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    It means that they haven't posted outside of General Discussion or Politics. Most likely it's their first time posting at the forum, and a first post necropost means they probably found the thread on a search engine and have no idea what PF is about. It's just funny when you see such an old thread revived.
  19. Oct 1, 2010 #18
    I see, thanks.
  20. Oct 2, 2010 #19


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    That reminds me, I wonder if we could get a sub-forum going on the topic of necrophysics. I've got a lot of thoughts about phlogiston.

    But really though, there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Accepting the presence of both makes life quite pleasant.

    (I'm still temporarily [necro]trolling due to present 666 post count. :devil:)
  21. Oct 2, 2010 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    Intelligence can also lead to extreme arrogance and an intolerable self-righteousness, and even a warped worldview, through the misperception that an overstated ego is really intellect. When the delusion of superiority is challenged, the threat to self-esteem and self-definition, result in depression.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2010
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