I readily admit I get frustrated when the people I am around on a regular basis do and say stupid things and then keep repeating these mistakes over the course of months and years. I know I shouldn’t be angry with people just because they aren’t smart. Some people are just dumb and they are never going to become Mensa material no matter what you do for them. That is probably the hardest fact of life that I have ever had to accept. I can handle people not having empathy. I can handle people being greedy. But for some odd reason I have had a very tough time coming to the acceptance that some people are just dumb, have always been dumb, and are never going to be interested in the intellectual things like science, technology, history, philosophy, literature, etc. that I am.
Being smart has always come easy to me. I can’t remember ever not knowing how to read because I pretty much taught myself how to read. I can’t remember ever having to be forced to read because I read so voraciously on my own. I still do. I actually had to be forced to put down my books and go outside with the neighborhood kids against my will. I suppose my parents were afraid that I would be one of these really smart people who had lousy social skills. Well, that happened anyway. Yet I don’t mind having below average social skills. Most of the stuff average people like to talk about, like politics, sports, the weather, farming, work, celebrities, etc., I find quite boring. As much as I enjoy baseball, I wouldn’t have much of a stake in the games if I didn’t have a fantasy league team. As much as I enjoyed the violence of football when I played as a teenager, I wouldn’t watch any games if it didn’t give me anything to talk about with the average person. I don’t personally follow politics much except if politicians make noise about cutting science programs. Cutting science programs will hurt nations long term. Much of what was the computer and information revolutions came about because of the space programs in the 60s and 70s. I am not really happy with my current crop of politicians who are cutting science funding and just want to pull up the draw bridge and isolate from the rest of the world. Who would have thought twenty years ago China and India would be leading the world in developing and implementing nonpolluting technology? When my parents were children, their parents used to tell them “there’s starving kids in China who would love to eat what you complain about.” I wonder if Chinese and Indian parents tell their kids “keep studying and going to school, there’s dumb people in America.”
I never had a tolerance for ignorance. And it’s especially tough having a mental illness and living in low income housing when I am not surrounded by many smart people. I do most of my socializing online anymore because I can at least superficially connect with people who share my interests. For years I have struggled searching for people with the same intellectual pursuits I have. My therapists and I have struggled finding ways for me to find social activities for someone with my interests. I finally came to the painful realization that I am not going to meet many people I can relate to, at least not in traditional senses. Some of my best friends I interact with mainly online. The internet is my social life now. I’m glad I live in an era when it’s available as much as it is. Had I lived in the dark ages, I probably would have had to join a monastery. Even then I’d probably be burned at the stake as a heretic. I am happy that science is really advancing. And it doesn’t bother me as much as it normally would that many of these advances are now not happening in my own country. I really don’t care if it’s an American, a Chinese person, an African, etc. who comes up with the next huge breakthrough. We all share the same planet so we just as well learn to work and think beyond national boundaries. I hope that the anti intellectualism I see so prevalent in my time and place is merely a passing fad. And even if it isn’t, there are plenty of places where intelligence is valued and science will progress. The future is already happening, it’s just not evenly distributed.