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Intellectualism and Society -- How Intellect and Perception Create Misunderstandings

Updated: Apr 30

Beyond the Binary: An Intellectual's View of Society

As an intellectual, I don't see my relationship with society as a simple binary of connection or disconnection. In other words, I don't feel entirely connected nor disconnected from other people, given that there are people who are able to read me and understand my ideas. That, of course, does not have to collide with the fact that being an intellect is often lonely.

And I quote "Psychology Today":

Making and keeping friends is often problematic. It's hard for others to feel comfortable getting close to someone whose intellectual prowess far outshines their own. And this is especially true if the gifted individual can't keep themselves from demonstrating their superior knowledge or acumen. Here is where intellectual humility becomes crucial. But many of the mentally gifted fail to develop this trait, and their relationships suffer accordingly.

And the very fact that you're an intellectual, even if not entirely self-described, can create resentment from others, as intellect often intimidates. And when you are intimidated, the source of intimidation (even if there is no threat whatsoever), is seen as a threat. At the same breath, the intellect can be seen as a source of power, capable of attracting followers, and building organizations. It's of course very attractive for sapiosexuals as well.

Thus, we shouldn't completely whine about such double-edged matters, when much of this distinct potential our intellects grant us, is up for our usage. Still, we shouldn't give in to the idea that a high intellect is capable of solving any problem or difficulty that would stand in his or her path. For example, undermining other skills, such as social skills and teamwork, can undermine an intellect's path to success.

From Isolation to Importance

During my younger years, I did experience a sense of alienation, but I believe this stemmed from my own immature thinking rather than any inherent difference between myself and others. Further analysis of society have determined that many wouldn't care if I die unless I become more relevant, so this is exactly what I'm planning to do with time.

Take the example of the late Sandra Drummond in the 2000's, a British woman who died in the age of 44 and no one cared enough to notice her departure from this world. This, you see, is what happens to people who are not important enough: Not only they die alone (whether or not it's a problem is another issue), but their death would easily be overlooked, and even the local area of their residence would continue as usual.

Given the fact that people with high intellect tend to develop mental health issues, and given that social withdrawal is a common symptom of mental illnesses like depression, it's likely that the very intelligent will have their own set of unique problems to deal with. Solving these problems can make them, as well as anyone else with these problems, an effective and contributing member of society.

I believe that every individual has something valuable to offer the world, regardless of their intellectual level. We are all useful to an extent. We all possess unique experiences, perspectives, and talents that can enrich the lives of others. It is in this shared humanity, this interconnectedness, that we find true value and meaning.

From Ivory Towers to Open Hearts

And of course, you won't necessarily be highly motivated to contribute, when people who are intellectual are faced with stereotypes associated with arrogance and omniscience. Of course, stereotypes are, by default, flawed, even if they are commonly used as part of our attempt to understand the world.

How can we properly understand reality if we confine ourselves to stereotypes?

Back when I was younger, my understanding of society was limited and stereotypical. I saw it as a homogeneous entity, which inevitably led to misinterpretations and generalizations. As I matured and gained experience, however, I realized the complexity of human existence. Society is not a single entity, but a spectrum of diverse individuals, each with their own unique perspectives and contributions.

My intellectual pursuits don't necesarily place me above this spectrum; I'm just another component of a rich, sociological ecosystem.

Furthermore, I came to understand that intellectual ability is not a measure of worth. While I may excel in certain areas, others possess strengths and talents that I lack. You might find it surprisng but people with high intelligence often struggle in finding love.

And in love, you are supposed to listen to your heart, not to your mind or logic. Love is far more emotional than, let's say, writing a philosophy article. And while people seek to experience life over analyzing it in their metaphorical ivory towers, it's quite difficult not only finding love, but actually enjoying it from a logic-free perspective.

Feel free to correct me in the comments if I'm wrong on that. Anyways, each domain of human endeavor has its own value, and no one area is inherently superior to another. Similarly to the attempt to objectively define "success", it really depends on what we want to attain in life.

Debunking the Myth of Intellectual Superiority

There's a persistent stereotype that intellectuals sit on a pedestal above the rest of us. I only agree with this to a limited extent. While intellectuals may excel in one or more intellectual fields, their prowess in those areas doesn't translate to universal superiority. As demonstrated before, proficiency in one domain doesn't guarantee prosperity in all the diverse fields life offers.

As I've shed the stereotypical delusions surrounding the labels that technically describe parts of who I am, I've realized I share more with society than I initially thought, and that this world hosts far more intellects than I initally presumed. Assuming one's intellect makes them a rare "specimen" is a fallacy, inflating positive attributes to an unrealistic degree.

My earlier statement about intellectual superiority is justified by recognizing that society isn't a monolithic entity. I can find common ground with some fellow intellectuals within it if I wasn't focused so much on Philosocom. And it does not contradict the fact that I can't connect so many others. This logic applies equally if I had different strengths, like being a skilled musician, a dedicated sports fan, or a hardcore gamer.

Our ability to connect with one another depends on our ability to relate to them, or in other words, "find part of ourselves" in them (like having things in common). Let us not victimize ourselves just because some of us happen to be more unique than others.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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