Is Higher Intelligence A Handicap?

Higher intelligence is usually considered a blessing. For the highly intelligent person it can hurt, it can sometimes be a curse.Find author Bill Allin at

Higher intelligence is usually considered a blessing. For the highly intelligent person it can hurt, it can sometimes be a curse.Find author Bill Allin at


Is Higher Intelligence A Handicap?

I always appear smarter when I dress up in my giant nipple costume. I know this because I'll overhear people say things like, "At least he's not a complete boob."
- Jarod Kintz, It Occurred to Me

Setting aside the wisdom and wit of the quote, let's look at what people mean when they think of "higher intelligence." Give it a thought yourself.

In general, it's fair to say that there is no widely accepted consensus on a definition for intelligence, let alone that of a superior nature.

In fact, it is now more commonly believed that there are many kinds of intelligence. Some can't even be measured. Some people claim there are kinds of intelligence among us that are not generally recognized because we can't describe them.

Characteristics we once called inbred talents, such as for certain kinds of art, music, architecture or poetry, now are often considered as forms of intelligence. People with brain abilities to tune into energies science doesn't yet acknowledge have mysterious kinds of intelligence.

My interest in intelligence is more like raw intellect. My version evaluates intelligence in terms of the number of different problems or emotional demands a person is able to entertain at once.

People of low intelligence are often believed (by those with higher levels) to be the happiest people. They only deal with one problem or challenge or emotional difficulty at a time. One is manageable. If you had only one problem to deal with at a time each day, you could likely cope with it. Whether these people can only grasp one problem at a time or whether they choose to deal with them one at a time is unknown.

Even if your one problem were how to achieve world peace, you could take the time to ponder the matter, without allowing it to overtake your ability to cope.

Highly intelligent people have the ability to accept that they have many different problems to deal with (or that need to be addressed) at the same time. They know they can get the car repaired by taking it to a repair shop, if only they could arrange the time. The problems they try to manage run from there to saving the environment.

They know that devising a solution and a plan for implementation for achieving world peace can come if they can find time to consider the problem and possible tactics, strategies and solutions, plus the downstream consequences of each, will take time and a great deal of thought.

They also know that they will be able to survive loss of job or separation from a loved one, but it will take time and the ability to devise and implement a strategy that will eventually return their lives to something close to what they believe is necessary for their personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

Toss a passel of other common human problems into the mix and the total can become unmanageable. Any number of problems a person considers to be more than they can manage leads to the potential for emotional breakdown. A person who is capable of perceiving only one or two problems at a time may therefore be better able to cope with them than a person who can perceive many problems all at once.

If a person of higher intelligence is able to perceive many problems at once, from the simple and personally manageable within a short period of time, to major personal upheavals and community, national or world problems, it stands to reason that such a person will be at a decided disadvantage in comparison with others of lower intelligence.

That disadvantage should be considered no less significant than any other handicap. Even knowing they have many problems to address becomes a burden in itself. To make matters worse, invisible handicaps are always harder to deal with because they can't be easily seen or understood by others. Invisible handicaps are never recognized by society as real problems that need real solutions.

In other words, a highly intelligent person who has the ability to perceive many problems at once not only has each of those problems to consider, he also has the lack of understanding of those close to him and his community as an additional burden.

How important do you consider achieving world peace to be? If you ignore it because you consider the problem unsolvable and yourself incapable of addressing it anyway, perhaps you are not burdened with the handicap of super high intelligence.

I consider achieving world peace solvable. I have trouble finding a plan that may be implemented without the help of a massive number of others who think like me. There's a problem (reaching a critical mass) you may never have considered.

Being super smart is no walk in the park, except in the minds of people who only experience high intelligence from a distance.

From 5 Unexpected Downsides of High Intelligence

1. You're More Likely to Be Self-Destructive

2. You're More Likely to Believe Bullshit

3. You're More Likely to Lie

4. You're Less Likely to Pass On Your Genes

5. You're Probably a Night Owl -- And That's a Bad Thing

Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a book of solutions. As popular a concept as achieving world peace is, the major problem is finding enough people to work toward implementing a plan.
Learn more at