Why Smart People Feel Frustrated and Displaced

Ok, get ready to fuss at me for being a jerk....

The average IQ score is 100, with a standard deviation of 15 points. This makes the normal range from 85 to 115. One more standard deviation on either end, from 70 to 130, encompasses dull normal and bright normal. Anything below two standard deviations, or <69, is considered mentally retarded. Anything above two standard deviations, or >130, is considered gifted. 95% of the general population has IQs that fall between 70 and 130. 2.5% fall within the mental retardation range and 2.5% fall within the gifted range.

"Normals" don't typically hang out and socialize with mentally retarded folks. "Normals" find mentally retarded folks frustrating and boring. Historically, normal folks have treated people with mental retardation pretty horribly (institutions, torture, extermination, ridicule, etc.). Imagine how angry and frustrated the normal population would feel if the world's politics, religious institutions, laws, social norms and commerce were all primarily maintained by the mentally retarded!

Now consider this, gifted individuals are intellectually as far from normal people, as normal people are from the mentally retarded! Being gifted and living in a world run by normals is exactly like being normal in a world run by people with mental retardation!

Can you imagine being of normal IQ and trying to argue politics or religion with a mentally retarded person who is incapable of comprehending your standards for logic and rational thought? It is the same for gifted people who debate normal people. Except, that the normals represent such a HUGE majority that their opinions are considered valid! The majority of the populous operates from same crude belief system... "Because we all agree, we must be right."

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Comment by Lois Lane on October 29, 2009 at 3:14pm
So, Rusty, are you pointing out that people with very high IQs need to be accommodated as if they were a group of people with distinct needs (like a group of people with disabilities)?

Since you're apparently in the field of psychology, can you tell us of any research to show whether gifted people have special needs, and whether these needs can be somehow categorized? Or are the needs of gifted people too individualized to be categorized?

What else do you think about accommodating gifted people?
Comment by Edward Teach on October 29, 2009 at 3:07pm
The basic argument is that minorities feel frustrated and displaced. If the minority is due to wealth, fame, intelligence, beauty or any other trait we judge as positive or privileged, we respond with indignance. If the minority is one we view as negative or under privileged, we respond with support and sympathy.
Comment by Edward Teach on October 29, 2009 at 3:00pm
Good enough on the heads up.

If I had made the argument that being blind in a sighted/hearing world created a sense of frustration and displacement, no one would get upset. But, because blindness is viewed as a disability and high IQ and asset, defensiveness erupts. My true belief is that our weaknesses and our strengths are very oftemn the same.

I have depression and ADHD. These are viewed as negative traits by most. Admittedly, I find them frustrating and unpleasant at times. I also value my depression and my ADHD. One has taught me unusual empathy and a depth of feeling many people never have the opportunity to experience. The other has made me quick witted, fun, adventurous and patient with others.

If I had argued the frustration and displaced feelings of a depressed person, there would have been no argument.
Comment by Edward Teach on October 29, 2009 at 2:38pm
Thanks... baiting... hmmm... Jeez, maybe I am a troll... Although my goal is to spark rational debate, not just emotional responses.
Comment by Edward Teach on October 29, 2009 at 2:13pm
John, what is a Troll? If it means stirring the pot, I guess I am. I really love to explore ideas, even crazy ones ;-)
Comment by Edward Teach on October 29, 2009 at 1:54pm
Lol... thanks for the comments. I made this post as sort of a provocateur. In actually, do not believe that IQ is a determining factor in much other than how well one performs on an IQ test. In truth, intelligence is a pretty fluid, abstract concept and measuring it is akin to measuring love or hope.

That said, we use IQ to categorize people, just as we use race, gender, regional affiliations, etc.. Therefore, those of minority status, whether you are a minority intellectually or otherwise, will often feel as though they do not fit in.

The Nerd: I may express ideas with which you disagree, but I don't think ignorance can be inferred. 30 years as a psychologist and college professor does not qualify my opinions as any more valid than yours. However, my knowledge of intelligence is probably more extensive than most.

Our egos are very tied in to our beliefs and values. Therefore, it is pretty natural to react with defensiveness and anger when someone expresses a conflicting idea. For me maturity means evaluating ideas against objective criteria rather than through the lens of my ego. In other words, "Just because I think it, doesn't make it true."

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