Is Intelligence a Burden?

Recently I’ve been getting annoyed.

At people.

I seem to be having a lot of conversations recently in which people just don’t think. It’s not that they aren’t capable of intelligent thought, they just aren’t willing to suffer the pain of a bit of mental effort.

Without trying to sound like I’m bragging, I’m someone who’s not only smart (I have a pretty high IQ and also rate fairly highly in some of the other intelligences) but I’m also willing to suffer the pain of mental effort.

What does that mean? Well, this week I’ve been dealing with intellectual property and I wrote a letter of amendment for a work contract I have. I spent an hour writing one paragraph just to make sure that it was exactly right. There were no ‘yeah, buts’, ‘how ’bouts’ or ‘what ifs’ when I was done with it. It was clear. It said exactly (yes, that is underlined bold italics) what it needed to say, nothing more, nothing less.

I spent an hour writing that one paragraph.

And the response I got was: “X & I have read through the letter and we’re slightly confused with the paragraph that you’ve written.”

Now, it was a slightly wordy paragraph, I admit that. But it doesn’t take a genius to understand it (my dad read it once and got it straight away) – only the willingness to read, re-read, consider and think about what it said. That’s mental effort.

And it pisses me off when people don’t think.

5 thoughts on “Is Intelligence a Burden?

  1. My opinion on communication is that it is more important for the writer to write in a way that is easily understood by the reader. Being wordy and precise may be actually viewed as being hostile and intimidating. Example: If you talk with a child about red giants you have to expect them to take that term literally as a fantasy character rather than a stage in the star’s evolution.

    • That’s true, it can be hostile and intimidating. But it really shouldn’t be if your not being hostile, and you’re not talking to a child about ‘Red Giants’. I was emailing a head of department at work and was only using clear, simple (although explicit and unambiguous) language that my company had used before me. For right or wrong, everyone else that’s read it has understood it easily, first time.

      • I guess what i mean is that communication is more important in comparison to intelligence, as communication, cooperation and team work are ultimately better than individualism. I think that (factual) intelligence is usually associated with individualism. There are other types of intelligence (social, emotional and more)as well but when people say intelligence they usually mean their mental capacity.
        Ultimately i would probably take that email as a compliment and rephrase it, no biggie.

    • Unfortunately, there is a flaw in your argument. The energy your brain uses is not taken from power plants, etc. It would be consumed as food. So using an extra 20% would mean that I don’t have to go for a run today. Or I could eat cake on my birthday, safe in the knowledge that you’re (not you personally) getting fat by not thinking but I’m burning more energy.

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