Timing is Everything
Intelligent people do not
, as a rule, tend to be more unhappy than others.
(and intelligent adolescents) are often unhappier than their peers. This is because their intellectual development outruns
their emotional development. They can see the consequences and ramifications of events and actions (their own and others') earlier and better than
the less intellectually gifted can, but they cannot deal with that knowledge. They perceive, early in life, how much stupidity and pointless malice
there is in the world, but they don't know how to rise above it. They readily understand how easily utopia could be achieved if only people would
simply do as they would be done by, but quickly grasp the unhappy truth that people will rarely -- out of fear, opportunism, stupidity and malice --
follow the golden rule. They realize early that, despite the fact that felicity is within everyone's grasp, it will never be caught and held. And
they realize these facts before they have the emotional maturity to deal with them. The less intelligent simply do not realize it until much later,
when they are better prepared for it.
This situation prevails until late adolescence or early adulthood. Then things start to change.
The intelligence that brought them clarity of vision and understanding of the bitter truths of life can now, with the aid of maturity and experience,
begin to show them how, in the midst of so much folly, bitterness and squalor, they might make their own lives and the lives of others better. It
helps them overcome childhood conditioning, select between values to choose the best and truest, and learn better ways to live. It is also, of course,
of enormous benefit in the business of earning
From early adulthood onwards, life for an intelligent person generally tends to get better. That's because they tend to make better life choices.
Meanwhile, their less intelligent contemporaries are still floundering in a slough of regret at opportunities missed or unrecognized, resentment
against a world that seems to outsmart them at every turn, remorse over bad life choices, frustration at being trapped in the consequences of those
choices, petty status squabbles and the endless consciousness of having missed out.
From the first quarter-century onward, intelligent people tend to be happier
I'm generalizing wildly, of course, but then the premise of this thread is a generalization. Obviously, the particular circumstances and
psychological makeup of an individual would have an equal or greater effect on whether a person is happy or not than their intelligence alone would.
But I think that can be taken as read. All other things being equal, intelligent people are happier in maturity than less intelligent folk are.
* * *
Nobel prizewinner though he was, I do not think Hemingway was an intelligent person. His work, great as some of it is,
certainly does not seem like the work of a particularly intelligent man. There is no ingenious plotting, no great depth of knowledge or thought and
very little affection for the life of the mind displayed in any of it. What there is in it is a very great depth of feeling, and insight into feeling,
combined with a unique ability to convey this depth of insight and feeling in very simple but beautifully structured language. But the feelings and
insights presented are usually those of very stupid people. There are few intelligent characters in Hemingway's stories. In fact, sitting here at my
computer with most of his ouvre
on a shelf behind me, I can't think of a single one, and a look at the titles on the shelf does nothing to jog
Furthermore, he had absolutely no understanding of women. None. Like his contemporary and competitor William Faulkner (a far more intelligent writer
in my estimation), he saw women as anima projections, not real human beings at all. The difference is that Faulkner's female characters had a
genuinely human dimension (think of Dilsey in The Sound and the Fury
or Lena in Light in August
), while Hemingway's women only existed
to copulate with his male characters, or refuse them and make their lives miserable.
Hemingway's life, like his literature, did nothing to suggest that he was particularly intelligent. He was talented to an amazing degree, but
obviously burdened with feelings of sexual inadequacy and fear of not being a 'man' and just as obviously depressed most of the time. He was drunk a
lot, too, and did some very, very stupid things in his life, not least the taking of it. Suicide is never a very clever solution, and Hemingway was an
He was a great writer. But being talented and being intelligent are not the same thing.
[edit on 31-5-2008 by Astyanax]