The Shame Of Genius


Submission Guidelines | About Us | Programs and Services | Committees | What is a Universal Genius? | Hypatia Chat | Membership | Resources | What's Going On? | Bylaws

Julie E. Creech

Hypatia Society

I have a high IQ.

Those words construct a sentence I am unable to write without pause. I could write other, similar, sentences all day without a problem: I am a poet. I am an artist. I am a philosopher.

Yet, this other aspect of who I am, this intellectual giftedness, is something I feel guilty and ashamed about. It makes me abnormal, it makes me somehow wrong, and it is something I must at all costs attempt to conceal.

When I think about this phenomenon I clearly see that it makes no sense. I did not choose to have a high IQ any more than I chose to be born, and I could not lose either aspects of my life without undertaking action that I would prefer to avoid.

Having a high IQ, in of itself, does not promise any success or greatness. In fact, if one looks back over the most famous of geniuses you will find stories of terrible personal pain and difficulty. Being intellectually gifted often carries with it a sensitivity to life that can be almost unbearable.

Personally I think the stigma and envy attached to persons of exceptional intelligence is born of misunderstanding. As with many minority groups there is a fear of the unknown quantity: I see that you are different and so I dont know what to expect. Many people Ive met seem to have a deep fear of being duped of manipulated by people with high IQs, and yet the overwhelming majority of extraordinarily intelligent people do not use their gifts to fool people or use them in some manner. In fact, a large portion of the gifted population are motivated primarily by things that cannot be gained through malicious means, namely knowledge, freedom, independence and growth.

Yes, we may be different. We may think differently and out life experiences may have been profoundly affected by being outside of out normal peer group. We tend to be introverted, independent, and perhaps even eccentric, but does that mean that there is any qualitative difference between us and anyone else? Absolutely not.

We are still very human, with faults and challenges to deal with every day. Im a procrastinator, disorganized, and often so absorbed by my thoughts that I forget to look both ways when I cross the street. I also deal with depression, insecurity and self esteem issues, just like every other person on the planet.

We have no special wands that promise successful relationships, careers, will power or patience. We have to work just as hard at everyone else to create a life we can live with. In fact, if I may be honest, I truly envy the normal people! I wish I werent constantly plagued with the need to know and really understand everything I come into contact with. Too often there is no understanding to be had.

I wish I could walk into a new place and feel like I fit in. I wish I had 50% of the male population to choose from to find a boyfriends who actually cares about the strange things I think about. Lets face it, there arent too many people who are fascinated by the idea of sarcastic numbers or the possibility of creating viruses to kill viruses.

Most of all, though, I wish I wasnt supposed to be ashamed of my intellectual gifts. They may make me sad sometimes, but they also bring me joy. And like any other aspect of who I am; be it the artist, the scientist, the businesswoman or the poet, it is a major part of what makes me, me.

Enter supporting content here