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Is anyone here depressed by their intelligence?


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#1 calengineering

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:02 PM


Obviously a lot of us care about improving intelligence. What do you do when you realize there's not much you can change despite all that you read here?
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#2 The Immortalist

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 03:22 AM

No because it is pointless being depressed at something you can't really change. Although I think inteliigence is actually something that can be changed and you can get good at anything you want to if you work hard enough.

I'm more disturbed by other peoples lack of intelligence to be honest.
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#3 hivemind

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 03:34 AM

What do you do when you realize there's not much you can change despite all that you read here?


I compensate with insolence.

#4 Bemiller16

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:23 AM

I'm more disturbed by other peoples lack of intelligence to be honest.


haha there's a reason people are desperately trying to boost IQ...

#5 summertimex

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:07 AM

i thought this thread was going to be about depression from being too smart and not fitting in. that is how i felt last year.
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#6 FDA Approved

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:15 PM

Even if currently there isn't much else to do to improve your intelligence I believe (strongly) that with the progress of science it wont be long until we are able to produce much better drugs or to change our genes directly or to really use nanotechnology, 'brain connections' to the internet and/or a bunch of other technology which will boost our intelligence. Also currently there is a lot more that you can do to if not improve your iq then at least improve your decision making processes, your knowledge of how the world works, improve and learn new skills for better and sharper thinking and so on (my suggestion is to start looking into rationality, cognitive biases, probability theory (bayes), fermi calculations, mnemonic techniques among a lot of other things).
And for the depression from being too smart view, I (and not only me) think that if you are becoming more intelligent in general you should be able in the worst case scenario to be able to be just as happy as someone less intelligent by copying their strategy (for example if you are not fitting it because you sound too smart just talk at their (or your previous) level of 'smartness', you dont have to boast your intelligence), of corse in your example there might be better strategies like trying to fit in with smarter people or just to abandandon this notion of fitting in.

#7 nowayout

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:02 PM

I think people with higher IQs tend to be more prone to depression.
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#8 FDA Approved

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:46 PM

I think people with higher IQs tend to be more prone to depression.

That is more of a myth and the evidence is conflicting as far as I know. In general depression is equally likely whether you are more or less intelligent and in the situations where intelligence can lead to more depression there are strategies that an intelligent person can implement to 'fix' the issue at least partially.
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#9 OpaqueMind

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 06:55 PM

That is more of a myth and the evidence is conflicting as far as I know. In general depression is equally likely whether you are more or less intelligent and in the situations where intelligence can lead to more depression there are strategies that an intelligent person can implement to 'fix' the issue at least partially.


Perhaps, but intelligent people generally feel emotions in a much deeper way and therefore if they're depressed they will be depressed to a much greater degree.

Also, the chances of existential thoughts and therefore an existential crisis are much greater in people who think about the world in a deeper way.

I have yet to figure out (and probably never will) if pessimism follows causally from a realistic worldview, but so far I am so inclined to think so. I mean just look at the state of the world, anyone with an iota of epathy would suffer just bearing witness to it.

Sorry for derailing OP, back on topic... It seems everyone, regardless of 'intelligence' can be severely dissatisfied by their situation. Woe is man.
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#10 FDA Approved

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 11:36 AM

That is more of a myth and the evidence is conflicting as far as I know. In general depression is equally likely whether you are more or less intelligent and in the situations where intelligence can lead to more depression there are strategies that an intelligent person can implement to 'fix' the issue at least partially.


Perhaps, but intelligent people generally feel emotions in a much deeper way and therefore if they're depressed they will be depressed to a much greater degree.
Also, the chances of existential thoughts and therefore an existential crisis are much greater in people who think about the world in a deeper way.

Thats a myth, if anything I've read some studies which claimed that less intelligent people found their life more devoid of meaning and had more existential crisises. Hereis one study for example which claims that people with lower iq are more likely to develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder to become depressed etc.

I have yet to figure out (and probably never will) if pessimism follows causally from a realistic worldview, but so far I am so inclined to think so. I mean just look at the state of the world, anyone with an iota of epathy would suffer just bearing witness to it.

Sorry for derailing OP, back on topic... It seems everyone, regardless of 'intelligence' can be severely dissatisfied by their situation. Woe is man.

No, pessimism is the state of mind where you view undesirable outcomes as more likely than they actually are. Even if the world is really bad, if you view it as being as bad as it actually is then you are still a realist, and if you except significantly more bad things to happen to you than the amount of bad things that actually happen to you then you are a pessimist.
Just because you are (or think you are) intelligent and depressed it doesn't mean that one is the cause of the other and it doesn't mean that its the same way for everyone else who is intelligent. The studies suggest that you were about as likely or even more likely to be depressed if you had a lower iq than the one you have
PS. I hope that this does not depress you further in any way.

Edited by FDA Approved, 11 November 2012 - 11:37 AM.

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#11 Major Legend

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 07:17 PM

no this is a myth I believe, i've met many people who are dumb AND depressed. There are just as many people who are smart and relatively happy and successful. (I would say they are more happy than the dumber counter parts in the long run because usually intelligence is usually linked with successful career and life wise).

What is depressing is IF you are smart but haven't quite managed to live up to expectations : the depression is magnified because you understand deeply how much you are lacking from what you "could" or what you "want. E.g you are in a job that only harnesses a fraction of your potential, because intelligent people have a deeper understanding of the world when they get depressed their negativity is also deeper, such as realising certain truths about life > like realising everything we do is pointless, everyone dies, can't hold onto fleeting, time doesn't exist etc so on and so forth.

The fact is if you are depressed and negative, its not really because you are smart its more a frame of mind, you know there are a lot of doctors and barristers who are far happier with their lives than the high school drop out working in mcdonalds nearing 30s. (just saying)

#12 hivemind

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:55 AM

such as realising certain truths about life > like realising everything we do is pointless, everyone dies, can't hold onto fleeting, time doesn't exist etc so on and so forth.


Yes, this is the truth. It's no big deal if you are intelligent or dumb.

It's not just about dying. Aging will lower your IQ a lot even if you do not die. No matter how intelligent you are, you are not going to stay like that for very long. Old people are no geniuses no matter how politically incorrect that sounds. :)

Edited by hivemind, 12 November 2012 - 02:01 AM.

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#13 Major Legend

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:29 AM

Perhaps ultimately everyones brains will succumb but there seems to be a luck factor involved some people remain very sharp till the end, others experience decline as early as mid twenties, not abusing alchogol and drugs help because our cognitive reserve goes down as we age, that said there are many people who are still good humoured and perceptive intelligent in old age, it would seem the more you start with the less you will be prone to becoming stupid when you are older. Energy level wise the decline is inevitable due to the functioning of our cells declining, less metabolism, less bursts of energy. I think this youthful energy is the first to go ,as teenagers are incredibly energetic and enthusiastic by early twenties that energy is gone. I call it the " glow effect".

Perhaps ultimately everyones brains will succumb but there seems to be a luck factor involved some people remain very sharp till the end, others experience decline as early as mid twenties, not abusing alchogol and drugs help because our cognitive reserve goes down as we age, that said there are many people who are still good humoured and perceptive intelligent in old age, it would seem the more you start with the less you will be prone to becoming stupid when you are older. Energy level wise the decline is inevitable due to the functioning of our cells declining, less metabolism, less bursts of energy. I think this youthful energy is the first to go ,as teenagers are incredibly energetic and enthusiastic by early twenties that energy is gone. I call it the " glow effect".

#14 Heh

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:40 PM

I'm more disturbed by other peoples lack of intelligence to be honest.


haha there's a reason people are desperately trying to boost IQ...

Ha, they're so dumb (don't try to say that I am, just because I said this.. that would be lame) that it's not because they want to be smarter, but because they want to have some "credential" they can rub in your face that says how "smart" they are.

They don't care about actually being it, just about looking like they are.

Edited by Joel, 12 November 2012 - 03:49 PM.


#15 hippocampus

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:47 PM

No, I'm not depressed by my IQ, because according to IQ scores I'm genius. :) I'm sometimes depressed because I know more about some things and so I care more ... Anyway, I still want to boost my IQ, but I'm not obsessed with it.
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#16 Bemiller16

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 05:58 PM

That is more of a myth and the evidence is conflicting as far as I know. In general depression is equally likely whether you are more or less intelligent and in the situations where intelligence can lead to more depression there are strategies that an intelligent person can implement to 'fix' the issue at least partially.


Perhaps, but intelligent people generally feel emotions in a much deeper way and therefore if they're depressed they will be depressed to a much greater degree.


I don't know about that actually. People who are highly intelligent generally have a greater understanding of their depression because their internal verbalizations or conceptualizations are more complex and they may be able to contemplate their depression on multiple levels. Someone who is very low is much more id-driven... that is, there is less disconnect between their cognitions and their emotions. Therefore, they have less verbal or conceptual understanding of their emotional state and may consequently find themselves in a inescapable hole of despair. Rather, someone who is relatively high can contemplate the etiologies of their depressive state can utilize their (possibly) strong executive functioning skills to "plan" an escape route or develop multiple solutions to their problems.
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#17 Bemiller16

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:13 PM

Sorry I'm posting twice I haven't figured out how to delete a post.

because intelligent people have a deeper understanding of the world when they get depressed their negativity is also deeper, such as realising certain truths about life > like realising everything we do is pointless, everyone dies, can't hold onto fleeting, time doesn't exist etc so on and so forth.


Intelligent people can also delve much deeper into the realm of (as Plato so simplistically put it) Shadows. Intelligent people are not just cynical existentialists; and while they may clearly see through the shallow perspective of religion can see much more vividly into the world of quantum realities and acknowledge the existence of a world beyond what is severely limited by senses and perceptions.

such as realising certain truths about life > like realising everything we do is pointless, everyone dies, can't hold onto fleeting, time doesn't exist etc so on and so forth.


No matter how intelligent you are, you are not going to stay like that for very long. Old people are no geniuses no matter how politically incorrect that sounds. :)


This is such a broadly generalized and blatantly incorrect assumption about the largest population of people in the world.
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#18 Brafarality

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:23 PM

There is something Trainspotting about being depressed over being too intelligent. Although I often brag about various standardized test scores, etc., I have no inner ego or pride in the deep heart's core over intellect. I just feel very average on a daily basis, no better than anyone.

Why Trainspotting?:
Employment agency: "Would you describe yourself as having any shortcomings?"
Spud: "Well, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, actually. With me, it's got to be just right or it's no good at all"
(and, obviously, Spud was a wicked cool character who had a whole bunch of shortcomings other than being a perfectionist!)

I think the problem is people may get depressed from thinking too much, but not for being too intelligent. That is nonsense. No offense, but I am probably as smart as anyone to make such a claim (with no inner ego again), but could never be obnoxious enough to have such a ridiculous mental state.
My solution is that I dont think all that much. I am pretty downtuned most of the time, so people may get the wrong idea about being brighter than I am and in real life, I could care less and never get defensive, but since the web is the wild west, I just fire back vitriolic when it seems fitting.

Conclusion: People have many reasons to be depressed typically. Too much intelligence is a silly reason and should not be one of them.

However, to give due respect to the opening poster's question:
Depressed over not being able to augment intelligence beyond a certain amount?
Don't mind at all.

Edited by Brafarality, 12 November 2012 - 06:28 PM.


#19 Mind

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:26 PM

I am pretty much dumber than most people I know. It doesn't make me depressed. I do what I can. I put forth some effort. If I am helping people, then I am satisfied. If I am working for a positive future, then I don't think it matters how smart I am.
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#20 Bemiller16

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:04 AM

I am pretty much dumber than most people I know. It doesn't make me depressed. I do what I can. I put forth some effort. If I am helping people, then I am satisfied. If I am working for a positive future, then I don't think it matters how smart I am.


Well that's a relative thing anyways because it depends on the people you are hanging around. I think this is a tough topic to discuss because the definition of intelligence is so convoluted.

#21 Hope47

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:26 AM

Life is painful if you not intelligent and aware of it.

#22 khemix

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:18 PM

To the OPs original question, yes, I sometimes feel depressed by my moderate IQ. I am somewhere in the region of ~120 but work and associate with people who are 130, 140 and some even higher. I see first hand some of the things that this enables them to do when I am in a class or meeting with them. I think 130 is a good cut off as to an IQ score that makes someone intelligent. This is generally the score you need for society to let you into its most esteemed professions and it is accomplished with standardized scores such as the MCAT, GRE, and LSAT. It hurts knowing how common such a score is, 1 in 100 according to the bell curve.

I feel cheated sometimes too. I have extreme anxiety, semi-autistic personality traits, a little social awkwardness, deep understanding of the world, depression etc. Basically all the drawbacks of high intelligence except for the intelligence itself. I'm not saying that ALL intelligent people exhibit these traits but the subset that deal with quantitative subjects DO imo. Internally, I feel I have insights that people around me lack. For example, in this thread I find that a lot of people misunderstood the OPs question and sort of went off the rail in the discussion. Just little things like this I tend to pick up on all the time and I cut to the chase if you will. But no one values such a skill.

On a primitive level I suppose I like to think life owes me. I had a very rough upbringing and have a lot of issues that persist to this day. It's not nice knowing I'll never get into an Ivy League no matter how hard I try and when my work gets challenging I think about giving up because there are millions out there who can do it better. A high IQ is so enabling... and it's always on. You can get so much more out of your life because you only need to spend a fraction of the time on the work. This isn't something I dwell on too much, but when I do it is depressing being somewhere in the middle... smart enough to be aware but too dumb to make a real difference. I then begin to wonder why was I endowed with such motivation for intellectual pursuits if I'm not even among the top 1%? Or am I just trying to compensate? Hope said it best... life is painful if you are not intelligent and are aware of it. Which is why I'm here studying nootropics, hoping to one day change that.

Edited by khemix, 14 November 2012 - 07:26 PM.


#23 medievil

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:29 PM

no it allowed me to find a solution for my personal problems, only made me more happy.

#24 Raptor87

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:59 PM

I am depressed about it and it is because I don't have access to it. When I have access to it I get astonished about how everything just clicks and works. But that seldom happens!

when I have a bad day which is almost every day. It feels like my brain is suffocating from a wet towel on it. I cant focus shit, I barely hear what people say to me and I have a hard time putting things in context. I can sit in class and I feel anxiety and am very self-conscious and also conscious about everybody else. I loose my balance when I walk in front of people.

I can't form words and can't do any real intelligence demanding tasks. I feel like a drifter that doesn't get a hold on anything. Not even things I enjoy. I don't have enough energy to socialize and it's embarrassing when I am with people and need to be social, when I try to talk to them my mind just goes blank and I can't find anything to say.

So what I am trying to say is, I am very depressed because I can't be myself.

#25 Mind

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:47 PM

Here is a quote I saw the other day with which I empathized

"I am just smart enough to be frustrated with how dumb I am"

#26 Mind

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:47 PM

Here is a quote I saw the other day with which I empathized

"I am just smart enough to be frustrated with how dumb I am"

#27 Major Legend

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:35 PM

To the OPs original question, yes, I sometimes feel depressed by my moderate IQ. I am somewhere in the region of ~120 but work and associate with people who are 130, 140 and some even higher. I see first hand some of the things that this enables them to do when I am in a class or meeting with them. I think 130 is a good cut off as to an IQ score that makes someone intelligent. This is generally the score you need for society to let you into its most esteemed professions and it is accomplished with standardized scores such as the MCAT, GRE, and LSAT. It hurts knowing how common such a score is, 1 in 100 according to the bell curve.

I feel cheated sometimes too. I have extreme anxiety, semi-autistic personality traits, a little social awkwardness, deep understanding of the world, depression etc. Basically all the drawbacks of high intelligence except for the intelligence itself. I'm not saying that ALL intelligent people exhibit these traits but the subset that deal with quantitative subjects DO imo. Internally, I feel I have insights that people around me lack. For example, in this thread I find that a lot of people misunderstood the OPs question and sort of went off the rail in the discussion. Just little things like this I tend to pick up on all the time and I cut to the chase if you will. But no one values such a skill.

On a primitive level I suppose I like to think life owes me. I had a very rough upbringing and have a lot of issues that persist to this day. It's not nice knowing I'll never get into an Ivy League no matter how hard I try and when my work gets challenging I think about giving up because there are millions out there who can do it better. A high IQ is so enabling... and it's always on. You can get so much more out of your life because you only need to spend a fraction of the time on the work. This isn't something I dwell on too much, but when I do it is depressing being somewhere in the middle... smart enough to be aware but too dumb to make a real difference. I then begin to wonder why was I endowed with such motivation for intellectual pursuits if I'm not even among the top 1%? Or am I just trying to compensate? Hope said it best... life is painful if you are not intelligent and are aware of it. Which is why I'm here studying nootropics, hoping to one day change that.


I am all of those things apart from the extreme anxiety part.

#28 medievil

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:48 PM

I prob have one of the worst iq's when i do a iq test, cant even imagine sitting down and thinking about the first 5 questions, also mates dont know my smart side, i couldnt give a fuck about "being like" "smart people" who the fuck cares, everyone is smart in their own way

I used to be like others, felt betrayed i wasnt normal socially and did social things like others till i fixed myself and got far beyond what i wanted to be lol.
If your smart fix yourself and stop wining:)

heck i wasnt just socially akward, in my shizo amp days made a huge fool of myself on even online fora, even there i didnt fit in lol but in the end its all good

unfortionally risk taking is the key for many... just trying prozac doesnt fix many up i worried many with my experimentation but i prob made the biggest u turn in my life around here.

Edited by medievil, 15 November 2012 - 01:51 PM.


#29 medievil

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

Here is a quote I saw the other day with which I empathized

"I am just smart enough to be frustrated with how dumb I am"

socially succesfull ppl no matter how dumb they are find themself smart and sexy, haha its true.
Its a bad thing to be frustrated about

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#30 medievil

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:07 PM

That is more of a myth and the evidence is conflicting as far as I know. In general depression is equally likely whether you are more or less intelligent and in the situations where intelligence can lead to more depression there are strategies that an intelligent person can implement to 'fix' the issue at least partially.


Perhaps, but intelligent people generally feel emotions in a much deeper way and therefore if they're depressed they will be depressed to a much greater degree.


If i was born like i am on stims i would be a dumb extroverted average outgoing person, but less reward for social activity's made me spend alot of the time improving intelligence, also far more more emotional without stims.

Its the brain




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