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Is Intelligence a Curse?

If ignorance is bliss, is intelligence a curse?

Intelligence makes a person aware of things that the ignorant go through life not knowing. Sometimes knowledge is a heavy weight. We are not talking about a learned knowledge such as who stared in what television show, but rather a deeper understanding, a mind that puts things together on its own. The ability to solve puzzles, logic questions, and equations is often considered the abilities of an intelligent mind.

Intelligence comes up with conspiracy theories as a way of keeping the mind occupied, rather than just following what it is told. The mind almost cannot help itself.

Intelligence does not accept simple answers, it searches for its own answers. To this extent studies have shown people with higher intelligence often deny religious followings. Where as other people find peace in believing in a higher power and an afterlife – the intelligent person does not have that easy answer.

Intelligent minds constantly want to be busy… they are always thinking. This means they are not content unless their mind is busy, and sometimes even a busy mind comes up with horrible things.

In dogs we see what intelligence does, smart dogs being the ones most likely to get into trouble if left on their own for longer periods of time.

Image via Wikipedia A Border Collie, often considered one of the most intelligent dogs.

Intelligent people sometimes cross ethical lines. They almost cannot help themselves. To this extent we have people growing ears on the backs of mice, cloning other animals, and a whole other avenue of things.

An intelligent persons mind is always going, they often have troubles sleeping at night because their minds do not shut off.

Intelligence has had the human race destroy its own environment, where as other creatures mostly live in harmony with their surroundings.  Intelligence has brought us to a point where we have polluted the skies, water, and land, all because we can.

We consider ourselves the smartest species, but no other species has done so much damage that they may be responsible for their own demise due to their lifestyle.  Over population and nuclear threat being the two things the United Nations (and many scientists) now consider the biggest threats to humanities continued existance. 

Ignorance is bliss. Lower intelligent people are often happier. They do not need more out of life than basic survival needs. Look at anyone with what we call a mental handicap, and you will usually see a smiling face.

To make a comparison, a highly intelligent Border Collie put in the lower lifestyle of a Shih Tzu would destroy the house in no time as it looks for things to keep its mind active. Both are dogs, we are not comparing two different types of animals. In humans the same occurs. Humans with higher intelligences need mental activity to keep them satisfied but sometimes that satisfaction comes with all kinds of problems that knowledge brings.

Image via Wikipedia  A Shih Tzu, often considered one of the less intelligent dogs. 

Take the paradox that intelligent people are likely to have smaller families, and start having kids later in life. 

Intelligent people, being responsible and globally aware, are now having smaller families, by choice. Since intelligence is partially inherited, will this result in a dumbing of the planet? Of course intelligent people are highly aware that a human overpopulation crisis is imminent, so encouraging them to have more kids simply is not going to happen. And thus we have a paradox. They see the problem, but are unable to stop it, and the lower intelligence people, are in denial that a problem exists at all, and keep reproducing.

Yes, ignorance is a bliss.

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  1. martie

    On October 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm


    very interesting perspective.

  2. ken bultman

    On October 22, 2009 at 1:09 pm


    Another brilliant poser. After due consideration I like to think that I am blissfully cursed. I sleep well but can still do the crosswords.

  3. mo hoyal

    On October 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm


    Ken, what a trip you are!

    B. this is another very good one from you and very interesting. I am certainly not bragging on my intelligence but have often wished to have the happy bliss of a sort of ignorant, fat fisherman’s wife! I do see how ignorance can be bliss! Now, I’ll probably get in trouble for this comment but it’s not intended to be offensive-it’s just a saying that was going around a long time ago. Waiting for your next article!

  4. PR Mace

    On October 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm


    Quite a question you have put forth. I think it is not the level of intelliegence a person has but how they use it. A smart person also needs some common sense.I see many highly intelligence people with no common sense.

  5. Sourav

    On October 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm


    Very nicely written article!

  6. Olivia Reason

    On October 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm


    Good writing- and an interesting perspective. Learning new things makes me happy- but I have often learned things that made me sad to think about later…and wished I could unlearn it.

  7. ceegirl

    On October 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm


    Interesting

  8. Hollywood James

    On October 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm


    Great piece! Although I wll disagree with your statement that people who are responsible and “globally” aware are intelligent. Quite the contrary in my opinion. An intelligent person will understand that the Earth has survived for as long as it has because it has the ability to correct problems it encounters. For millions of years the Earth has survived earthquakes, flash floods, ice ages, fires, volcanic eruptions, droughts, hurricanes, and even being bombarded by asteroids and/or meteors. An intelligent person would understand that the human race cannot destroy the Earth. The human race can cause damage, but the Earth will correct itself. To believe that the human race is such a superior being that it has the power to save the planet as well as destroy it, is rather naive and NOT very intelligent thinking.

  9. Petalm

    On October 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm


    Good article.

  10. postpunkpixie

    On October 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm


    Interesting and very true. I heard when I was up at Oxford that its university has one of the highest rates of mental health issues in the country. There definitely seems to be correlation between intelligence and depression.

  11. B Nelson

    On October 22, 2009 at 10:15 pm


    I want to clarify 2 things – Intelligence and Education are two different things…
    also as far as overpopulation – while it wont destroy the entire planet.. it can and probably will destroy our chances for continued existance as a species.

  12. papaleng

    On October 22, 2009 at 11:11 pm


    That was a very good question you have shared? And such a detailed explanation of your insights. But, could we compare man’s intelligence with that of dog? Just a question my friend.

  13. writing4angels

    On October 22, 2009 at 11:40 pm


    very true sometimes knowledge is a burden.

  14. Vikram Chhabra

    On October 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm


    I have found myself asking the same questions many a time…:-)

    Well said!!

  15. Lostash

    On October 23, 2009 at 7:41 pm


    I hope that low intelligence is not inherited in all cases, and you’re right about active minds too. Need to be kept busy at all times!

  16. deep blue

    On October 25, 2009 at 2:51 am


    Hmmmnn. Very well thought.Sometimes ignorance is selective. There are many people with high IQ but were plainly lazy to be educated. On the contrary, there are intelligent ones being kept as lab rats because they have no knowledge of their handlers bad intentions they were tasked at or they maybe the ones anticipating a future and work towards it to avert any undesirable consequence.

  17. Daisy Peasblossom

    On October 25, 2009 at 9:44 am


    The comments on this article were almost as much fun as the article. I\\\\\\\’ve seen what happens to the mentally challenged in this world, and I think I\\\\\\\’ll vote for intelligence. It may not be blissful, but it is very functional. It allows me to spend my cash on paper before going to the store (so..no surprises when i get there), and to plan my up-coming week, as well as being able to cope with the surprises when they inevitably come along.

  18. I Have Had Enough

    On March 14, 2010 at 11:23 am


    As a dumbass, I’ll just say I smiled while reading this (or looking at the pictures). I must be really intelligent, my siblings all had kids of their own by the time they were 20, and I didn\’t have my first until I was 28.

  19. BradONeill

    On March 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm


    What you describe is schizophrenia not really intelligence. The schizophrenic is often highly intelligent because their minds make multiple connections very rapidly this degenerates into paranoia and making connections that don’t really exist as the disease progresses.

    As far as humans being bad for the environment I disagree. We are part of the world and we bend it to our needs. since our species is currently thriving I think we are doing ok.

  20. Brenda Nelson

    On March 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm


    In regards to Brads comment.. Humans are thriving in some parts of the world.. dying in others.. but over all we have caused amazing destruction to the planet and are the cause of the holocene extinction event.
    http://scienceray.com/biology/ecology/the-holocene-extinction-event/

  21. Karen Gross

    On March 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm


    Highly intellegent people are less likely to be religious.But the ones who do become Christians are usually more knowledgeable about the Bible and better able to express their beliefs and defend their faith.

  22. BeatsMe

    On March 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm


    I don’t know. Although this is a nice article, I don’t think that it will result in dumbing of the planet. Many intelligent people are born to parents with average intelligence. I also don’t think that ignorance is bliss, it can sometimes be a curse.

  23. FunkyFi

    On April 27, 2010 at 11:08 am


    A thought-provoking read and one that highlights problems bigger than Ben Hur. However, we all have to start somewhere and collective action is a very powerful thing. I agree with one of the first comments – it depends on how you use your intelligence. Also your awareness of what is going on around you and to take an objective look at the bigger picture is one of the best things we can do to help ourselves. Keep in mind though there are always those who have low levels of education but are very bright and \’switched on\’, some of them go on to make squillions or help other people but for people even just being able to make a conscious decision to leave their dire circumstances and better their lives where the majority don\’t shows an inherit sense of intelligence.

  24. jack

    On May 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm


    Interesting how you, a so called, “Intelligent person”, is making your argument solely on the destructive habits of dogs and reduction in family size in what i assume you are gathering from the middle and upper classes. My assumption that you view yourself as intelligent is solely based on you writing this article, doubtful a dumb person can have this kind of introspection (while still being considered dumb). I wish only to show that your concluding statement has very little power behind it, as this blog post is your attempt to circumvent the boredom you are experiencing; a rather meager attempt, not even close to the rampant destruction by dogs and the infestation of dumb people suggest.

  25. Brenda Nelson

    On May 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm


    to jack

    I was once asked if I would rather be prettier or smarter.. I said prettier, because to be honest, I think I am kinda blah looking, plus I just don’t want to know more stuff than I already do.

    A lot of people do not understand what intelligence is. Its not how smart you are.

    Nor am I bored.

    Intelligent dogs (and intelligent beings of all types) when bored become destructive…. when did I say I was bored and destructive?

  26. IceC80

    On September 9, 2010 at 9:47 pm


    A lot of what you said sounds like it would make sense. Are there studies to back up your claim? I was wondering if the cliche was correct one day and found out that I could only find papers that showed that it wasn’t correct. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough?

    Yet, I always wish for the days when I was a child and not aware of as much as I am now. I think I was a lot more carefree and willing to try things without as much apprehension. I would like to be irresponsible and get a random job in a random location doing whatever I want, but I just can’t help thinking about the possible consequences. Now I feel trapped in my educational pursuits…yuck….

  27. Thomas

    On October 19, 2010 at 11:04 am


    Great article. I would argue that the reason for intelligent people having fewer children later stems more from their financial foresight. \”Ignorant\” or \”unintelligent\” people would likely not care as much about the financial burden that having children can have on their lifestyle.

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