grade 1, teacher used to enjoy holding me in front of the class, telling "this is [name], he thinks he's special, he likes attention" and have the other kids point and laugh at me before starting class.
Was evaluated by psychologist, I remember I was given stupid puzzles, the kind you played with in kindergarten, asking me to complete them, I was offended by this and refused, she pushed me and I did a few before breaking down from being treated like an imbecile. Test showed I was probably not.
grade 3, handed in assignment in basic, we were supposed to write a story, and I wrote a small program with arrays of words, and arrays of indexes to print the story.. Teacher told me it didn't count to "write some hieroglyphs", I told he it was a program, she explained to me "it's not possible to just make a program".
These set the tone of my further education. Still working to get past those (and so many more) events. I still feel like I'm worthless. Thanks school! I still got to be a software developer though.
In first grade my sister had to write the first letters of pictures. The teacher corrected her: "No, no. Fff.Fff... Flower starts with F."
My sister: "No, no. Tuh ..tuh .. tulip starts with T."
Teacher had the nerve to call my mom and tell her my sister had been disrespectful.
Teacher: OK, who can start a sentence with "I"?
Student: I is...
Teacher: No, no no, it's "I am..."
Student: I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.
yeah, i'm with the teacher on this one. you didn't complete the assignment. At grade 3, a lot of the value in homework is simply in learning how to do homework correctly. You didn't do the homework correctly, so it absolutley shouldn't have counted to "write some hieroglyphs".
In other words: turning the respective pupil into a virtuously working machine.
Fortunately the teacher wasn't stupid, and as I could perfectly read and write and knew everything I was supposed to learn before Christmas, I spent the rest of the year reading books in the back of the classroom.
My main problem always was that I never, ever needed a single effort and never learned anything at school, up until University. So I never worked and just passed because it was all so easy and boring. So I never learned to work and every teacher (and parents) always enraged because I could have had so much better grades but why bother?
I is 1
The variable I is storing the number 1.
They all mean the same thing. Programmers were taught that the first one is best. Because it is accurate and concise. What you call coherence introduces the risk of misunderstanding.
There is the age-old cliche of intelligent people finding 'normal people' dull. That idea starts to fade when you really, truly embed yourself in another person's life, or they manage to embed themselves in yours before you realize that's what's happening.
Regardless, it's not all hopeless. It's a harder path, for sure, but it can be traveled.
I'm manifestly not a genius, not by a long stretch, but I am an outlier along several axes. Still, when I was younger I was certainly guilty of thinking along these lines and so, perhaps, it's just maturity that's changed me.
As time has gone on what strikes me again and again about the quality of an "average" life lived well (partner, children, family, home, job) more than anything else is its richness. I know it's not easy, but neither is it dull, and the joys and triumphs of it are real. I envy those who possess it and I'm glad for them in equal measure.
(You can of course argue that this is simply a "grass is always greener" mentality, but I believe that can often be a weak and lazy argument deployed when someone is unable to come up something better on their own. That said, what I've expressed above is my own point of view, and I acknowledge that it's by no means universal.)
Does it, though? I mean, the part when you're discovering another human's story is interesting, but for me, that was always modulated by the feelings I had that made this person feel special. Beyond that, once the feelings fade or when there are none involved, I've always found the - to quote 'bartread - ""average" life lived well (partner, children, family, home, job)" to be very dull. Soap-opera level boring. IME, people get boring once they start living this average life. They forget their dreams, their own insights about the world, their own goals - everything that made them interesting and special - and engage in the age-old pattern of "partner, children, family, home, job, retirement, death".
Or maybe I'm saying it wrong. People do get interesting with enough effort. It takes a lot of effort to dig through these layers of "average life well lived", to find and remind them of their old-forgotten passions and thoughts, and only then you get to have interesting conversations about molecular biology, or anthropology, or that time they wanted to be an actor, or how can we improve our community - as opposed to talking about diapers, who married whom, who just had a kid, and how we all don't have money.
I'm probably an outlier here. I don't claim above-average intelligence, but I do find "normalcy" boring and sort-of pointless, in a recursive, self-propagating way.
I found all of these "ordinary" things in life to be quite extraordinary when they happened to me!
Maybe I'm just a cynical misanthrope, but I'm not very interested in the mundane minutiae of other people's lives, nor do I expect them to be very interested in the mundane minutiae of mine. It would be quite weird if all seven billion of us were innately fascinating.
An interesting question is how interestingness is distributed. A normal distribution seems plausible, but while I can think of people who are three-sigma interesting, I'm not sure I could think of someone who is three-sigma dull. Mass media would seem to suggest that a power-law distribution is more likely - most of us are really rather boring, but there's a long tail of exceptionally interesting people.
On the contrary, you seem to have restricted the category of interesting things so tightly that you're not noticing a whole treasure trove of things.
Seriously, were I to be given a chance to spent an hour with a random baby (!= my baby, that's a different thing) vs. an hour with a random comic book, I'd pick the comic book every time.
Can we admit that just because we're socially expected to consider something the cutest and most best thing in the world, doesn't mean it's actually all that interesting?
You can know other people or anything for that matter only as a reflection in your own mind. The most interesting thing starts when you realize that you don't know pretty much anything.
> From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes. Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to permit of inferential understanding or even of mutual empathy or "feeling into" ... But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even nonexistent. The mind is its own place, and the places inhabited by the insane and the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling.
'Genius' goes one of two ways. Either they have a good support system around them (usually meaning money) and advance, then later have chance for entrepreneurship and a career they can advance at their own pace (meaning quicker than average). Or they are stuck in a system designed for average people and they get bored then act out, become depressed, etc...
I can relate somewhat. I could speak very young. Could read at 2. Could speak, read and write two languages and use computers (we're talking old IBM PCs pre-Windows, when hardly any normal people used computers) at 4. Was always in advanced classes through school. Built (somewhat crude) robots and did computer programming in elementary school.
Of course, none of this provided me with particularly great social skills, so eventually I gave up on intellectual pursuits and plied myself with drugs and alcohol. In adulthood wound up working several careers, playing poker professionally and travelling for awhile, did some day-trading, did a bunch of university, but I mostly enjoy eating, drinking, travelling, and hanging out with my girlfriend.
Anyhow, the gist of it is that being on an 'advanced' path in my youth wasn't particularly great. Not sure if I'm was 'cursed' genius or a somewhat intelligent person with a mental disorder (ADHD, bipolar?). Building a business now so wouldn't say I'm unsuccessful, but certainly not what I imagined when I was younger. Then again, I'm also far happier today.
I'd be interested in hearing what changes to society you think you would have made things better for you. Also, in the absence of any societal changes, do you think your parents should have done anything differently?
The do things way earlier than anybody else but then they stop developing at a normal adult level. Like the kid Terenci Moix that was deciphering adult Egypt hieroglyphs being six years old or so and doing other extraordinary things for his age, but then it stopped developing.
I believe when we talk about "social skills" what is just genuine interest for other people becomes a set of skills, like mathematics, or physics. It becomes in a way sociopathic by itself, as we are using others as tools for our own development without considering them.
It is more about being emotional and letting yourself go in freedom around others, instead of trying to control everything around you.
I have both sides, I could be highly analytical, but also deeply emotional. For me it is wrong trying to make anything analytical, a "skill" to master.
Anyone can see the same patterns being applied to different problems in repetition with enough time.
That gets boring to those who find no value in tangential rewards. Escaping that with idealism for understanding solely demands more, and I think that's the biggest identifier for lasting genius versus that which is emphemeral / trendy.
It doesn't imply genius but it is indicative of genius recognized beyond youth. Wisdom, common sense - those are either attributed imprecisely or incorrectly.
Any straw to explain away that my attitude could be a problem for society. Only way to progress is shift the nay sayers out of gear in emergencies.
Most of what I think seems obvious. For example, the ability to ask simple questions in the moment is a skill anyone can learn. For the highest level poker player, analytical thoughts are rather systemic but require emotional and intellectual control.
Had I focused on any one thing, I think I could had been a brilliant programmer, physicist, poker player etc. But I haven’t. I’ve been cursed by entrepreneurship, activism, esoteric ideas and other things that have had low utility.
While I’m ambivalent about most people’s intellect, for truly gifted people I’m somewhat intimidated by them. (Like many yc founders.) Like, oh I could never execute that life plan and business in the way they did because it’s perfect.
My point is I think it’s all about process. Asking questions, reasoning from first principles, obsessive focus, curiosity and resiliency will make any person gifted.
Additionally, a lot of people mistake learned knowledge or implicit social values for intelligence, and so it can take a long time in a new environment to be able to actually demonstrate to anyone that you're intelligent.
I know this isn't the primary point of your comment, but it can quite easy to not feel very intelligent in a lot circumstances.
People that are smarter than average rarely think that what they do is particularly mind-blowing. And a lot of it is really not Rainman-esque transcendent intelligence. But the reality is that the baseline of what most people are capable of is so very low. A huge percentage of people are laboring with short-term memory deficits, learning disabilities, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and a whole host of things that make basic logic and planning very difficult for them.
I wonder if this isn't survivorship bias.
I will refrain from the "G"-word and say I went to college at 16 and skipped trigonometry because I knew enough about SOH CAH TOA to work around the other details - it was just a subset of geometry so I didn't get why it was considered the more advanced class. B-average Computer Engineering student. Not the best luck with careers or self starting with side projects - late ADHD diagnosis which in retrospect made sense didn't come up too much because I found most of the stuff interesting.
Anyway my personal suspicion is that much of the curse comes from mismatch with society and its paradigms and the difficulty of finding kindred spirits.
It often feels like the masses are barking mad and yet you are the crazy one for pointing out it makes no goddamned sense.
Like charging a teen as an adult - especially for status offenses like sexting. Practically nobody questions the hypocrisy of "treated as a minor until we find it convenient otherwise" or takes the "insufficiently functioning brain argument" to give a cut off age to elder votes because we can't trust them to be fulky functioning mentally.
Or the interviewing process judging people on suits and posture is batshit insane, that they find people incapable of or not mimicking their tone less trustworthy for being insufficiently deceptive and more.
If the G factor if intelligence is really "general," won't it also improve your ability to posture and choose suits?
Really so strange. I'm just trying to see how lonely he must have felt having to keep to himself.
But I also don’t think Feynman was a genius the way Einstein was. AFAIK, his math skills didn’t stand out and his main contributions seemed to be about making physics more accessible and teaching.
I don't believe that is right. From WP:
When Feynman was 15, he taught himself trigonometry, advanced algebra, infinite series, analytic geometry, and both differential and integral calculus. Before entering college, he was experimenting with and deriving mathematical topics such as the half-derivative using his own notation. He created special symbols for logarithm, sine, cosine and tangent functions so they did not look like three variables multiplied together, and for the derivative, to remove the temptation of canceling out the d's. A member of the Arista Honor Society, in his last year in high school he won the New York University Math Championship.
Feynman had it easier in this sense: more shoulders to stand on, less radical theories to develop, and was less alone in terms of peers.
IMO Feynman and Einstein are comparable.
Having to emigrate also makes one more lonely. You would need to compare other people in similar situation to see whether he is unusually lonely.
The problem with current methodology is we mostly measure intelligence strictly through very few standard categories like mathematics. Sure, mathematics is a universal language for everything in life, but to thrive in a human society it requires many more skills than just math. It's almost a given that when you have a gifted child measured by one of those standard categories, this kid often would have some types of deficiency in other areas that have not been measured because they are unestablished.
10% of human population have the genetics that provide them with much higher capabilities than the rest in some certain areas. Though this would take enormous effort, but if we provide adequate support to compensate for the areas where they lack, this should help raising them to a level matching the areas where they really excel, and thus achieving a higher overall equilibrium state. However, because the rest of our society is still operating at a much lower baseline, so even then it's always going to be a challenge for these individuals to fit in. Maybe they are just ahead, or behind, of our time in terms of evolutionary development?
You mention "higher equilibrium" further in the comment, but I think it needs to be said explicitly: the trade-off only exists if you're at 100% utilization. If all the aspects you're balancing add up to less than 100% of your capabilities, you can improve all of them simultaneously without having to trade anything off.
When you work in the valley for any period of time you think you might have a shot, and you might. If you get a chance to meet one of the founders of a well known valley company and have a conversation the realization that luck had nothing to do with their success should happen. Its truly humbling to meet a genius and get a glimpse of how their brain works.
That said talent, genius, and drive certainly are factors even with priviledged upbringing like needing money for education, seed capital and ability to dedicate their timr without side jobs. While self-made men, women and nonbinaries are rare and rarer still without posers - there are some who if they were born poorer would only have had their rise delayed by a decade at most.
In contrast others who are peak "idiot heir" prove that it isn't /just/ privilege that brings success as they find ruin no matter their connections, starting wealth, and a futile attempt by their parents to teach how to perpetuate their birthright.
Given two people in the same place with the same opportunity you will see the difference. Yes chaos can happen and create challenges. Genius rises above it.
>Among these individuals, the incidence of depression, anxiety and ADHD is higher than in the average population.
how is adhd linked to gifted children?, i find this fact interesting...
But I've always lacked in social skills. Such skills, that to me seem innate in other people, I've had to work to acquire (or maybe learn to fake). As though other people have a dedicated coprocessor for these things and can do them more or less effortlessly whereas I have to use lots and lots of CPU cycles to figure out what other people expect from me. This means that social interactions cost quite a bit of energy and I often have to zone out to recuperate. Which in turn means that social interactions distract me from achieving some of what my supposedly very-much-above-average raw intellect should allow. Most other people seem to "feel" much more than I do, and I think I "think" more than most.
Still, I like it inside my head and I wouldn't want to have it any other way.
They diagnose pretty much any child who can't sit still in class with ADHD. Lots of gifted children are bored by school, which the authorities see as a disorder since most teachers don't care (or don't have to time) to bother giving any students individual attention, and the system is ill equipped to provide gifted students with more learning opportunities.
What is a pair?
Most kids say either “socks” or “a fruit” (because hearing pair in this sentence is indeed ambiguous...)
The answer they really wanted was “two of something”.