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Intelligent people and unhappiness


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#1    ascendant606

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:22 AM

What is happiness? Often times what we perceive as happiness are things that are necessary for survival. Food, jokes (which are a sign of one’s intelligence, which is important for survival), reproduction, love and companionship all make us happy. But why then is it the most intelligent people that are the least happy? Could it be that we are flawed in the sense that were are too intelligent for our own good to the point of causing inner turmoil and distress, leading to depression and suicide? Could that be the reason for few people having high cognitive functions? Could it be we intelligent people are actually so intelligent it makes us less functional and capable human beings? Think of it this way: If we are so intelligent as to question everything, and we question questioning things like I am right now, would we live a day if we were in pre-historic times? There is a saying that everyone resists change, but that is an eternal paradox within itself. If we question whether or not we need to change, and question if the changes Mother Nature is gradually doing is right, then how can we be sure what is wrong or right? We question things that are indefinite, things that we cannot be sure about and change is one of those things. We will be forever questioning whether or not we should change, because we will question change, then question questioning change, then question questioning questioning change. It never ends, it’s like trying not to be mainstream in high school. Inadvertently if you try to be not mainstream in high school and everyone else tries to not be mainstream as well, then you will inadvertently be mainstream by not being mainstream. This is the same with change and any life decision. People that are less intelligent do not have these same questioning thoughts, and easily choose to embrace or block change making them more adaptable and easier to survive; ergo making them happier.

But why do we want to survive? Are we being somehow tricked into living? Or is it that the reason intelligent, questioning people are not happy? Because we question and doubt even our most fundamental instincts and question questioning those. It gets to the point where you need something to take your mind off of thoughts like this, for me its reading. But this just gives me more thoughts, making me question even more things so I turned to music. But then that just brings up the question of why do I like music. It’s like an eternal circle of questioning and doubting. Maybe that’s why intelligent people aren’t as happy as others. Happiness is dependent upon comfort for most people, and what makes us comfortable? Food, relaxing and other things that we find comfortable often times are an extension of the very topic of survival we were discussing earlier. When you are relaxing, more times than not it is because you have done everything your mind thinks has to be done to survive. That’s why we crave relaxation, because we feel happy and ready to face whatever we need to face in life because we have completed all tasks needed for survival. When we intentionally relax without finishing our daily needs for survival, it is not near as enjoyable as your mind will keep thinking of the thing that you neglected to do. This is important, because this shows with too many thoughts in your head you often times do not feel content and comfortable, and this is part of what makes you happy. More intelligent people often times find it near impossible to stop thinking sometimes with their questioning and etcetera, leading them to feel less content; ergo making them less happy.

On a physical level however, an intellegent person may be able to make more money, giving them more possesions and wealth but is materlistic happiness really worth anything if you aren't mentally happy?

Do you agree?

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

― Albert Einstein

#2    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:49 AM

Life is suffering.  We are always a little uncomfortable, have aches and pains and itches all the time, we worry and fret and grieve and lose our tempers.  We lose face or money, we become addicted to things, we get fat or have pimples or gray hair or no hair.  Our children disappoint or disobey us, our country does stupid things and the wrong candidate wins the election.  Then to top it all off our ball team has a lousy season.

You know something, nevertheless we generally are happy.  Why we should be is a mystery but there it is.


#3    StarMountainKid

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:07 AM

I think intelligence is something separate from thought. We can question everything in the manner you state, but is that effort really related to intelligence? In a way it is, as you describe, as a function of being more aware of indefinite imponderables, but this is mere intellectualizing. I think intelligence is more than that.

Intelligence is seeing clearly what is. When we see clearly what is, we see clearly the status of all these questioning thoughts. We put them in their own category, so to speak. We recognize them for what they are. Just questions.

(I really don't like the word 'happy', it's sort of a frivolous word with many personal definitions. I'd rather use delight or joyful or wisely content with one's self.)

Anyway, happiness may be a condition that is also not related to thought. Someone who realizes what their intelligence actually is would automatically become 'happy'.  This may sound like a bold statement, or a presumptuous one, but when we are quietly fully aware of the present moment, what is is just what is, and this is enough for us, and we smile. I think this kind of silent alert attention is our intelligence. This is our happiness.

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#4    ascendant606

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:26 AM

Great thoughts, I agree with the "living in the moment" idea you brought up. Maybe I should rephrase intellgence as thoughtfullness, the definition of intellegence itslef could be its own forum due to the many ways to interpert it. In order "live in the moment" so to speak, it requires you to stop questioning things, so would the answer to being content with oneself (happy) be to push your thoughts aside and just focus on the physical things around you? The reason I correlate thoughts and happiness together is because I find it hard to be happy when you can't stop thinking of things, espicially when they are grim. The easiest way to stop thinking I suppose would be to occupy yourself. I find it is not the bad things in life that reduces my happiness, but rather the realization of the bad things people are willing to do to others. Another solution might be to just be content knowing that people will do bad things no matter how I try to prevent others from doing them, but why will they do it when they know it will make another less "happy"? To make themselves happy? These people probobly don't suffer from these thoughts, so are they more happy because they suffer from less thoughts of morality?

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

― Albert Einstein

#5    Render

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:16 PM

This has already been proven to be a very dated theory. There is no correlation.

It's not because you overthink things you are suddenly more intelligent. Maybe even the contrary, because you tend to get stuck in pointless thoughts and become a slave to your emotions instead being able to control yourself and the direction of your life.


#6    Sherapy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:52 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 08 March 2013 - 07:49 AM, said:

Life is suffering.  We are always a little uncomfortable, have aches and pains and itches all the time, we worry and fret and grieve and lose our tempers.  We lose face or money, we become addicted to things, we get fat or have pimples or gray hair or no hair.  Our children disappoint or disobey us, our country does stupid things and the wrong candidate wins the election.  Then to top it all off our ball team has a lousy season.

You know something, nevertheless we generally are happy.  Why we should be is a mystery but there it is.


I do not disagree with this, I would just mention that although the reality of life can be harrowing/suck at times, it is also  wonderful at times. The sense of accomplishment that would come from losing lots of weight, the sense of intimacy that would come from cultivating a quality relationship, The joy of child like wonder and curiosity, falling in love.  I am going to find happiness in different ways than you are certainly, but never the less life has a duality.




#7    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:02 PM

I don't know why, but I think it has something to do with enjoying life.


#8    Sherapy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:10 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 08 March 2013 - 05:02 PM, said:

I don't know why, but I think it has something to do with enjoying life.


Can you expand on your meaning here. I am interested in your thoughts.




#9    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:10 PM

As a Buddhist I am supposed to say that life is a b**** and then we die.  That's kinda the theme I took earlier this evening, but obviously I'm happy.  Most Vietnamese are -- by my observation happier than most Americans -- at least in terms of smiles and hugs and laughs.

I went to the neighborhood temple this Tet to make my annual contribution.  As I gave the old monk my envelope he starts laughing. I think it had to do with the trouble I had getting on my knees and then getting back up again and how solicitous the people around me were, seeing my situation.  You old idiot, he is thinking.  You know we don't demand that you do that, so why do you?  Pride?  Oh well . . ..

Of course I just guess, but this sort of living experience makes me happy.

Normally I have my children, my friends, my music, my cats and dogs and fish (oh, and now a couple of Australian budgies my grandson brought over a few days ago, with huge floor-to-ceiling cage for them to fly around in).

Since I've been laid-up I have a lot of free time and spend it on the computer talking with good people like you.  That also makes me happy.


#10    Einsteinium

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:42 PM

I do not think it is intelligence in and of itself that leads to unhappiness. I think it is much more dependent on your environment and the people you surround yourself with. If you are intelligent and you find yourself constantly surrounded by fools- that may make you unhappy (it would me) because you are unable to have deep and thoughtful conversations with the people around you. This in turn can make you feel isolated and alone which does make you unhappy. But if you are intelligent and you are surrounded by intelligent people who you can have deep and interesting conversations with then you will probably be happier. I think that a lot of intelligent kids who find themselves surrounded by morons in the public school system, and a school system which does not challenge them tend to be more unhappy than their peers, and they cannot usually change their situation.

In my opinion it (happiness) has a lot more to do with the people you surround yourself with, and the way in which you chose to look at the world, than your intelligence level.

-Einsteinium


#11    White Crane Feather

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:01 PM

View Postascendant606, on 08 March 2013 - 07:22 AM, said:

What is happiness? Often times what we perceive as happiness are things that are necessary for survival. Food, jokes (which are a sign of oneís intelligence, which is important for survival), reproduction, love and companionship all make us happy. But why then is it the most intelligent people that are the least happy? Could it be that we are flawed in the sense that were are too intelligent for our own good to the point of causing inner turmoil and distress, leading to depression and suicide? Could that be the reason for few people having high cognitive functions? Could it be we intelligent people are actually so intelligent it makes us less functional and capable human beings? Think of it this way: If we are so intelligent as to question everything, and we question questioning things like I am right now, would we live a day if we were in pre-historic times? There is a saying that everyone resists change, but that is an eternal paradox within itself. If we question whether or not we need to change, and question if the changes Mother Nature is gradually doing is right, then how can we be sure what is wrong or right? We question things that are indefinite, things that we cannot be sure about and change is one of those things. We will be forever questioning whether or not we should change, because we will question change, then question questioning change, then question questioning questioning change. It never ends, itís like trying not to be mainstream in high school. Inadvertently if you try to be not mainstream in high school and everyone else tries to not be mainstream as well, then you will inadvertently be mainstream by not being mainstream. This is the same with change and any life decision. People that are less intelligent do not have these same questioning thoughts, and easily choose to embrace or block change making them more adaptable and easier to survive; ergo making them happier.

But why do we want to survive? Are we being somehow tricked into living? Or is it that the reason intelligent, questioning people are not happy? Because we question and doubt even our most fundamental instincts and question questioning those. It gets to the point where you need something to take your mind off of thoughts like this, for me its reading. But this just gives me more thoughts, making me question even more things so I turned to music. But then that just brings up the question of why do I like music. Itís like an eternal circle of questioning and doubting. Maybe thatís why intelligent people arenít as happy as others. Happiness is dependent upon comfort for most people, and what makes us comfortable? Food, relaxing and other things that we find comfortable often times are an extension of the very topic of survival we were discussing earlier. When you are relaxing, more times than not it is because you have done everything your mind thinks has to be done to survive. Thatís why we crave relaxation, because we feel happy and ready to face whatever we need to face in life because we have completed all tasks needed for survival. When we intentionally relax without finishing our daily needs for survival, it is not near as enjoyable as your mind will keep thinking of the thing that you neglected to do. This is important, because this shows with too many thoughts in your head you often times do not feel content and comfortable, and this is part of what makes you happy. More intelligent people often times find it near impossible to stop thinking sometimes with their questioning and etcetera, leading them to feel less content; ergo making them less happy.

On a physical level however, an intellegent person may be able to make more money, giving them more possesions and wealth but is materlistic happiness really worth anything if you aren't mentally happy?

Do you agree?
My personal opinion is that our mode of existence is out if sync with nature. As a species our intelligence has takeing us out of Nearly everything we evolved for, and has enslaved us To unimportant things.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#12    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:04 PM

View Postascendant606, on 08 March 2013 - 07:22 AM, said:

1. What is happiness? Often times what we perceive as happiness are things that are necessary for survival. Food, jokes (which are a sign of one’s intelligence, which is important for survival), reproduction, love and companionship all make us happy. But why then is it the most intelligent people that are the least happy? Could it be that we are flawed in the sense that were are too intelligent for our own good to the point of causing inner turmoil and distress, leading to depression and suicide?

2. Could that be the reason for few people having high cognitive functions? Could it be we intelligent people are actually so intelligent it makes us less functional and capable human beings? Think of it this way: If we are so intelligent as to question everything, and we question questioning things like I am right now, would we live a day if we were in pre-historic times?

3. But why do we want to survive? Are we being somehow tricked into living? Or is it that the reason intelligent, questioning people are not happy? Because we question and doubt even our most fundamental instincts and question questioning those. It gets to the point where you need something to take your mind off of thoughts like this, for me its reading.

4. On a physical level however, an intellegent person may be able to make more money, giving them more possesions and wealth but is materlistic happiness really worth anything if you aren't mentally happy?

Do you agree?

I dont agree. Depression is a mental illness it isnt caused by a persons intelligence levels.

Answers to the above selected points -
1. Happyness and unhappyness are not real things because they have no material existance. They are simply ways of thinking with the person who suffers from depression having dark-negative thoughts. In psychology they cure depression by teaching a person correct ways of thinking and its called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
2. The problem isnt how intelligent the mind is its the type of perceptions you allow yourself to have. Anybody can ground themselves in dark-negative thoughts and lead themselves into the abyss. People that do havent learnt to manage their own perceptions so they need teaching it with CBT.
3. Why the doubt? Intelligent people dont doubt themselves people who have problems in the way they think doubt themselves. You've identifed your problem as being the way you think without realising it.
4. You dont acquire happy because it has no material existance. If you try to acquire it by gaining wealth, power, love or material possessions then you'll never find it. You need to look inwards not outwards and see its the thoughts you allow yourself to have which make you unhappy. By only allowing yourself to have thoughts which make you feel good then you find happyness.

Sometimes snapping someone out of depression is hard because they are so locked into their dark-negative thoughts they cant break them. If thats you then you need to see your doctor.


#13    White Crane Feather

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:11 PM

On Netflix enjoy :D




"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#14    Sherapy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:27 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 08 March 2013 - 06:10 PM, said:

As a Buddhist I am supposed to say that life is a b**** and then we die.  That's kinda the theme I took earlier this evening, but obviously I'm happy.  Most Vietnamese are -- by my observation happier than most Americans -- at least in terms of smiles and hugs and laughs.

I went to the neighborhood temple this Tet to make my annual contribution.  As I gave the old monk my envelope he starts laughing. I think it had to do with the trouble I had getting on my knees and then getting back up again and how solicitous the people around me were, seeing my situation.  You old idiot, he is thinking.  You know we don't demand that you do that, so why do you?  Pride?  Oh well . . ..

Of course I just guess, but this sort of living experience makes me happy.

Normally I have my children, my friends, my music, my cats and dogs and fish (oh, and now a couple of Australian budgies my grandson brought over a few days ago, with huge floor-to-ceiling cage for them to fly around in).

Since I've been laid-up I have a lot of free time and spend it on the computer talking with good people like you.  That also makes me happy.


Aww this is awesome, so you find happiness in the everyday moments. I can relate, I just got home from a hike (7 miles) mountain muddy trails, it was pouring rain, right by the ocean, cold, muddy as heck, but amazing. I shared in this with my best friend and we both described it as fun.




#15    CRIPTIC CHAMELEON

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:32 PM

Life is how you perceive it, live it, react to it. Doesn't matter if your smart or dumb to feel happiness or sorrow its up to you how you write your own chapter in the book.





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