Double-Edged Intelligence

Imagine the wonders of ignorance: the wonders of simply not knowing enough to make you sad. Imagine rolling out of bed and thinking not of advanced placement classes or college exams, but of the color of your socks or which perfume you’ll wear. Imagine getting C’s and B’s and being happy. Imagine not being stressed over stuff because you don’t know about it.

Ignorance, my friends, is truly bliss. Science shows that, ironically, the IQ of a person and their risk for depression are directly proportional. In other words, the smarter a person is, the more at risk they are to be depressed.

Why, you ask? Isn’t intelligence the cornerstone of success? The crown jewel of achievement? Take it from me; it isn’t. Being smart means knowing things and knowing things means knowing what you don’t know, which puts things at a loss. You realize that there is an ocean of facts and theorems to memorize, of equations to solve and balance, of papers to write and poems to analyze (because what purpose does poetry serve if it is not being analyzed?), of dates to remember, and of general things to know. Intelligence is the battle between the left and right sides of the brain, the former wanting numbers and letters and order while the latter wants creativity and art and color.

Unfortunately, the left side is usually the only thing schools care about and what society as a whole generally cares about. The little boy who wrote a cute novella has nothing on the girl who knows how to solve rational trinomial equations. Chances are, this girl will probably end up with depression later on in life merely because she is aware that there are so many more rational trinomial equations to solve, too many to count.

The left brain (that idolized blob of neurons that sits in your skull) has a horrible tendency to drain all passion and amusement from life. The color red? No, no, that isn’t red; that is merely a beam of electrons that are being energized a few energy levels higher than they should be. Architecture? Oh, you mean the careful, calculated planning of where each and every brick is laid. Marvelous! How did this become what we hold so highly in society? Does being the alpha species mean having to deal with all this boring stuff?

I am sitting here writing this, and my hair is falling out of my scalp and into the cracks in my keyboard. It is midnight; I still need to do my honors trigonometry homework, and I still need to update my lab report for advanced placement chemistry. When I say I am stressed out over these classes, the most common response (at least from adults) is “You knew what you were getting into when you signed up for these classes!” What if I never wanted to take any of them in the first place? Let’s be honest, who actually wakes up and thinks “Hey, I want to make my life ten times harder!” Nobody, that’s who. In all honesty, I am taking these courses just because colleges like them. I could care less about the Abbasid empire, or electrochemistry, or the author’s purpose of a haiku. I don’t care, but I need to care about it because it looks good to colleges.

Intelligence is the perfect definition of a double edged sword. Intelligence brings with it the promise of a good job, of success, of financial security, but also the risk of depression, of substance abuse, and of massive college debt. My message to you is to simply live. Live like that lab report isn’t due in the next five hours, live like you didn’t just fail your math test, live like you are “stupid,” because only the “stupid” people have any fun. I know for a fact that I would rather be blissfully ignorant than be painfully aware.


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