Philosophers have often argued regarding the matter of intelligence. Does knowing more make you happy or does knowing less makes you happy? Since ancient times, people have seen that people who are generally considered intelligent are more unhappy than people considered less intelligent. This trend seems to be present in modern societies also. Countless studies have found that people with higher IQ test scores and higher levels of education tend to suffer from depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, and also more likely to commit suicide. The opposite is true for people with lower levels of IQ and education. Though no study has definitively proven a causal relationship, the data sure points towards a trend.
So, why is it that intelligence makes people unhappy? There are no straight answers, and there isn’t even any definitive evidence that it does so, but psychologists believe, as you understand more and more about the nature of our reality and the nature of the world we live in, the more we find out how insignificant we are and how little effect a person has on the grand scale of things. We are but some individuals floating aimlessly around space on a planet, that is part of a solar system, a system like which trillions and trillions of others exist. Apart from this cosmic terror, in our world, there are only a few things we can control, most things in our life are out of our hands and are only predicated by the fundamental laws of physics which we don’t fully understand. Thus, as people try to grasp the grand scheme of things, it is natural that people get sad and unhappy. The understanding of reality in this way, also makes people question even the basic things in day to day life. People lose empathy for others and start viewing the world through a lens of objectivity. This causes people not to express emotions which another person might have expressed, which causes problems in their interpersonal life also.
Then, less intelligence should make you happy right? According to the explanation given above, people who lack the capacity to view the world in the way described before, should all be happy. They are ignorant about the grand scheme of things and are solely concerned with their immediate surroundings and perhaps a bit more. And it is true. People who don’t delve into the inner workings of our reality are generally more contempt with their position in life. They feel more control over their immediate surroundings and are generally more empathetic towards others, which improves their interpersonal interactions.
So, why isn’t this taught in every school? The theory is promising, but there are many flaws with the assumptions to the propositions. Firstly, intelligence is a social construct, and there are no measures of quantifying it which are flawless. You can say the person is intelligent, based on some metric, but it doesn’t guarantee that it is true. An indigenous person from Papuapa Newguenea might get a 0 in a US IQ test, but in the jungles of Borneo, he has an astronomically high chance of surviving than a New York resident with a 190 IQ score. Secondly, there are countless examples of very intelligent people who are happy and died happily and countless other examples of less acclaimed people who are very sad.
So, how we should live our lives? In fear of our insignificance or should we remain ignorant of everything and live our life that way? I believe we should try to understand everything and be happy about it. Living in ignorance seems a tempting proposition, but it is also a dangerous one. We should know about the randomness of our world, learn about our insignificance, and be prepared to face the reality that we have very little control over our life. knowing this should make us happier to think about how lucky we are to have the things we love in our life. Cosmic understanding should give us joy and hope and also should make us humble. Many people try to justify their addiction and rudeness through their intelligence, I believe that they are like this not because of their intelligence, but because they are just awful people.