Why is it that so many people with high IQ's seem to lack common sense? I personally know a great many intellectuals who have a difficult time managing even the simplest day-to-day affairs.
The above question was sent to me by an old friend...a friend who was a frequent guest at events sponsored by the local chapter of an international high IQ group. As a long-time member of the same, I have to admit she has a point. In fact, I just returned from giving a talk at that organization's World Gathering of Geniuses in Orlando, Florida where Dumb Things Smart People Do was among the more popular topics. One woman told of the time her husband tooted at a trashcan that rolled in front of his car.
Of course, such lapses of common sense happen to everyone but they tend to stand out when brilliant minds are involved. Some of the teasing that typically follows smart people doing dumb things is probably an effort to level the field. Being around someone you feel has superior mental abilities can be very intimidating. It's like talking to a teacher of English and realizing you just ended a sentence with a preposition. The odd thing is that while our society shamelessly idolizes those who can put a ball through a hoop, anyone who solves quadratic equations for fun is seen as fair game. Such bias is a result of dealing with the unknown - which is always a scary situation. While the athlete excels at the obvious, the genius has incomprehensible and thus potentially threatening talents. Alas, Americans in general have always had a difficult time dealing with those they see as Brainiacks and Eggheads. An unfortunate result of this is that the U.S. now ranks 16th among industrialized nations on tests of Scholastic Aptitude.