I have a thing for geniuses. They make me weak in the knees. They are my kryptonite, my red pill, the apple of my eye.
I have been fortunate to meet a few of these gifted souls in recent years and have marveled in their mental and verbal jabberwocky-- much of which leaves me feeling dumbfounded and really dumb. Still, I have gleaned from my few experiences that geniuses live more than just lives of privilege and prestige.
In my brief encounters with the uber-brilliant, I have learned that they are often quite lonely and insatiable individuals-- love, money, even stardom are never enough. They are looking for something more intangible, and until I watched "The Social Network" last night, I had no idea what that thing was:
Geniuses are constantly seeking a connection to the world that is deeper than anything normal folks are capable of. They, in fact, would like to change it. And I don't mean in the treacly "let's volunteer for a day at a soup kitchen" bit. It's more like, "let's transform the way we experience volunteering."
Most people or "normies," are satisfied by simplicity in the everyday, as long as they are positive experiences. Sure, we all love to enjoy extraordinary moments-- Class VI whitewater rafting, sky diving in Hawaii, getting a glimpse of the Northern Lights-- but these moments are few and far between. In turn, we feel grateful for these instances. They are one-of-a-kind. They are remarkable because of their rarity.
Now, imagine that you are a genius. Your mind is filled with extraordinary thoughts all the time. There is no room for inanity such as what you're having for dinner or waxing poetic on your favorite cat litter; rather, your brain is devouring string theory or Einstein's Riddle (allegedly, only 2 percent of the world can solve this brain teaser).
For geniuses, even the amazing becomes lackluster. Nothing is special, because they can comprehend it all. They see the big picture each time. They don't feel pride when raising their grade from a C to an A-. They walked into class with an A. In fact, they could probably teach the class.
Geniuses are innovators of feelings-- before their inventions and discoveries, we normal folks remain very much lost in blue pill slumber.
Yet, the gift of intelligence can actually become a curse-- geniuses are susceptible to bitterness, fear and loneliness-- perhaps moreso than the average person. Geniuses want to connect, but they outgrow everything, including people.
This is how I saw Mark Zuckerberg portrayed in the film. The prodigy behind Facebook, who is two years younger than me, spent most of college hiding behind computer screens, dying to fit in, to belong somewhere, to find someone or something that he could truly connect with.
Did he succeed?
In the end, he lost the respect and friendships of the only people close to him.
However, he did gain demi-god status as the youngest billionaire in the world. His net worth is approximately $6.9 billion dollars, according to Forbes.
Most people would say that Zuckerberg shouldn't be too disappointed. With that kind of money, he could buy happiness in the form of any drug or store-bought pleasure.
But Zuckerberg isn't most people. Zuckerberg is a genius and geniuses don't think about trite concepts like happiness--at least not the way we do.
Just check out his Facebook profile, which reads: Minimalism, Revolutions, Openness and Eliminating Desire as part of his "interests."
According to his recent interview in The New Yorker, Zuckerberg is still dating his long-time girlfriend from Harvard, Priscilla Chan. A recent wall status informs us that she recently moved in to his place in Palo Alto, which is more reminiscent of a middle class domicile than an "I'm CEO, Bitch" MTV-crib worthy mansion.
But like I said before, prodigies aren't satisfied by the things that we have come to be impressed by: love, power and buttloads of cash.
Zuckerberg is on a mission to change the way we experience the world. According to journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, his "ultimate goal is to create, and dominate, a different kind of Internet."
Most geniuses share this philosophy. Einstein created relativity-which altered our perception of time, astronomy and physics in the 20th century. Mozart was instrumental in influencing Western music and has also been hailed as infusing human expression in classical music. French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal, whose IQ was 195, also moonlighted as a religious philosopher. In addition to setting the framework for the theory of probabilities, Pascal also theorized the doctrine that taught the experience of God through the heart rather than through reason, also known as our "intuition."
These are things that I had always assumed were intrinsic knowledge-- common sense. But no. They are common sense to geniuses. Normies only learn about them because geniuses gave them to us.
The same is happening with the Facebook effect. We check Facebook so compulsively-- we can no longer remember what the Internet was like without it. We don't know if we could ever give it up. It doesn't matter that countless studies confirm that Facebook users are callous and hateful cyber users or that extended time on the site can make us stupid because for a big chunk of Facebook's 500 million users (including me), it's the first thing we click on in the morning and our final glance at the world before bed.
Zuckerberg, you have fulfilled your genius quotient: you've changed society. And you're only 26. What's next?
As for me? I'm still stuck on the art of happiness. What can I say-- I'm no genius.
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