Unwise intelligence

by Sofia

Perhaps it is a disadvantage that what for me is a fault — my tendency to let myself become completely carried away by something, and my willingness to put in time and effort (when I should be using it on something else, like homework) to read, research, explore deeply a topic that interests me — gets me the reputation of being “intelligent.” Personally, I don’t see what the advantage of being well-read in classical literature or Hindu philosophy is if I can’t make myself interested enough in my work to do it and hand it in on time, or if I am disorganized and struggling unhappily to do well in the world in which I will someday have to survive in by myself.

Another tendency that, although inherently detrimental, makes me seem intelligent is thinking too much. Although in class, teachers appreciate an ever-interested and inquiring mind, this also leads me to over-analyzing myself and everything around me: situations, words spoken, emotions, reactions, and without fail sends me reeling in the direction of gloomy brooding because of not being able to simply relax and take things in stride. For instance, not knowing what to write before I sign my name at the end of an e-mail to a stranger, but being frustrated by it for a full three minutes. At last I think to simply sign my name without further ado. Two more minutes spent on debating if she’ll find it rude or unfriendly that I did so. And like this example, there are a boundless amount of moments during my day in which my head will simply not cease analyzing, pondering, supposing, figuring, finding parallels, connecting.

Perhaps my condition is not a unique one, perhaps many people dubbed intelligent are so because of such tortuous, unbalanced habits. Maybe it is for this reason that the stereotype of the tormented, brooding intellectual exist.