General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Why are you willing to say how intelligent you are?

Asked by wundayatta (58638points) November 4th, 2008

This question is, obviously, only for those who are willing to declare their intelligence.

I find myself amazed that people are willing to make such declarations in a social space. I guess I think that determination is for others to decide. I certainly would never claim it for myself. If people want to say that to me, fine, but that’s on them. I never made any boast.

But I did kind of compound what might perhaps be considered an error. I started arguing with people when they said I was intelligent. I’m not sure why, other than because I was mentally ill. But there has always been a part of me, whether I’m ill or not, that has been quite uncomfortable in accepting that description.

So when other people are perfectly willing to trumpet to the world how smart they are, it kind of blows my cerebellum. How can they be so confident? Well, if they are, then they must be really really smart. And yet…. they haven’t shown me much that I would consider brilliant.

In any case, this would make me feel bad, because… I don’t know. I didn’t like the idea of discriminating between people based on IQ tests? I didn’t have any idea how I scored on such tests, and assumed it wouldn’e be very high? I don’t know.

So you. If you do this. Why are you willing to say how intelligent you are?

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46 Answers

asmonet's avatar

I’ve taken multiple tests that I have all scored well into the ‘genius’ range. I have no problem defending or touting my intellect if it’s on topic or jokingly. I see nothing wrong with it unless you’re doing so to intentionally make someone feel inferior. Generally, I think intelligence speaks for itself. Actually, what people really should worry about is whether or not those people with the blessing of intelligence can be bothered to do something with it. :-/

That being said, I think you should have more faith in yourself, I find you to be rather intelligent in the posts I can remember off-hand. :)

Wow, five watching and no composers, interesting.

GAMBIT's avatar

I was a child protégé and a wiz kid but all I learned was that the more I know the more I don’t know. So that makes me pretty dumb in a smart way.

tinyfaery's avatar

When I was younger I used to admit to my intelligence, but I soon realized people were either put-off by it, or tried to test me. Now that I’m older I find it much easier, and more fun, to let people think I’m
dumb. If people think you’re dumb they don’t expect much from you, and you can laugh at them as they try to prove to you how smart they are.

GAMBIT's avatar

@tinyfaery – You got it!

syz's avatar

No. And I don’t particularly want to hear about how intelligent anyone else if ( unless they’re running for office). I’ll make my own determination.

MissAnthrope's avatar

First off, I don’t go around with a banner loudly proclaiming I’m brilliant. I don’t think I’m generally a boastful person and I think those who know me would say I tend to be more humble about my abilities than boastful. I don’t like to brag and people don’t like hearing others brag.

However, there are some things that I take as fact, including that I am smarter than average. I took a certified IQ test early on in life and scored in the genius range. I do not, in any case, consider myself a genius. I recognize there are people out there FARRRR more brilliant than little old me.

I generally let people figure it out for themselves. Sometimes it surprises me how little I can say and yet apparently, I give off the impression of intelligence, because some people are able to pick up on it right away. I can never figure out what it is that gives me away, especially if I’ve barely said anything that I would consider to be smart.

I’m with tinyfaery.. I tend to get underestimated, maybe because I look younger than I am. I find it really entertaining to have someone treat me like this and then turn around and blow them out of the water with my brains. I do sometimes say things like, “You know, I’m a smart girl, like they thought I wouldn’t get what they were doing?”

Lastly, I am not above pulling the smarts card out when in a heated argument with a dumb asshole, though..

gailcalled's avatar

As I age, I feel dumber than a brick, but I can still spell whiz.

jessturtle23's avatar

I use to be smart before I was ran over with a boat. Now I can’t remember shit.

Harp's avatar

What would be wrong-headed is thinking that intelligence is a measure of personal worth. Merely stating the results of an IQ test is not much different than saying what one’s golf handicap is, or how fast one can run the hundred. It’s quite another matter to say (or imply) “I’m better than you, and I’ve got the number to prove it”.

augustlan's avatar

In context I have absolutely no problem with it. I don’t generally go around in real life spouting off about it.

asmonet's avatar

@harp: That’s kinda what I was trying to say, I don’t think it came out that way.

nikipedia's avatar

I do it when I’m insecure and looking for reassurance.

I would never brag about test scores and actively avoid telling people when they ask. Telling is tacky.

marinelife's avatar

It has no more intrinsic value than beauty or wealth. It is simply an attribute. I always feel that people who feel compelled to tout their IQ are insecure and probably not as bright as they think.

It is what you do with all your gifts and your life that determine your value as a person.

Hitler’s IQ, for example was estimated by his doctors as between 140 and 145. Yet, he is hardly company that anyone would want to keep.

asmonet's avatar

interesting, you chose the same word as me. :P

Bri_L's avatar

I have never taken a legitimate I.Q. test.

I wouldn’t trumpet it. I don’t see why anyone would unless they were sorely lacking in other areas like personal and/or social skills.

I would say I am at “genius level” when it comes to dealing with people. I can tell when people are uncomfortable. Stuff like that.

I did post it from a cheesy on line test before but that is not a serious test.

marinelife's avatar

@asmonet Which word?

@Bri_L Well and compassionately said, as always.

Bri_L's avatar

Marina, your to kind.

fireside's avatar

I don’t think IQ tests really mean much in regards to measuring the totality of a person.

But the state of my ego is such that sharing them or hearing others won’t change my opinion of myself. A proper balance of humility allows for standards and measurements while recognizing that worthiness is not what is being compared.

asmonet's avatar

@marina: “tout”. :)

MacBean's avatar

I don’t like admitting my IQ, even when it’s appropriate in the context of a conversation. People tend to assume it means I think I’m better than them, and it makes them expect more of me than I can actually offer.

GAMBIT's avatar

@gailcalled – Thank you for pointing out my spelling error.

marinelife's avatar

@asmonet Oh. I love that word. It’s on my favorites list. Nicely done.

asmonet's avatar

@Marina: in that case.. :)

marinelife's avatar

Back at ya!

Darwin's avatar

I know what my IQ is. I know what my daughter’s is. I know what my son’s is. I also know neither my son nor I do what we could with that attribute. I don’t know what my dad’s IQ is but I do know that he has done more with his brain than I ever hope to. His hobby right now is quantum mechanics and he has begun a new career in his eighties publishing peer-reviewed papers on cosmology. He was originally trained as a chemical engineer.

I also know that in terms of “smart people clubs” like Mensa I am rather like Groucho Marx – “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”. Besides I always figured it was odd to get together to talk about how smart one is, all the while destroying brain cells by consuming vast quantities of beer.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know, Darwin, that last sounds like it could be kind of fun…
Just imagine how stupid we’d all be by the end of the night!

asmonet's avatar

I kinda want to apply to Mensa in a few years, according to their website they’d love to have me. :’(

And I totes want to get stupid drunk with geniuses. Do you have any idea how awesome the conversations would be?

gailcalled's avatar

I definitely do.

Darwin's avatar

@asmonet – actually the conversations were pretty gossipy and rather snarky – another reason to either not drink beer or to join Mensa – one or the other.

Bri_L's avatar

@gailcalled – You do know how awesome the conversations would be? Are you a Mensa member? Would I understand your answer if I am not?

Harpyja's avatar

I declare it because I am confident in it. It’s not as great being smart as most people think. Throughout my childhood I was teased because of my intelligence, and it’s hard to form relationships with other people who you can have an intelligent, engaging conversation with, a conversation I truly enjoy.

wundayatta's avatar

If someone tells me how smart they are, that’s one strike against them. I assume they are covering over some insecurity. If a person is smart, it will be immediately obvious.

If it is not immediately obvious to someone else exactly how smart (or stupid) I am, then they don’t have eyes to see.

What I’m saying is that it seems to me that it is utterly unnecessary to announce what one thinks of oneself. One should let one’s actions speak for oneself.

By the way, I don’t know if I have any ongoing relationships with people who I don’t think are intelligent.

augustlan's avatar

@Harpyja: Welcome to the collective. Stick around and you’ll find plenty of ‘conversations’ you’ll enjoy!

ratboy's avatar

I’m so friggin’ smart that I can’t understand half of what I say.

gailcalled's avatar

@ratboy: Thereby prooving Daloon’s point.

YARNLADY's avatar

On a site such as this one, I think it’s prefectly within reason to discuss my level of intelligence, when asked. I am with @AlenaD and @Harpyja , confident in discussing the issue. I never had to study in school, and I got straight A’s, and I was even called a genius in Math by my math teachers, because I instantly understood the concepts they showed me, and was able to build on them. Why wouldn’t I answer a question asking “Was Math hard for you?” Isn’t that what we are here for?

gailcalled's avatar

I know less and less each year.

wundayatta's avatar

@YARNLADY How do you know that your math teachers weren’t dazzled by anything that moved, or that your school wasn’t really much easier than most schools?

Anyway, it’s different saying that math wasn’t hard for you, then saying “I have an IQ of 150.” At least you try to give examples, so we can judge whether it sounds realistic (it does) or not.

I can’t begin to say anything about myself, because I have no idea how I compare on a wide variety of measure that people might use to compare each other on. Frankly, I hate the idea of comparing. It leads to too many bullshit decisions.

YARNLADY's avatar

@daloon comparing can lead to mistakes, as well. My friend told me of her son’s teacher bragging on how smart he was, and mom was surprised, because she thought this was the dumber one, compared to his smarter bother. It turned out they are both highly exceptional.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t declare it in social situations but I believe that I am intelligent and that explaining the various ways I am intelligent and quickly has helped me get jobs and get ahead

wildpotato's avatar

I’m not willing to say it. It makes people uncomfortable. As to your question about how people can be so confident: they have been able to make some sort of comparison they think to be a valid one. It’s not all IQ tests – there’s GREs, which I think are a somewhat better measure. There’s also everyday observance of the way that other people react when one displays one’s “smarts.” Like, when I notice that people often pause before answering something I’ve said in order to look at me like I’m nuts, and I realize that I’ve just said a word I’ve never heard out loud (but only read) before, I know that they are sometimes thinking “Huh. That chick must be smart.” Things like that can build up enough so that people are deluded into evaluating their own intelligence highly. It doesn’t always mean that they are insecure to believe such things – just stupid :P

augustlan's avatar

@wildpotato I always got those looks, too. Then I married a man who is more intelligent than I am. Every now and again, I say one of those words I’ve never heard aloud incorrectly, and he knows it! I get an entirely different kind of look from him on those occasions. Hmpf.

proXXi's avatar

Because it’s meaningless.

The most intelligent people I know (published authors, NYC college educators) will believe anything (MSNBC).

Anti intellectualism is good and exists for a reason.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@proXXi I happen to be NYC college educated and hoping to be an educator myself and I certainly do not believe just anything…and what is, exactly, the reason for anti-intellectualism?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I will only bring up my intelligence if someone assumes I’m a dumb hillbilly from Missouri and treats me as such.

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