17 July 2005

Smart But Unhappy

LONDON (Reuters) --- Being intelligent is no guarantee of a happy old age, researchers said on Friday.

They studied 550 people born in Scotland in 1921 whose mental ability had been tested at age 11 and again at 80 to determine if intelligence over a lifetime was linked to happiness.

"In older people there seems to be no relationship between how well they do on tests of their mental ability and thinking memory skills and how satisfied they are with their life," said Alan Gow, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

The study, which is published in the British Medical Journal, looked at how people maintain their mental ability as they age and the impact it has on their lives in an effort to discover the secret of successful aging.

[ Reuters Health, Jul 15 2005]

This is another study that validates what we have long known: intelligence does not guarantee happiness. You can be the smartest and still be an unhappy fellow.

Of course, personally, I think being intelligent can help a person be happy, but not all the time. Remember the saying that ignorance is bliss? Well, it is true. The more we know, the more disturbed we become. Questions and uncertainties abound. The search for answers is an unending quest. There are people who die miserably being restless as the answers to their questions escaped them.
"Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination." --- Mark Twain

1 reactions:

bayi said...

I have often thought about this and I feel the same, that being intelligent cannot guarantee you happiness. You can grasp a situation faster, understand implications of each decision or happening faster and perhaps even appreciate the finer aspects of a culture. That offers you some satisfaction but will that make you happier. Sometimes only. It gets lonely when the others don't see what you see and it becomes frustrating when they argue because they can't see what you see.

Ignorance is bliss but I also wonder if I really want to be ignorant. With a caveat though, because if I am ignorant from Day One and have never crossed into the other side, then ignorance is indeed bliss.

This is also not talking down on those are intellectually challenged for the natural simplicity that they show in life is a real virtue. As you have indicated, Dr Emer, knowledge often complicates an issue. The more you know, the more concerned you become and ask even more questions.