Are smart people really miserable?

House MD - If we could only all be as happpy as House MD.
United States
November 24, 2009 5:48pm CST
Last night, I was watching television; House M.D. to be specific. The storyline was that really smart guy had been miserable when he was functioning on all mental cylinders, and much happier being dumber. And it made me wonder how much truth there was to the idea. Both House and the patient seemed pretty miserable. Then again, House always seems miserable. But to lay it on the doorstep of being geniuses, I am not sure if I like that at all. Now, I am not a genius myself...I just stroll past the neighborhood (a couple of IQ points short)...but I am not miserable. None of the genius level people I know are miserable. Or at least, not to the best of my knowledge. Then again, none of them are nearly as intelligent as the two characters in this espisode. So is there a connection between happiness (or misery) and intelligence?
2 people like this
16 responses
@AmbiePam (40506)
• United States
25 Nov 09
Great question. My head hurts too much to formulate an answer, but I at least wanted to say good question.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Nov 09
I hope that your head feels better soon. I do not know about anyone else; but I find formulating questions to be hard work, especially if you are not interested in the "What's your favorite color?" type of questions. Thanks for the feedback; it is good to know when one of your questions rises above the smog.
@AmbiePam (40506)
• United States
25 Nov 09
Consider the smog lifted. Reading your post before, I was thinking about all this stuff that came to mind after reading it, and then I thought no way can I get it all down in a way that makes sense when my head is playing spin the bottle.
1 person likes this
@piatos03 (397)
• Philippines
25 Nov 09
Keep watching House M.D. He wasn't always miserable, there was a time when he was a decently happy guy. But you won't get to that part till late in Season 1. Even now, I don't think House is miserable. He just finds happiness in tormenting others. I think there is no connection between happiness (and misery) with intelligence. I think it's more of a choice if you really want to be happy. I know a lot of people who are miserable because their parents are making all their life decisions for them, i.e., taking up a course in college that was their parent's choice and not theirs. Happiness is more of a choice. Like in House, House can choose to be happy. He has that opportunity, but he chose not to take it. Maybe he's scared of being happy, or that being happy will only lead to more pain when you lose the people you love. I don't really know. House has a very complex psyche. But the point is, we all can be happy, it's just a matter of going after what does get you to feel that way.
• United States
25 Nov 09
Yeah, House definitely seems to enjoy making other people miserable. It always scares me because I like to annoy people myself. I must admit that I became happier after I quit caring what my family thought of my decisions. Of course, my family thinks I am a jerk for not doing what they want me to do. *shrugs*
@piatos03 (397)
• Philippines
6 Dec 09
Do you regret any of it though?
• Philippines
25 Nov 09
Most smart people tries to be perfect in most aspects and when they failed even on a small thing they got depressed and there is no contentment for them. but the great part on being a smart person is you are happy in your academics and things get a lot easier in your studies but still they tend to be competitive and aims perfection and they have no time to relax so in return stress would really hunt them. hehe
• United States
27 Nov 09
I know some really smart people that are not competitive or perfectionists. I once met a Mensa member who is a plumber. So maybe it is the quest for perfection, and not the genius level IQ, that makes some people miserable.
@agv0419 (3030)
• Philippines
25 Nov 09
I'm also fun of House M.D I remember one of the doctor ask him to date him I forgot her name but sad to say he turn her down. He thought that the girl is pity to him and he said because he is damage like her ex husband that's why she likes him. House is very anti-social and very weird but he is genius. He don't have social life and he has a few friends who can understand him. I think it depends on a person how he going to handle his life and his social life. Not all genius are miserable but I think others judge them as weird or nerd that's why they are have a difficulty in communicating other people.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Nov 09
I think that one of the best things that happened in my life is that my father refused to let the school advance me several grades. He told them that I was to remain in the class which kids my age was typically in. I do not think I would have developed some of my social skills if the school would have been allowed to treat me like a genius. One of my jokes is that half the time, people do not know what I am talking about. At some point, I will admit that I started to be amused by it. I guess that adds weight to the happiness is a choice argument that other posters have put forth.
@milfea (520)
• Philippines
25 Nov 09
Hello Morgan. I just had the opportunity of meeting a beautiful couple who are both smart, they're enjoying their careers as scientists and they look and live happy. Knowing those two beautiful couple made me realize that misery, and happiness is more of a choice. And it is also very clear to me that for every choice there lies consequences. Our attitude towards every consequence that we reap from every choice that we make is also another choice. We can choose to be negative or positive over each consequence. :)
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Nov 09
I really like your answer.
@coldmoon (1092)
• France
25 Nov 09
Smart people are might miserable because it's hard for them to see and feel happiness in a simple way. They require everything to be perfect as their intelligence, and just a little imperfection can cause a misery. The normal people have a more optimist view on life. I don't watch House, but I think that in movie, the leading stars often suffer some bad thing till near the end.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Nov 09
I will admit that I know a couple miserable perfectionists, and not all of them Virgos either (sorry, I spend a lot of time writing astrology articles). Then again, I know a couple others who seem perfectly happy. Hmmm...yeah, I imagine if you are a genius and expect people to be on the same mental level as you, then you may have a small unhappiness problem.
@spalladino (17929)
• United States
25 Nov 09
While I do love House I can't agree that intelligent people are necessarily more unhappy than those with less intelligence. Happiness is derived from what makes up your life...the people in it, your work and your interests. I know a genius. He graduated from college at 16 and worked for me for several years as my network administrator. He loved a challange, solving problems and above all else, beating the wannabe hackers to our system at their own game. He had a great relationship with his family, rode a motorcycle for fun and jumped out of perfectly good airplanes. He also continued to learn...to expand his horizons. To this day he is still satisfied with his life because he keeps it interesting.
• United States
27 Nov 09
Sounds like a very enjoyable life to me.
• Philippines
25 Nov 09
I don't think that smart people are always miserable. It's just that people only misunderstood them for being to smart and it is also hard for them to find happiness on simple things without thinking a lot of times.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
25 Nov 09
hello, yes thats true even for me the mesirable is the smart people they try to explore all things they know thats why the time they become mesirable... But i myself dont know if i am a smart because my life now is mesirable, ive kick out in my parents house now. Although i dont have any acheivements but i feel i have some good memory or idea. thank you.
1 person likes this
@woshiyan (63)
• China
25 Nov 09
What is hanppiness? Is it don't has relations to money? In this era of soaring house price All of our dreams don not want to think. After 80generations,we dont know how to do. We are not happy now The daily wage is far more house price rises
• United States
27 Nov 09
Huh? What does this have to do with the question I was asking or the topic I am talking about?
• United States
8 Jan 10
Simple answer is yes. Geniuses are genius because they don't think like the average person, they think in a way that can only be described as different. The story was lying out the concept that as much as it is a gift, it's a curse. As far as a social life, being a genius makes things difficult because they can tell so much about a person from so little. This is why most geniuses will probably be social rejects only accepted by a few people (i.e. house). As far as life in general geniuses have their happy moments because, well, they're just so damn smart. The problem is... after so long of analyzing the world and surpassing everyone it gets down right boring. Hense the hunt for social acceptance, this is why the "really smart guy" dumbed himself down, because he could live with the idiocity of the average person. As far as house goes he achieves brief happiness by manipulating those around him to do what he wants, the problem with that is that he can't keep it up forever.
• United States
26 Nov 09
i can't say all of them are,but the smartest person i ever knew was always one of the unhappiest.other people didn't multi-task or "think on his level",so they were inferior,and he was never happy with anybody,especially in a work environment. ..had a bit of a "napoleon complex" going too.didn't help any.. a lot of people thought he had an attitude by the way he came across.
• China
25 Nov 09
There is a saying very reasonable,clever counter was mistaken,and sometimes, even you are very smart,but you must pretend not to be cleaver,so as to take the long-term.
• Bulgaria
25 Nov 09
Stupid people are miserable and jealous. And about House, his character is very proud and selfish and that has no connection with inteligence and happiness.
@honeyyan (23)
• China
25 Nov 09
Frankly speaking,I agree with you .When a person is in a difficult sistuation ,he or she will endeaver to break away from this sistuation ,which enable him or her to be stronger and stronger.
@bucketkid (239)
• Australia
25 Nov 09
this post quite reminds me of a book - flowers for algernon. a story about a retard who is given treatment to help him become smarter but isolates himself and then realises (at the peak of his genius) that there was a flaw and that he will return to his old self. it is an amazing book, and there is an adapted short story which is very good too. i dont think there is a strong correlation between happiness and intelligence. although it is said that knowledge is a burden. i believe that it depends on the persons personality type, their lifestyle, their speciality, how they percieve the situation and what they choose to do with their intelligence and the information they have accumulated.