Fahrenheit wrote an article about intelligent people looking down on normal people . I made a quick and dirty reaction video to it where I agreed with him that it is a poisonous attitude that should be avoided. Looking down on ordinary people to feel good about yourself cannot end well because you will end up unhappy since most people around you are ordinary.
In Fahrenheit’s article he brings up three different examples of intelligent people that he has met and explains their different attitudes towards normal people:
“The first is a young man who I went to high school with and has recently ran in a local election near me (he wasn’t elected); by far he is the least cynical of the three... [He] was able to run rings around most of the students in school and most of the teachers too… He was into engineering with enough practical knowledge to… manufacture a small turbine system, he went into an apprenticeship with an engineering company… It seemed he had almost transcended politics. [His] high intelligence simply put him on a different level to most people but still he never felt alienated.”
“The second type is an older guy, who grew up in China and learnt many languages… His main takeaway is that much of a country’s traditional stories, internal history and cultural artefacts could be dismissed, the reason for this being the lack of perception each of these cultures had about the other… If two cultures were referencing the same point in history, often reports will contradict each other… they are both probably wrong and this is also evidence that these cultures are backwards, naïve, intolerant, etc. Only through rigorous study of languages can these gaps be bridged; this is the reason he is our saviour from the pits of naiveté we find ourselves.”
“The third is someone I talked to on Discord with recently. An individual with an IQ of 137 putting him in the top 2% of the population for intelligence… This conversation is one of the reasons I am writing this because of his contempt for the idiots who surround him. Most people are idiots, even those at average levels of intelligence and possibly those with an IQ of 110, in fact having an IQ of 110 is the worst because this makes you a mid-wit...”
I don’t know any of these people so I am about to do some speculation about the types of people they are.
The reason why his engineer friend might be more at peace with the world than the other two might be that the practical knowledge of an engineer are more easily understood and appreciated as valuable by society at large which is formed largely by ordinary people, whereas someone who is interested in a niche subject like the meaning and history of language always has to fight publicly to maintain that what he is doing has value - at most people will respect him for his academic credentials (or for his entrepreneurial success if he has monetised his skills) otherwise nobody really cares that you have a high IQ and can solve complex mathematical problems.
Unfortunately many people, ordinary or not, have trouble accepting that something that they have no interest in may have value to others. If the knowledge you are seeking does not lead you to material success then the society at large will at best treat you with lack of recognition if not outright derision and at worst outright demonisation.
The intelligent man in turn regards
with disgust the ordinary man’s tremendous appetite for all of
life’s pleasures and so cannot understand “those who live
true to their desires—the common man living a common life
without apology, the petty man living a petty life with no regrets,”
as Ango Sakaguchi writes in “Nihon bunka shikan.”
It is not that the common man is a failure as an intelligent man or
the other way around but it’s just that they’re two
different types of people, two genuine desires which may be embodied
in the same person:
"I am a degenerate modem semi-intellectual who would die if I did not get my early morning cup of tea and my New Statesman every Friday… I don't ‘want’ to cut down [on] my drinking, to pay my debts, to take enough exercise, to be faithful to my wife, etc., etc. But in another and more permanent sense I do want these things." - George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 1937.
In the next section of Fahrenheit’s article, he recounts his disappointment as an undergraduate student: “The University as an institution does not possess any special knowledge, going to university is an exercise in accumulating prestige for yourself.”
Most ordinary people do not of course value education for its own sake at all but only because it might offer them a way into the middle or even upper class. This is why we live in a [credentialist] society. If you work hard and pass exams then you will be able to rise in social status but the content of your studies is secondary. First of all it is a means to get ahead. If “intelligence” does not serve this purpose then there is no value in it. In fact they might call it harmful.
Nietzsche became a university professor
at an unusually young age but then left the academy in disgust in
order to pursue his real interests. Nietzche was also someone whose
work was treated as worthless throughout his life. Naturally his
reaction was that of disgust towards most people. However, once his
thoughts had matured he tried to come to peace with a world which
didn’t acknowledge his work to have much value at
Nietzche’s New Year Resolution for 1882 from The Gay Science:
“For the New Year—I still live, I still think; I must still live, for I must still think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. To-day everyone takes the liberty of expressing his wish and his favourite thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have wished for myself today, and what thought first crossed my mind this year,—a thought which ought to be the basis, the pledge and the sweetening of all my future life! I want more and more to perceive the necessary characters in things as the beautiful:—I shall thus be one of those who beautify things. Amor fati: let that henceforth be my love! I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! And all in all, to sum up: I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!”
The problem with merely looking-aside, ignoring people, is that it is not the same as actually liking people and so that indifference may easily turn into contempt when one is forced to come in contact with ordinary people. Still I believe it is a step in the right direction.