As Sarah ranted last week, the idea of calling those of us who are somewhat to the right of the intellectual bell curve “gifted” isn’t really the best. And I’ve done 3/4 or thereabouts of a Masters degree in the topic. Heck, at one point I had a ton of academic texts from the various researchers in the field – the ones who look at more than just an IQ number and who know damn well that being that far from what humanity calls normal is not a good thing.
Frankly, I like the classification that was starting to be accepted in the academic world when I was doing the Masters coursework. It pretty much mirrored the classifications that get used for disabilities – and deliberately so. The idea was that the wording would give an indication of just how far from average someone happens to be.
So there was mildly gifted – noticeably more intelligent than the average, but not so much so that it’s difficult to live with. This is more or less equivalent to mildly disabled: it’s something that a person can live with in the normal world without having to make too many adjustments. Then moderately gifted, highly gifted, extremely or severely gifted, and profoundly gifted.
Of course, the disability analogy starts to break down the further from the norm it gets, but it does make it rather obvious that being a beastie of excessively high brainpower is not in any way an advantage. I’m not even going to caveat that comment, because… Well, practically everyone here knows all about it.
The more over-powered the gray (and white, and whatever other color your mental equipment happens to be) matter, the further a person’s thought patterns get from those of the average (or worse, the median or mode) person. Someone who fits the profoundly gifted classification has to run a kind of internal translation routine to communicate effectively with someone who falls in the normal range – and more often than not won’t bother because of the interesting distortions that come from being that far from the norm.
Aside from anything else, we humans are social animals. We build groups, tribes, bands, whatever based on common traits – historically and throughout all but the last few hundred years or thereabouts, mostly “we are related and we can tell you just how closely”. As such, we develop a very keen sense of “what belongs” and we can tell within a very short time of meeting someone if they are one of “us” or something else.
And there is where pretty much every reader here has fallen: among general humanity, we all tend to set off the “other” alarms, the ones that tell people that this person is not one of us. I think the last time the topic came up some ridiculously high percentage of readers here were victimized by bullying – this is what happens when kids are trying to figure out how to interact with not-family and don’t have enough in the way of sensible adult guidance (and sometimes despite the sensible adult guidance. I don’t know enough sensible adults to say whether there were any of them around when I was a school kid – but I do know I was at best excluded and at worst bullied). Kids form tribes, and they exclude kids that don’t fit in.
The internet has been one of those blessings hiding as a curse or curse hiding as a blessing, because it’s allowed us Odds (and trust me, all of you folk are somewhere high on the gifted spectrum because it shows in the way you all write and speak) to find ourselves a place where we can form our own community – but by doing this we necessarily interact less with our not so Odd fellow humans, something that is sadly necessary and at least on my side of the keyboard something that was damned hard to learn. Much as I hate it, I need to stay in practice because otherwise I ping the “other” alarms so hard they fall apart.
Yes, it means I’m constantly guarding what I say and trying not to go off on weird tangents (as you can tell from my posts here, weird tangents are Kate-normal. The topic shifts and logic make perfect sense to me. I just skipped about ten steps and half a dozen connection points along the way.) Being Aussie-raised, I’m also usually trying to avoid descending into my native dialect.
Apparently it disturbs people when I start inserting bloody between syllables and earnestly inform people that “crap” and “shit” are not swear words. They’re just… blunt. When you grew up talking about “carking it” rather than “dying” (usually referring to technology although the phrase does get applied to people), and – as I’ve mentioned here a time or two – calling it the “toilet” when you’re being polite, the US version of politeness can seem a bit stuffy sometimes.
Anyway, to offset this bit of a ramble posing as a rant, have some sleepy Westley. Buttercup has been too busy pestering the Husband for me to get any good pictures of her lately, and Midnight has taken to sleeping upstairs in the fancy new kitty condo the Husband got them to try to keep them off his desk (he was only partially successful. They are kitties).