Intelligent men are the Guccis of the abstract world: moreish, rare, and addictive. Watching their brains work makes my heart jump into my throat. I can listen to the wit of a person like that aaalll damned night because intelligence puts me into an altered state of consciousness. My head snaps in two and suddenly, everything I know about the world is brought into question. Brilliant minds don’t grock life the way I do because they question everything. They look through a unique lens, and what they see doesn’t have the same colours you and I are used to.
When I spend time with a man like that, I come home realising my blue and green world has suddenly broken out into a million colours. I feel as though I’m sparkly and new again. I go home, not feeling as though I’ve changed, but as though the world is somehow irretrievably different.
I get off on new ideas. I’d sooner swim around in an unusual and brilliant perspective than I would a Chanel-infused hot tub. I love to hear the way brilliance uses words. I love seeing it twist a truism until it looks unrecognisable. I love the sharp sense of humour it comes with and all the surprises that follow.
Before the usual self-labelled geniuses gather to tell me I’ve just written about them, posturing over your book-learned knowledge ain’t it. I respect your knowledge. I appreciate the fact that you’ve sought it out, but please don’t call it intelligence before I put you in a room with a brighter mind than yours. The brainiac war that would ensue would leave you with charred hair, a singed eyelashes, and a yuuuge bundle of embarrassment.
If you’re seeing yourself in this post, odds are excellent that I’m not writing about you because most of the brilliant people I’ve met have one thing in common: humility. I don’t believe that’s a coincidence. We are as confident as we are ignorant, as David Dunning and Kruger so elegantly proved. The more we know, the less confidence we have in what we know, and pseudointellectuals are nothing if not overconfident. Brilliance and modesty are mutually inclusive.
Yesterday, I went to the theatre with a thrilling mind. I’ve woken up to find I’m wearing a new pair of glasses. The boring ideas that were littering the ground have been brushed away, and now the world is somehow bigger.