Driving up a vicarage wall

When you are faced by constant demands, by people who do not see the Christian life, and therefore Christian ministry, in the same terms as you, by a hierarchy that offers benign advice whilst constantly reducing the supply of staff (and expecting full payment of the quota assessment they impose on you), by social isolation and public scrutiny, and all the time trying to live out your faith and fashion the lives of “you and yours … after the rule and doctrine of Christ, that ye may be wholesome and godly examples and patterns for the people to follow”, the surprise is not that some leave the job but that so many stay.

It’s the isolation that does the damage

But those of 170 IQ and beyond are too intelligent to be understood by the general run of persons with whom they make contact. They are too infrequent to find congenial companions. They have to contend with loneliness and personal isolation from their contemporaries throughout the period of their immaturity. To what extent these patterns become fixed, we cannot yet tell 

Observation shows that there is a direct ratio between the intelligence of the leader and that of the led. To be a leader of his contemporaries a child must be more intelligent but not too much more intelligent than those to be led… But generally speaking, a leadership pattern will not form—or it will break up—when a discrepancy of more than about 30 points of IQ comes to exist between leader and led

The second kind of social adaptation may be called the marginal strategy. These individuals were typically born into a lower socio-economic class, without gifted parents, gifted siblings, or gifted friends. Often they did not go to college at all, but instead went right to work immediately after high school, or even before. And although they may superficially appear to have made a good adjustment to their work and friends, neither work nor friends can completely engage their attention. They hunger for more intellectual challenge and more real companionship than their social environment can supply. So they resort to leading a double life. They compartmentalize their life into a public sphere and a private sphere. In public they go through the motions of fulfilling their social roles, whatever they are, but in private they pursue goals of their own. They are often omnivorous readers, and sometimes unusually expert amateurs in specialized subjects. The double life strategy might even be called the genius ploy, as many geniuses in history have worked at menial tasks in order to free themselves for more important work. Socrates, you will remember was a stone mason, Spinoza was a lens grinder, and even Jesus was a carpenter. The exceptionally gifted adult who works as a parking lot attendant while creating new mathematics has adopted an honored way of life and deserves respect for his courage, not criticism for failing to live up to his abilities. Those conformists who adopt the committed strategy may be pillars of their community and make the world go around, but historically, those with truly original minds have more often adopted the double life tactic. They are ones among the gifted who are most likely to make the world go forward.

Sit Down

I’ll sing myself to sleep 
A song from the darkest hour 
Secrets I can’t keep 
Inside of the day 
Swing from high to deep 
Extremes of sweet and sour 
Hope that God exists 
I hope I pray 

Drawn by the undertow 
My life is out of control 
I believe this wave will bear my weight 
So let it flow 

Now I’m relieved to hear 
That you’ve been to some far out places 
It’s hard to carry on when you feel all alone 
Now I’ve swung back down again 
It’s worse than it was before 
If I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor 

Those who feel the breath of sadness 
Sit down next to me 
Those who find they’re touched by madness 
Sit down next to me 
Those who find themselves ridiculous 
Sit down next to me 
Love, in fear, in hate, in tears 

Oh sit down 
Sit down next to me 
Sit down, down, down, down, down 
In sympathy