The Sad Tale of William James Sidis - The Smartest Man Who Ever Lived | Random Thursday

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Train Tsar Fun : He never got a chance to be a kid. So sad for his childhood.

Tom Fitzgerald : I think by age 6 I finally stopped pissing my pants....

Anubis : Unfourtunatley, he shares the same birthday with the men with the lowest IQ in recorded history: Logan and Jake Paul IQ: probably under the level of the sea

Tasheem Hargrove : "What went wrong"? - Society. Society isn't structured with intelligence, and the use of it, as the highest priority. This is evident in how he was treated. Considered weird and crazy. Treated like a foreign object in the eyes of the media and pop culture.

John Battey : I think it most likely that William Sidis found dealing with average people to be horribly tedious, and yet not worth the conflict of telling them so. Back around 1971, David Frost interviewed a man who was speculated to have the highest IQ of anyone then living. He asked if the fellow had faced difficulties as a child because he was so much smarter than those around him. The guest got a sort of peculiar expression and said, "I've never considered it from that point of view before! I always thought I had problems because everyone around me was so abjectly stupid!"

Peter Rabitt : When you possess a high enough intelligence, you necessarily realize that nothing matters and life is pointless. Don't feel bad for being "normal." It's a curse otherwise.

minivan traveling : He did not go crazy. Humans are crazy and he told them so and was out cast by society that refuses to see the evil in us.

Patrick Lewis : Child prodigies are interesting. Most of them never accomplish anything because most of them are really good at things that normal folk will eventually also be good at (calculus, for instance) and that's where they stop. Occasionally one grows up to invest something or discover something or write something significant, but they'd have managed that being a standard high-intelligence person who wasn't thrust neck-deep in higher maths or what have you. I personally wonder what would happen if they weren't turned into media circuses, because it seems like there were very few notable prodigies before the rise of the newspaper. That's a hard premise to test, though, because there was also very little in the way of social mobility or education before widespread literacy and the printing press. My take-away has been that prodigies just hit adult levels of accomplishment sooner than normal, but rarely exceed highly intelligent people whose achievements were more in line with the majority. Also, we should probably stop using IQ as a metric of intelligence. It's more a measure of aptitude for learning than some inherent ability to figure things out. Being a prodigious learner is a high compliment in my mind and my parallel worry with child prodigies is that they're often thrust into STEM so hard that they never pick up the wide variety of other human skills that could keep them from retreating into obscurity. I can't think of any math prodigy who is an adept singer or skilled thespian, for instance; there's mostly just an occasional instrumentalist who rarely writes their own music, anyhow.

Golden Arts : When I was born I came out with a 200-page book filled with IQ problems, all of them solved. They put me in a room with other newborns and the day after when they walked in the television on the wall was gone. That they would soon forget tho because when they turned around they saw a quantum computer. A week later I spoke every single language that has ever existed on this planet. After a month I made music and directed movies, like Aliens, Terminator, Rocky and hundreds more. I had so much money I let other people take the credit for all the movies and music I made, that's how kind I am. After a year I could read minds, move things without touching them and see through walls. after 10 years I could Fly, change the personality of other human beings by connecting to them trough nano waves, and I could jerk of aswell. Today I can watch a youtube video without the need to believe everything that's being said in the video. I can also play PUBG.

Pat Fitzgerald : What a shame he never allowed himself to be exploited by other humans and add a thing to this “precious” economy, the military arsenal, or how to swindle people in the banking, politcal, medical, university or pharmaceutical establishments. That is what it’s all about afterall to the unethical and immoral, self-entitled money whores of this species. What a shame.

The Guitologist : You forgot the part where Ted Kaczynski was experimented upon while at Harvard by the CIA's MK ULTRA program. Gee, I wonder why he went rogue...

Semen Is good. : Wait.....he knew how to speak Hebrew, Latin, french, English(list goes on till infinity) when he was 6! I’m 14 and I can’t even speak French yet!

Wernhard Bierbauer The Fourth : Sidis is such a cool last name. Sounds like a sith lord or some kind of deadly disease...

epSos.de : Social intelligence is a thing. Sidis did not have that one, but he had many other talents. The smart people actually improve the world long term, instead of over thinking current issues.

kleautvieul : I think a genius has to deal with 3 big issues during life. 1. Because of the rapid intellectual development socializing with peers is hard, which leads to emotional underdevelopment. During life they're massively misunderstood, which entails (the feeling of) rejection, seclusion and loneliness. Finding someone with who you can relate on the thinking level is hard. 2. Imagine the pressure they get from their parents and society, being a genius comes with a hefty list of unwritten conditions created by non-geniuses. 3. At a certain point they realize that nothing really matters (in a positive way in that we're truly free), when you look at modern society with this realization it becomes painfully visible that we're a bunch of conditioned monkeys controlled unconsciously by government and corporations by the use of fear. Really accepting this and trying to do your part to chance this for the better is hard, it raises a lot of internal (philosophical) questions.

Robert Oschler : What was I doing at age 6? At age 5 I successfully created the first time machine. I traveled back to the days of the Vikings and had a wonderful time with Olaf the Conqueror attacking villages and drinking tons of ale (they even made me a little battle ax and tiny armor!). Unfortunately someone mistook me for a ammunition and launched me with a catapult. I landed badly on my head (but at least I wiped out several enemy sheep). Due to that brain injury I became profoundly stupid. Fortunately, the time machine was programmed to automatically return me to the present time but due to a misplaced semi-colon in the code, self-destructed taking the design plans with it so I have no proof. I lived out the rest of my life as an ordinary computer programmer until last year when I died during a bad flamingo racing accident. Even on my last day, I still had a fond passion for pillaging.

Jason Guion : I don’t know why but (I am 46) in the second grade my mother and whoever thought I wasn’t doing well in school so she had me tested to see if I had any learning disability. I remember the old woman had me drawing pictures with my left hand and reading science stuff out loud...well right away my mom started telling people I had an IQ of 156. She was so proud, and I didn’t improve, and never felt smart. All it did was make me feel guilty for not performing better in school. I had terrible times with math, and basically I was just good at English and reading. By the 9th grade telling people that was embarrassing to me. They said I was so smart, but that’s it. They didn’t help me with a way to learn better. It really served only to make me feel small to be called really really smart. Being labeled as that, or a genius is over rated. It just doesn’t help a kid do well.

Jack Daniels Ultraselvagem : You'd be amazed to know that the smartest man was Nikola Tesla.

MrBluemanworld : Never heard of him, very sad. It's something to think about

R W : A Genius who is not political and helps science and such lives. A Genius who is a threat to the wealthy dies.

Jeff Willsea : My uncle had an IQ higher than Einstein. There was NOTHING that challenged him and he got very bored. Took to alcohol to dumb himself down and lost his morals. What good would he have done without the drink?

Mason Allen : Shakuntala Devi was a child prodigy and the older she got the more her abilities increased. At a showing of her abilities in 1977 she found the 23rd root of a 201 digit number in just 50 seconds. It took the professor 4 minutes and the computer just over a minute to solve the exact same problem. She managed to have a very full and happy life before her death in 2012.

Vastly Educated : Genius is torture.

Иван Нанић : I went down into the comment section, came back up with cuts all over my body. So edgy down there, better be careful.

S Bassett : Nothing went wrong. He lived the life he wanted, realizing correctly that he was under no obligation to do anything extraordinary.

Alex : Our modern world is attributed to Tesla, our world would come to a grinding halt if his inventions were not in use !

August : the smartest people have been anti-capitalist 🤔🤔🤔

William Cox : Interesting. Thanks for examining some of the questions. As a former child prodigy I can tell you what happens to some of us. We pursue something to distraction. If we are not supplied with a concomitant marketing bent, or fail to attract someone able to to exploit that talent, we often languish in obscurity. Genius is not necessarily social. In fact, I postulate that we never notice the social geniuses, because they've recognized that relative obscurity is a gift, not a curse, if one wishes to get on with one's life work without interruption. For me it's art. I write, perform, and record my own music, write and illustrate my own novels, and every one a net of insights seldom seen or quantified. Inferior? hardly. Superior? by whose measure? For relaxation between creative bouts (or jags) I practice karate and a bit of sword technique, dance a little, and take daily walks. My appearance is too singular for anonymity, but, in my community, at least, I enjoy a sort of automatic street cred as an artist in that quite a few folks remember seeing or hearing me playing at a bar or club or restaurant, or have seen my posters hanging in a local shop or gallery. It's not fame. It's not fortune. At this point, I am merely glad to be alive and capable of fresh creative endeavor. Social acceptance is the icing on the cake; make no mistake, but, should I lack an audience, I will continue to create art. I can hardly do otherwise. I am driven to it.

MrWorldcitizen1 : My favorite is Nikola Tesla. $

Allison : His intellect was his own, he didn’t owe humanity any performance or narrative satisfaction.

chippledon1 : He railed against religion and Capitalism which just goes to show that you can have all the intelligence in the world and still lack wisdom! Intelligence and wisdom........two different things.

Gregory Parrott : I thought I made a mistake once. But I was wrong.

Alan Jones : Funny how within a couple of years after being arrested and calling himself a socialist, he did a complete turnaround. He started opposing socialism and writing books advocating individual liberty, self-ownership, and government power being restricted to only preventing transgressions on individual rights. Even a super genius follows the pattern of initially thinking socialism is cool........until they actually start thinking about it.

TacoTacoTacoTaco : I had a Commander in the Navy who lived by Darwinism as a philosophical virtue. Being fit for survival is NEVER about being the strongest, it's you're ability to adapt. Im often called "really smart," even by people who I think are probably smarter than me. I consistently win arguments against other apparently "smart" people. I'm convinced I probably have an IQ of 100. (Though I don't really believe in a single IQ as compared to separate intelligences) And I'm pretty happy with this. Smarter people can get almost too involved in their work and disregard meta thinking entirely.

Budget Hitman : He may have simply gotten tired of explaining shit to people.

Your Dad : The smartest person in the world was born on April Fools' Day.

Shadowcruise99 : *Sadly Joe, you failed to mention that during Ted Kaczynski’s sophomore year at Harvard in 1959, he was recruited for a psychological experiment that unbeknownst to him, would last three years. That experiment was sponsored by the Office of Strategic Services, later to become the CIA and involved psychological torment and humiliation. A pre-cursor to what we know today as MK Ultra!*

Michał Lewandowski : He was alone, could never find anybody to really talk to

Dave Cruickshank : The story of Tesla is sadder, because Tesla acknowledged his genius, embraced it and did something with it (inventions, patents, etc...) he wanted to change the world for the better. What makes his story so sad was not an inability to handle his genius, but his ability to use his genius to benefit humanity without economic gain. But sadly greed, profit and capitalism destroyed him. He was robbed of his inventions, and had funding pulled when it became clear he wanted to create FREE energy. While I believe he was autistic to a degree, he was high functioning until his life's work was ripped from him for reasons of money and greed. So very sad.

N337av G#o5h : Same here William, I have always hated crowds too.

Mark Dougherty : I’d be interested to hear his case against capitalism, surely he must have seen the logical flaws in the alternative though

ed low : The Third World has such people out plowing fields. Imagine that.

NOT SO SLIM JIM : Being smarter than everyone around you is horrible. You feel like you are surrounded by people who could never possibly understand you or what it's like to be you. It's not that you feel people are below you, just that others don't understand things as you do.

James Biggar : Smartest person who ever lived was likely a socialist and an atheist. Who'd have thought...

tvrao tummala : U can study another Mathematics prodgy from India, Mr.Ramanujam..

YouTube Dad : “Where we end up in life has little to do with intelligence” factually is incorrect. Intellegence is like the horsepower in a car, it will propel you, in whichever direction you choose.

Rotisserie Chiggen : Lack of a childhood plain and simple. But there’s so many variables and tons blurred lines that we haven’t yet discovered to measure intelligence and possibly, its many forms. We as a race know a lot but there’s many more unanswered questions than answered ones

Elizabeth Shaw : I will not even die as a footnote to history or science. My IQ is well up there and I did miraculous things. It all ended when a syndrome that has never been seen before reared its ugly head and I became so disabled that I needed to stop 4 years ago. I continue to work along with my disability check to supplement that and I followed the rules. Now I cannot even do that but I do want to know everything! I pursue knowing everything but not as a know-it-all. Elizabeth MD PhD nutrition science

THE GAMING SOLDIER : Not that hard to figure out why he lost it. Imagine if everyone around you was at least 100IQ points less intelligent than you. In other words, think of the dumbest people you know, and then imagine if the whole world, every single person you meet, is much dumber than that. I wouldn't last a month.

Barry Lucas : Sadness for his short life, hope for the possibilities for humanitys' future.