BEING BRILLIANT IS NOT EASY — by Gary S. Smolker
To my intellectually gifted, high energy, intense and passionately curious blog readers:
Below are a few of my comments about Robin Williams:
- Robin Williams was among the smartest and wisest of men.
- His comedic genius came from the highest form of intelligence man is capable of achieving.
- I believe he committed suicide because he was extremely lonely and realized he couldn’t be his “real self.”
I felt pain when I read the quote from “The Little Prince” (about looking up at the stars) that Robin Williams sent to his daughter Zelda.
Mind and Soul
Having good conversations with passionately curious, intense, high energy, intellectually gifted individuals is one of my favorite pleasures. Doing so soothes my soul.
I believe if Robbin Williams had been able to continuously have brilliant high energy inspiring two way conversations with friends he would not have committed suicide.
The simple pleasure of watching movies that have messages that make me think and/or provide me with information that helps me better understand things nourishes my soul and keeps me sane.
I love watching movies that make people think and compel people to discuss those movies with me.
Talking to people about good movies, good books, things happening in their lives and current events that are meaningful to me soothes my mind.
I hope Robbin Williams was able to enjoy the simple pleasures of discussing movies and books with friends, but I am afraid he was so imaginative, so creative and so deeply intellectually gifted that such simple pleasures were not often, if at all, available to him.
Recent Discussions About How the Mind Works
I love learning.
I am sure Robbin Williams loved learning too.
I hope he had friends to learn with.
Luckily I do.
One of my good friends, Bob Balocca recently shared with me his “take-away” from discussions he recently had on “how the mind works” with two of his other friends.
As a result of his meeting with those two friends, Bob and I have spent almost all of our recent time together talking about (1) how the mind works, (2) what people think they know, and (4) how people think.
That has given me great pleasure.
Bob is a great observer and a great photographer.
I agree with what Emile Zola said about taking a photograph.
“In my view, you cannot say that you have truly seen something if you have not taken a photograph revealing a whole host of details that could not otherwise be observed.” Emile Zola (1840 – 1902)
Bob has been a photography buff (aficionado) for more than thirty years.
Perhaps that is why he is a great observer.
Bob is also a scholar of the history of ideas and the founder of a successful computer software company.
Another one of my good friends, Saeed Yadegar recently spent an entire weekend – a non-stop weekend – discussing how physicians think and how physicians practice medicine with me.
My recent non-stop weekend of discussions with Saeed took place while we were taking photographs in the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons in Arizona.
The Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons in Arizona are the spiritual heart of the Navajo Nation, and are considered by many people all over the world to be one of the wonders of the world.
Saeed is a radiologist.
In addition to practicing radiology, Saeed manages a department of radiologists, and serves as an Executive/ Director/Manager of a moderately large medical group.
Like my friend Bob, Saeed has been a photography buff for more than thirty years.
Saeed, speaks and understands several languages, is very interested in how people think and keeps track of the mindsets of people all over the world.
He also keeps track of the advancement of technological developments all over the world.
During our non-stop weekend of discussions, of particular interest to me was Saeed’s description of what happens to a medical student’s mind in the process of learning how to practice medicine and then what happens to that physician’s mind during the day-to-day practice of medicine.
During our weekend of discussions, Saeed spent a lot of time listening to me vent about why I am fed up how the medical profession practices non-emergency medicine.
Saeed and Bob both have deep scientific and philosophical educational backgrounds, are passionate about photography and obsessively seek to learn the truth.
They are both like the famous photographer Alfred Stieglitz who famously said: “Photography is my passion. The search for truth is my obsession.” Alfred Stieglitz (1864 – 1946)
Both Saeed and Bob are aggressive ambitious people, both have good people skills and both are repositories of interesting facts and are great teachers.
Take Away from Discussing “Consciousness” in Ouray, Colorado
Ouray, Colorado is in the “Rocky Mountains.”
Ouray is so beautiful it is called “the Switzerland of the Rockies.”
Ann Ryan wrote “Atlas Shrugged” while living in Ouray, Colorado.
In preparation for their meeting to discuss “consciousness” in Ouray, Bob and his two of his two academic friends read two books – “Physics and Philosophy – the Revolution in Modern Science” by Werner Heisenberg and “How We Know” by Harry Binswanger. Consciousness
The following, according to Bob, is Bob’s take away from his weekend of discussions about consciousness with his two friends:
- “Consciousness” is the main tool of survival. All forms of consciousness are related to survival.
- All animals exist at a “perceptual level of consciousness”: animals perceive and then react to what they perceive.
- Humans can exist at a “higher level of consciousness”: Humans may operate at a “conceptual level of consciousness.”
- Humans have the capacity “conceive” and “to conceptualize”, which is an ability to derive knowledge from perception. This is one of the “abilities” that differentiates humans from all other living things.
- Making use of perceptions is called “thinking.”
- Forming a “concept” and integrating it into a bank of knowledge requires work.
- Most people exist at a perceptual level equivalent to that of a programed robot.
- The most productive and highest level of work is performed by people who think and work at a highly developed conceptual level. Those people are “critical thinkers.”
During his discussions with me, Saeed explained that
- Medical training consists of learning facts and procedures.
- Physicians are required to follow a “standard of care.”
- Physicians are not required to understand whether or not the “standard of care” they follow or advice they give and/or the drugs they prescribe make sense.
- They are not required to follow/track what happens to their patients’ health after their patients follow their advice by taking various pills they prescribe. As a result, they do not conduct this type of very basic organized systematic clinical research record keeping.
- Preventative care/gatekeeper physicians (i.e., internists) are not “investigators”, they are practitioners.
- They can be thought of as one would think of computers that have been loaded with an operating system and software applications.
- As physicians, they are required by hospitals they work at, by their licensing board and by legal liability laws to follow published standards of care.
- General practitioners (gate-keeper physicians) are not required to scientifically keep track of the clinical results achieved by their patients with respect to whether medical objectives (i.e. prevention of heart attacks, reversal of dementia, etc. etc.) were achieved.
When I complained to Saeed that the standard procedure of prescribing statin drugs to lower cholesterol appears to me not to be based on good science, Saeed responded: That is the standard of care doctors are required to follow; doctors could be sued if they did not prescribe a cholesterol lowering drug to a patient who had “high” cholesterol if such a patient subsequently had a heart attack. In other words, since it is the standard of care to do so, as a matter of “defensive medicine” doctors will prescribe such medication rather than evaluating or doing an experiment or using the clinical information of their patients which is at their finger tip to determine whether or not taking that medicine makes sense.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hac
I have recently become very skeptical of how medicine is conventionally practiced as a result of noticing people who followed their doctors advice having heart attacks, doctors being uncritical and lacking knowledge about dietary standards and the medical properties of food, and not having a complete view of how to prevent heart attacks or how to live a healthy life.
In ancient Roman times it was realized that correlation does not equal/does not prove causation.
The proposition, “It follows this therefore it was caused by that – post hoc ergo propter hac” is faulty logic.
Yet when I asked doctors who claimed they practiced “evidence based medicine” why they were prescribing various medicines, it turned out they had not independently evaluated the test given or the test results reported upon which their drug prescribing (some would say drug pushing) medical practices are based and that they were prescribing drugs because they had been taught to prescribe those drugs or had been “without critically thinking” been talked into prescribing those drugs.
I did exam and evaluate the experiments upon which the drug prescribing protocols are based.
Based upon my examination it appeared to me and I concluded, and it has recently been noticed by the National Institute of Health, that the medical profession is proceeding on a faulty logical basis – due to not knowing how to design an experiment or how to interpret data – when prescribing drugs.
That worries me because I take a statin to lower my cholesterol, but I am not convinced that in my case taking a statin is a good idea.
I am worried that taking a statin will become the number one influence in my life by causing me – over time – to lose my mental acuity.
Many heart attack patients who have followed their physician’s advice (taken the appropriate cholesterol lowering drugs/pills, exercised, etc) are shocked when they have a heart attack.
I am one of that legion of people.
Based on my own personal research, over a two year period, I have come to the following conclusions:
There are compelling health benefits to be derived from having a “healthy life style”, consisting of:
- eating/following a “healthy” diet,
- getting a good night’s sleep,
- keeping active,
- avoiding stress, and
- properly dealing with stress.
I spent two years performing independent research on (a) how to prevent and reverse health disease, (b) how to avoid having diabetes, (c) how to increase brain function and to avoid dementia, (i.e. how to avoid losing cognitive abilities) before coming to those “life style” health benefit conclusions.
NOTE: “Reality” is often defined not by the facts but by beliefs.
As a result, one person’s reality is often perceived to be very different from another’s.
Stress, Depression, Use of Drugs and Suicidal Tendencies in Gifted Individuals
I am very upset that Robin Williams committed suicide.
I don’t buy the theory that Robin Williams had “inner demons.”
Gifted individuals have “high energy” and have superior intelligence. This often results in them experiencing the world in a manner that creates social and emotional issues for them.
For example, they often have difficulties relating to or communicating with their peers.
These differences can and often do result in them becoming socially isolated.
In that man is a social animal, being socially isolated can be very depressing which can lead to a gifted individual not caring whether he lives or dies and when such an individual is in great emotional pain that emotional pain may lead to suicidal tendencies.
I have the following ideas, opinions and comments on how Robbin Williams’ mental condition led to his suicide:
- Humor is a disguised form of wisdom that comes from having a painful experience.
- Being a comedian requires one to always be “on.”
- Always being “on” (exuding high energy) is draining.
- Robbin Williams realized that if taking pills to calm himself “down” (i.e. which he understood was necessary to “dull” pain which is one of the markers of depression) resulted in calming him down he would no longer be able to be an exceptionally mentally alert and highly talented person.
- Taking anti-depression pills would make him and made it “impossible” for him to be “on.” He realized if he could not be “on” all the time it would be impossible for him to continue being the exceptionally witty sharp and amazing comedian and actor that he is.
- He brilliantly recognized that he was in an inescapable situation. He had to decide which of two awful conditions to spend the rest of his life – (a) being a depressed/unhappy/socially isolated comedian, or (b) being a brain dull nebbish.
- He recognized that he was in a “no-win” impossibly painful situation which made his life not worth living.
- If realized if he continued to take anti-depressant pills he would/could not be who he “is.”
- He understood that if he continued to take anti-depressant pills he could/would no longer continue to be himself.
- If he took anti-depression drugs he would be a “nebbish” and he “rationally” decided that is not who he was/is or what he wanted to be.
- Robin Williams was not mentally unstable.
- Robin Williams had superior super high reasoning power.
- Robin Williams was mentally brilliant.
- Robin Williams was so sensitive, that he was TOO aware of being different.
- Robbin Williams was so brilliant that he realized that as a result of his unique brilliance he was living a “one-of-a-kind-life” with would always result in him feeling he was “alone.”
- Robbin Williams realized he was like “the swan who thought he was an ugly duckling while living with ducks that didn’t realize he was a swan until he saw another swan” except for the fact he was not going to find another Robin Williams, people of similar mental giftedness, to hang out with.
- Consider his mental agility, the quickness of his brain, as demonstrated in the variety of roles he so brilliantly/dazzlingly performed in “Mork & Mindy”, “Good Morning Vietnam”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Dead Poets Society”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Hook”, “The Fisher King”, “Aladdin”, “Bengal Tiger”, etc. etc.
- He was truly “one of a kind.”
My advice to anyone having difficulty being brilliant: Steep your mind by doing something you are passionate about which will soothe your soul.
copyright © 2014 by Gary S. Smolker
Posted on August 12, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, "Dead Poets Society", "How We Know" by Harry Binswanger, "Physics and Philosophy" by Werner Heisenberg, addiction, Alfred Stieglitz, Ayn Rand, comedic genius, comedy, concepts, conceptual consciousness, consciousness, control, creativity, depression, drug side effects, dynamic thinking, education of physicians, Emile Zola, entertainers, experience, experiential consciousness, genius, Harry Binswanger, inner demons, intellectually gifted individuals, intelligence, interjecting too much of yourself into a role, knowledge, logic, medicine, mental agility, mind, mind altering drugs, mindsets, misuse of drugs, Navajo Nation, not being in control, obsession, out of place, out of touch, overwork, overworked, pained soul, passion, perception, perceptual consciousness, persona-stretching, Robin Williams, science, scientific methodology, search for truth, sleeping pills, slot canyons in the Upper and Lower Antelope Valley, soul, soul of the Navajo Nation, stress, successful business executives, successful entertainers, Switzerland of the Rockies, taking on a character other than yourself, technological developments, the advancement of knowledge, the creative process, the daily practice of medicine, the practice of medicine, the psychology of consciousness, the science of consciousness, the search for the truth, thinking, training of physicians, truth, Upper and Lower Antelope Valleys in Arizona, Werner Heisenberg, what happens to physicians' minds as a result of being a part of the medical professional. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.