Christmas has come, and with it the kind of forced family times that is so famous in the critique of this time of year. Comedians and social commentators revel in the chance to tell us all how poorly they get on with their relatives and how that reflects upon the rest of us.
Personally, I do rather dread Christmas conversations. I’m a scientist, and I’ve been a scientist at heart for a long time now. I take for granted essential skills such as critical thinking which a lot of people don’t have. However, I know that some people have those critical skills but don’t use them. Such is my family.
I think that this is a terrible waste. I get genuinely depressed when I see people who are intelligent, upstanding, nice people, with the potential to be sensible and rational, just squandering their gifts. But that’s not the bad part.
The bad part is when said people pretend that such skills don’t (or shouldn’t) matter. It’s anti-intellectualism by people who could easily be so themselves.
I think that the worst example of this is in people in University – my age – who are some of the most intelligent people I know and they act like they are stupid because being intelligent isn’t cool. Such behavior makes me actively dislike the people who display it. Indeed, I’ve met more than a few members of the opposite sex who I’d be extremely interested in were it not for them pretending to be rather less intelligent than they truly are.
Honestly, I find that kind of attitude insulting for everyone involved. Every year I have to sit around while my whole life and philosophy is roundly dismissed as unworthy, useless, and annoying. My whole raison d’etre is to pursue intellectually stimulating things, and I expect that others who are capable of following such things (such as my family) are at least capable of appreciating that.
I like Christmas, and I love my family, but I hate having to converse with them for very long because I end up realizing their attitude towards people like me is simply disdain. Worse; they don’t even really realize they’re doing it.
To top it off, I can’t help feeling that such people make up a disappointing proportion of the general population. Intelligent but convinced that their own intelligence is a bad thing. I find few prospects more utterly soul destroying.
Merry Christmas, everyone.