After Hours

Malign Hypercognition Disorder

Cover of Soon I Will Be InvincibleAustin Grossman, in his novel Soon I Will Be Invincible has created a new psychiatric disorder to describe "evil genius syndrome." The anti-protagonist of the story Dr. Impossible, is a self-described supervillain and states that becoming evil is a natural result of having an impossibly high intelligence.

Being a long-time fan of comics, I was very interested in the author's theory that extreme intelligence in and of itself would lead one to a life crime. While villains often are described as being simply insane, such as Batman's foil "The Joker," the villains I find most believable are the ones that justify their actions with the belief that if they ran the world, things would be better. This is not to argue that The Joker is not a frightening realization of the pure creative and destructive power of ungoverned chaos theory, which would well explain why his actions are sometimes stupid and harmless and sometimes frighteningly realistic terrorist scenarios (I would dare anyone to not ask themselves if some terror group had access to Smilex gas, which makes victims laugh themselves to death, if they would not use it as some event like New Year's Eve in New York City).

Our current society values beauty, power and money much higher than intelligence. I find myself agreeing with the author that individuals with a high intelligence often do not have the same values as their society. And having a god-like intelligence would lead one eventually to break the rules of the society as they would be viewed as unimportant.

My question to the readers is very simple. Does possessing an extremely high intelligence lead to eventually transgressing the established rules of the society in which you live? I await the lively debate.

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