Deeper Perception Made Practical

Extra smart? How STUFF can hurt you.


Blog-Buddies DAVE and GRACE got this Smartie thread going. DAVE began by asking, in Comment 10 at this blog post about Tenderness in Relationships, especially for empaths:

I’ve always wondered what you mean by this:

“Being exceptionally intelligent (Gifted and talented people are at least as vulnerable socially as people with really low IQs – something not widely known but definitely true.)”

Could you elaborate on this a bit? It makes sense to me on one level, but also seems counter-intuitive. Conventional wisdom has it that smart people are better equipped to handle situations. Also though, the phrase “Too smart for her own good” comes to mind.

I’m really curious what the implications of this are for smart people!


Very human problems for highly INTELLIGENT persons

Isn’t it interesting that most of us Blog-Buddies are used to thinking of Highly Sensitive Persons but not also Highly Intelligent Persons. DAVE, GRACE W., and many of you other Blog-Buddies are both!

Before I respond to DAVE’S interesting question, here is a great response offered by GRACE W. in Comment 10 at that same blog article:

One thing that comes to mind is that those who aren’t as intelligent as the exceptionally intelligent don’t always “get” that person and can misunderstand them. Doesn’t always make for easy social connections. Also, the less intelligent can feel threatened or jealous of the person. Not exactly easy socially, either.

There have been many exceptionally intelligent people who are visionaries and see things – creatively, in society, you name it – that others don’t. Loads of visionaries throughout history have been ridiculed, only to be proven correct over time, once everyone else caught up with them.

Then there’s the challenge for women of being exceptionally intelligent…which I don’t think has ever necessarily been all that easy. People can be threatened by intelligence.

Many of the institutions in society run based on a standard of mediocrity. If an exceptionally intelligent person comes along and shares their ideas in one of these places, it can be very challenging for those who prefer the status quo. Believe it or not, loads of folks are just fine rolling along with a standard of mediocrity.

Wow, GRACE W! Awesome points, all!

Here are some ideas I can add to this new thread.

How I learned about the vulnerability of the gifted and talented

?Yes, there was one specific moment of aha! for me about Highly INTELLIGENT Persons. My son, Matt, received an excellent education in the public schools of Loudoun County. While in elementary school, he was accepted into a program for gifted and talented kids, Futura.

All the parents of Futura kids were invited to a meeting to inform us about this program, so this doting mom went. Roz Zeitz, the superb instructor, gave us a rousing introduction. What gobsmacked me was when she said, as I remember it:

You hear a lot about the social problems of children who are developmental disabled or have other learning disabilities. What don’t you hear? Gifted and talented children are at least as vulnerable socially.

Then Ms. Zeitz went on to detail points like those noted in GRACE W.’s first paragraph.

As my healing practice developed in Energy Spirituality, I really began to notice a group of clients who have been coming to me, a group I love to help, those Highly INTELLIGENT Persons. Below are some of the problems that I have noticed showing up with such folks, whether empaths or not, on their path to Enlightenment.

All of the following problems are solvable. And they are also perceived with Stage Three Energetic Literacy. If you are not yet familiar with that term, or the term chakra databank,” you might like to type these items into our SEARCH box on the top left column. Just becauase you are a Highly INTELLIGENT Person does not mean that you already know everything. 😉

Auric modeling problems for Highly INTELLIGENT Persons

Everyone can develop aura reading skills. But until that Stage Three Energetic Literacy is fluent (like your reading of this screen using “Gutenberg Literacy”) at least everybody reads auras already perfectly fine… at a subconscious level.

When we do this automatic reading, we respond nonverbally to other people.

And Highly INTELLIGENT Persons can seem terribly intimidating at that level — especially if there is loads of STUFF (stuck emotional and/or spiritual energy at the level of chakra databanks).

For instance, what if JOE has a Solar Plexus Chakra Databank about Intellectual Growth that:

  1. Over-functions, so right now, at the third layer of his aura, the chakra databank goes all the way out to the moon.
  2. STUFF stuck in his aura gives an edge to his understanding, where he believes subconsciously that most people are not capable of understanding them.
  3. And part of JOE’s particular configuration of STUFF (until healed) causes him to play a perpetual game of showing how intellectually superior he is, every conversation, every time.

Quite apart from what JOE says and does in surface reality, other people may try to smash him down whenever possible. Aurically he makes such a tempting target.

Cords of attachment for a Highly INTELLIGENT Persons

Every human being hurts. Sometimes we hurt a lot.

And often, as you Blog-Buddies know, particular incidents of hurt are congealed in cords of attachment. Every cord of attachment you have repeats within your aura and subconscious mind 24/7.

At least once every day of your life. More often if you are in touch with cordee.

That changes if the cord of attachment is permanently cut (and cord-cutting with quality control is a skill set, unlike much that is done in the field today).

However, before a cord of attachment is cut, with JOE for instance, there could be many humiliating incidents from school days that keep recycling 24/7. When those cords of attachment are gone, school days can be left behind. Otherwise, ouch!

Even within a Futura-type program, there can be internalized oppression and other rivalries that leave cruel imprints — apparent wounds that can, with Energy Spirituality skills, be moved out for good.

Energetic Subroutines and Outsourcing for Highly INTELLIGENT Persons

“Mess begets mess.” You’ve heard it about housecleaning. The same is true of auras.

When someone has social problems from other people not understanding what is obvious to JOE  (such as STUFF related to cords of attachment), guess what?

JOE can mislabel social problems. For instance, he can interpret miscommunication as:

  • An invitation for him to show how much smarter he is than others.
  • Yet more motivation to detach from relationships with most people “since they aren’t capable of understanding me”
  • Further reason to stop and grow ever more over-subjective, thinking and re-thinking each painful social incident.

What helps? With Energy Spirituality, I use a combination of take out (Cords of attachment, outdated facade bodies, etc.) and put in (researching social skills by pulling out energetic holograms and revealing one chakra databank at a time, what on earth really happened in that incident between JOE and the failed love relationship, etc.)

By permanently moving out STUFF and replacing it with social skills and understandings appropriate to JOE’s soul, right now, there is a further benefit of stopping the growing disconnect between over-emphasized chakra databanks and ones that under-function.

Otherwise, it is quite possible for a Highly INTELLIGENT Person like JOE to have a Solar Plexus Chakra Databank about Intellectual Growth that over-functions drastically. And, beyond that, he is used to outsourcing energetically.

For instance, if you used aura reading to research his Heart Chakra Databank about Emotional Growth, you might find an energetic subroutine. Because JOE thinks he is really, really perceptive about the human heart, evolving rapidly in that way. Whereas, in reality, as shown clearly at the level of chakra databanks:

  • JOE’s Heart Chakra Databank about Emotional Growth is stuck at 1/8 inch (the smallest a chakra databank can become, since they never entirely get ruined; a permanent gift of the soul remains, which is a reason I say that “STUFF can always, always, always be healed).
  • A structural mechanism, at the level of chakra databanks, has him automatically detour to  his  Solar Plexus Chakra Databank about Intellectual Growth.
  • Actually, JOE hasn’t felt a human emotion in years. (This could, of course, be healed — no discouragement for JOE, no, no!)

Implications of this for healing are huge, Blog-Buddies. For instance, if any of you work as psychotherapists or psychiatrists, you are familiar with clients who are very well defended against a particular type of human behavior, such as experiencing their own emotions directly.

You might be used to conceptualizing this in terms of resistance that must be understood and moved out. I can assure you, based on work with clients, that all it takes is a session or two for most clients with this type of energetic subroutine. Bam! The detour is over, the chakra databank works properly again, and quality of life shifts permanently.

Conclusion? So many could be considered, especially if you are a Highly INTELLIGENT Person

So, your turn, you Smart Blog-Buddies. What have you’all noticed? What are your latest thoughts?

It’s a delightful prospect to this healer that folks who have been super-bright, yet energetically compromised or socially awkward or deeply mired in being unskilled empaths, can take hope. Just remember, “STUFF can always, always, always be healed.”

Share this

Join the Discussion

  1. 1
    anonymous says:

    Grace, I really appreciate this line you wrote:

    “Many of the institutions in society run based on a standard of mediocrity.” Yes, very true!

    I wonder what you mean, Grace, by this:

    “the challenge for women of being exceptionally intelligent.”

    You didn’t really elaborate, as if this was a given. But I’m not really sure what you mean, beyond cliches of powerful men only wanting to date their pretty secretaries (which is probably more about power than intelligence). How have you experienced this?

    I think, as part of a younger generation, I didn’t experience this “girls shouldn’t be/aren’t smart” prejudice as much, at least not in school among my peers. My first boyfriend- despite all the other horrible flaws of the relationship- would always brag about how smart I was and how I was smarter than him. My intelligence is also just about the only thing my dad likes about me.

    I should note that I did grow up learning the man/woman power differential model: man powerful taker, woman not so powerful give-give-giver. I think this is generally probably linked with the intelligence thing, but in my personal case it wasn’t.

  2. 2
    Amy says:

    Growing up I also had gifted and talented summer schools and Saturday programs and extra curricular courses doing some exams earlier just because.

    So to Anonymous – as a girl and now a woman, I have had situations where male teachers and tutors have been intimidated (in my perception and those of some of my classmates) and don’t take my answers on board within the class even when they are valid and detailed points.

    My granddad always told me feminists can’t get husbands (albeit in a joking manner but repeatedly) as I liked to argue the finer details of why women can have careers and all the different careers I wanted to have.

    I was once told in a Valentine’s day card when I was 13 that I had ‘the brain of a man’ and was told it was a compliment. LOL.

    I also had to break up with one teenaged boyfriend as they couldn’t really understand my inner life and why I ‘think so much’.

    I’m currently in a temporary work situation where the overall manager suggested to my team leader that I be the second in command since ‘I help everyone when he’s not there anyway’, and my team leader doesn’t know that I know this, and he has never mentioned it to me and has resisted teaching me any more intricacies about our database than I absolutely need to. He may just be protecting his job though, as if he’s the only one who can manage it he’s not going to get fired!

    I can add more, but I’m swimming in the morning and going to bed so I will do so tomorrow.

  3. 3
    Rachel says:

    Hi Rose,

    After you mentioned to me in a session about the vulnerability of gifted and talented students I did a bit of googling and found this quote (actually I can’t remember if you recommended this book to me or if I just stumbled upon it?):

    “It does a person no good to be incredibly bright if at the same time she is also incredibly miserable or has such emotional impairment that she functions destructively.” –James T. Webb, Guiding the Gifted Child.

    That quote really spoke to me. Looking back, it seems that I was just expected to get on with being intelligent and get good grades at school. That was way before there were school programmes to identify gifted and talented students.

    At the same time I still rather cringe at announcing myself to be “intelligent.” So it seems as though along with being intelligent I/we were were supposed to pretend not to be! Not so much because I/we were female but more because it was not modest to know or declare yourself to be bright. It might make other people feel bad, and the meek shall inherit the Earth etc!

    Plus, I think that in the UK it is not seen to be “cool” to be bright (at school). Is it different in the States?

    Yeah, I guess I identify more with the type who feels under pressure to dumb down their intelligence than with those who need to demonstrate their intellectual superiority over others….. though I’m sure that there are often times when I overthink things way too much…

  4. 4
    Dave says:

    > So to Anonymous – as a girl and now a woman, I have had situations where male teachers and tutors have been intimidated (in my perception and those of some of my classmates) and don’t take my answers on board within the class even when they are valid and detailed points.

    For perspective, this happened many times to me too as a male. I don’t know that it’s gender specific, I could be wrong though, and would like to hear more discussion on it.

    Also thanks for the response Rose. This makes sense. To be honest, I was expecting something more egregious. I think in my experience the problem with being gifted is being in the midst of an American culture that promotes and worships intellectual and spiritual mediocrity. By being an HSP or highly intelligent, you are already not the norm, which by definition (in pop culture and the school system, perhaps the two most important systems in America) is bad and or wrong. There are exceptions of course, but America, and the UK perhaps, are truly conformist cultures. We value individualism, but only if it fits into a pre-defined sub-culture.

    On a practical note too, most people aren’t Highly Intelligent, and thus CANNOT understand the inner workings of a highly Intelligent person. To use a Rose Rosetree teaching as metaphor, it’s like a Human versus an astral being. There’s a different level of complexity in the one than the other, although to a lesser extent. People often would say, “oh you’re so smart” to me growing up, but there was always an undertone that emphasized that it was something different and away from them. I’d imagine the same tone used by whites to reference African Americans: there’s always an unclosable gap.

    Enough philosophizing for today.

  5. 5
    Adam McIntosh says:

    Hi Dave,
                  While it happens to people of every social demographic to some extent, what you describe is generally a gendered phenomenon. That is, women and girls are far more frequently considered “intimidating” when they are seen to demonstrate their intelligence. This often leads to their contributions being minimised, and a wide array of other silencing tactics.

    If it happened to you, it probably didn’t happen because you were male. When it happens to women, it often is because of their gender.

  6. 6
    Adam McIntosh says:

    lol I forgot to take the heading out from my notepad.. Rose, is there any way I can clean that up?

  7. 7
    Dana says:

    One of my female friends in high school would pretend to be really dumb around boys. She would almost turn into a different person. It was like her brain would empty and she would get this blank look in her eyes, like she was just a Barbie doll.

    I would look at the boys’ reaction, expecting them to be disgusted or annoyed, but they LOVED it. They couldn’t get enough of the act. Guys were lining up to date her. I lost count of how many hearts she broke.

    But I guess I should have wondered about the intelligence of someone who doesn’t want intelligence:)

  8. 8
    Adam McIntosh says:

    Also, Dave, I have to say I find it fairly troubling that you would draw any comparative connection between “the plight of the highly intelligent” (given that intelligence, despite the way it can complicate certain social interactions, is an inherent advantage/privilege) the massive structural oppression faced by African-Americans. They are in no way equivalent in scope or severity.

  9. 9
    Amanda says:

    Hello all 🙂

    Well, I’m lucky enough to have a happy story to tell, due mainly to my great school.

    I was at a boarding school which focused more on individual talents than on any particular ideal of what a child should be: not an academic hothouse as many UK boarding schools are. It focused on being an all-rounder and there was no special emphasis on any aspect – sports, art, academia, music – but if you had an individual talent it was nurtured. And if you didn’t particularly, that was also OK. Whatever you were was OK.

    So, I was really intelligent but not that great at sports and disastrous at woodwork, and my close friends were really good at sports or art or quite clever, and it was all absolutely OK and we never thought twice about it.

    I was way more intelligent than my teachers but they just let me be and enjoyed it, and even arranged extracurricular Greek O level to ‘keep me entertained’ (though I now wonder if it was also to take my thoughts off boys :D). In sixth form English I remember we all knew I’d get an A without any problem, and the teacher wouldn’t even ask me for my homework essays – perfect when you’re seventeen!

    I came out with a fundamental security and comfort in my own skin that I took entirely for granted, and it was a big shock to me to get to Oxford and realise what being intelligent had come to symbolise to many people there. Not only sad stories of being ostracised or misunderstood, but other sad stories of having been brought to believe it was the only important aspect of their existence. Not that those stories were told – they just had clearly shaped so many people.

    It wasn’t perfect – boarding school leaves its own scars – but when I remember them it also helps to remember what was good about the school. And happily it’s still running on the same principles and my own children are there.. but as day people 🙂

    So, a happy story!


  10. 10
    Amy says:

    Yeah it might not be, I just can’t think of situations where female teachers have reacted the same way. Although the male members of my current class do seem quite subdued this year with our male tutor! Maybe it’s just the teacher.

  11. 11
    Rachel says:

    Amanda, your comment reminded me of something I came across a while ago about a theory of multiple intelligences. I don’t know much about this, but there is some Harvard guy who has identified a variety of different types of intelligence. Here’s a wee snippet from Wikipedia:

    “Since 1999, Gardner has identified eight intelligences: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.”

    From what I recall, Gardner is suggesting that what we commonly call intelligence is really just one kind of intelligence – logic-mathematical, which leaves us completely overlooking and dismissing so many other gifts, such as bodily intelligence that you might find in, say, a dancer or an athlete.

    I’m totally with him on this. I think it’s such an imbalance that society places so much reverence on intellectual/academic stuff, meaning there are millions of people who consider themselves unintelligent, when in fact they have so many rich talents and gifts to offer, if we would but recognise their validity.

  12. 12
    Amanda says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I couldn’t agree more, and in fact human society would be in a pretty poor state without artists or practical hands-on understanding or physical prowess.

    It seems to be a skew in how we value ourselves, and I saw plenty of that skew in academia: a dismissal of physical fitness or beauty as being ‘brainless’, or enjoying, even adoring the arts without playing with them personally – as if the person doing the dismissal was only allowed to be intelligent and couldn’t be sexy or arty or practical at the same time.

    A sad way to lock ourselves up, but I’d suggest the problem of intelligence being rated more highly than other human talents is probably due to that very skew being in the hearts of the people who are most likely to have influence on the media or on children, i.e. the intelligentsia.

    Gardiner’s found a ‘naturalistic’ intelligence? That’s very interesting and I’d like to know more. He’d only got up to seven when I studied him way back when: glad to hear he’s keeping on going because it’s such interesting and valid research.


  13. 13
    Grace W says:

    ADAM, while I understand the gist of what you said in comment 8 in response to DAVE’s prior comment, I can’t help but notice exactly the kind of challenge often faced by highly intelligent people reflected in what you shared.

    What I’m getting at is this. Of course it’s pointless to mention any particular minority group that has been persecuted anywhere in the world in a conversation about challenges faced by highly intelligent people. One could easily get into a competition about who’s been the most persecuted and who has suffered the most pain. Unfortunately, there are all too many groups to mention.

    That said, I get the essence of what (I think) DAVE was expressing (and DAVE, please correct me if I’m wrong).

    Which is — expressing the discomfort, frustration, and disappointment that come with simply being authentic and having the person you’re talking with respond in a way that ranges anywhere from subtle to blatant rejection. Whether it’s for skin color, sexual preference, intelligence, gender, you name it, it ain’t easy to deal with that, especially if you had big doses of that kind of treatment from the start. And personal pain is personal pain.

    One need not dwell on that personal pain and there are certainly choices related to how to respond, but I think it’s worth mentioning this dynamic, which comes across as “others have suffered more; you’re lucky. Your pain doesn’t count in comparison to theirs.”

    That’s the dynamic that winds up silencing highly intelligent people. And that leads to a whole host of other challenges.

    The general conversation in this thread reminded me of a wonderful book I read years ago that all the highly intelligent blog buddies would probably find helpful and fascinating. This dynamic and also some of the patterns ROSE mentioned are mentioned.

    The title is “The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius,” by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, Psy.D.

    Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences are mentioned, as are common challenges for the highly intelligent, as well as strategies for overcoming them.

    What Elaine Aron has done for HSPs in her books, Elaine Jacobsen does for highly intelligent adults in this book.

  14. 14
    Adam McIntosh says:

    Hi Grace,

    I didn’t go into enormous detail with my comment 8 and I can see why you might have formed the opinion of it that you have. I don’t believe that “others have suffered more; you’re lucky. Your pain doesn’t count in comparison to theirs” is the message I am trying to convey.

    What I am pointing out about Dave’s post, in comments 5 and 8, is what appear to be unconscious expressions of privilege. Comment 5 refers to an expression of male privilege and 8 refers to an expression of racial privilege. I don’t know what Dave’s ethnicity is, but when he says “ I’d imagine the same tone used by whites to reference African Americans” I think it’s fairly clear that he’s not an African American person (otherwise he wouldn’t have to imagine that tone).

    My point in comment 8 is that massive structural oppression against a persecuted racial demographic is not a comparison people should casually evoke.

    Rose has often said that enlightenment doesn’t automatically provide people with energetic literacy – it’s a skillset you have to learn. In a similar vein, you could say that being highly intelligent doesn’t automatically confer understanding of critical race theory or privilege.

  15. 15
    Liv says:

    Probably the biggest challenge for me has been achieving balance.

    As one illustration, over the years, being an (unskilled) emotional empath caused me a lot of suffering. But being an intellectual empath (skilled or not) really only seemed to bring me positive things, and in many cases, even helped me to minimize or escape suffering. I grew to believe that the intellect was superior to my often painful emotional, easily manipulated spiritual, and ridiculously vulnerable physical aspects.

    As a consequence, I respected and valued my intellect most highly, and put most of my time, energy and other resources to nurturing and caring for my mind – often to the neglect of other parts of myself. In some cases, my intellect would even work with me to bully these other aspects of myself into accepting their lesser status.

    Eventually, my emotional, spiritual and physical health started to suffer, and I had to bring my life back into balance, finally recognizing that all aspects of ourselves benefit from balance, and that there is no “superior” aspect; they all bring value to the table. Notably, I didn’t really see the need to make any dramatic changes until my failing health in other areas started to affect my intellect, in the form of short-term memory problems!! I finally got the message, though!! I am still on that particular journey, but getting better all the time.

  16. 16
    Dave says:

    My main intent in the comment, which I understood as controversial before I posted it, was that in the tone of being praised as intelligent, there was always an implicit acknowledgement and judgment that I was DIFFERENT. With the praise came the label of other. I understood this because I can pick up on people’s subtleties of language, much more so when I was an unskilled empath. All the time I focused on it. Its like: “Oh you’re so smart” but you’re also in a category which I’m not in, which most people aren’t in, and which due to its rareness, is strange. This was the energetic and emotional subtext to their comments which I’ve picked up on this my whole life.

    The comparison is then that I see this same thing sometimes when people are relating to ethnic minorities (an ethnic minority is, someone whose ethnicity is not in the majority somewhere!) There is often an acknowledgment of their otherness as a positive trait, while the energetic or emotional subtext conveys that the person really identifies them as an other that they can’t understand and can’t really relate to. I’ve seem this often coming from American white males to American black males, both of whom I’ve had much experience with. “Oh you’re so black man, that’s awesome!” Yet the tone of voice indicates that the white guy is identifying the black guy as an other. He’s acknowledging a barrier that can’t be overcome. Thus the acknowledgment is back-handed in a way. This is the comparison I intended to make.

    No where did I say that highly intelligent people have been overtly discriminated against for hundreds of years, segregated, and singled out for abuse, as blacks in America have. But, race (tied with gender) are the most controversial and undigested topics in American culture. Speaking frankly about either often opens up a can of worms. I also think its funny that you so eagerly put into a category of enjoying male-privilege. Such a term is horribly reductionistic and conveys the idea of men as unconscious dominators. It also diminishes the suffering of men and denies them the right to pain and suffering. I’m not sure that it’s wholly based in fact either based on the amount of men who are incarcerated, who are killed in wars, who are victims of violence, and the diminishing achievement of men in America. Women in their 20’s now earn more than their male counterparts and are getting over 50% of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

    “There is no doubt that boys are not faring well in school. From elementary schools to high schools they have lower grades, lower class rank, and fewer honors than girls. They’re 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school, one-third more likely to drop out of high school, and about six times more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    College statistics are similar—if the boys get there at all. Women now constitute the majority of students on college campuses, having passed men in 1982, so that in eight years women will earn 58 percent of bachelor’s degrees in U.S. colleges.”


  17. 17
    Adam McIntosh says:


    Here’s the thing. You didn’t need to make any of those clarifications for me. I understood everything you wrote in comment 4.

    My responses were intended to point out a couple of things that I don’t necessarily think you understood about what you wrote.

    The fact that you dismiss the idea of male privilege, and respond with a Men’s Rights article, is in itself an expression of male privilege. Please consider learning more about it – try Melissa McEwan’s Feminism 101:

    The very nature of privilege is that it is invisible to the people who hold it. Unless you deliberately take the time to find out more about it, you can’t see it.

  18. 18
    Amy says:


    I love Melissa’s blog thank you for the intro!

  19. 19
    Adam McIntosh says:

    Hi Amy,


    Melissa is awesome…. I love her coverage of the republican primaries!

  20. 20
    Amanda says:

    I would say from personal experience that the degree of seeing, suffering from and sensitivity to ‘difference’ (whether from ourselves or others) is more a function of our own perception than an actual truth.

    The truth in our hearts is negotiable and the more STUFF gets removed, the more resilience and tolerance develops.

    I look back now at some of my most sensitive issues in the past and think ‘wow, i can’t believe I was walking around like that!’

    Other things still hurt a little still but I’m glad to have gained some kind of handle on the process 🙂

    An attitude of tolerance and forgiveness is essential to get past this kind of cloud in the mind.


  21. 21
    Amy says:

    There’s also this article from

    Which considers the effects on men and boys.
    I do think the ability to be aware of privilege is very important. I try to read blogs by black activists, and fat activists as I am a slim white women with my own privileges.

  22. 22
    Grace W says:

    Living near the land of Berkeley, CA, which probably has more activists of various persuasions per capita than most U.S. cities, the talk of activism has sparked a familiar cringe response in me. 🙂

    I get that lots of important changes have been spurred by the actions of activists. But engaging in just a normal conversation? Trying to connect on a personal level? Oy! Mainly it’s a style difference for me. I’m definitely not the conventional type, with “defiance leader” the descriptor ROSE shared with me in the course of a face reading session.

    In Berkeley, if one happens to mention certain hot topics, the labels and theories and “-isms” come flying out…none of which I handily fit into. Which is what I find most annoying about those types of conversations I’ve experienced.

    It’s also why, more and more, I find comfort in Non-violent communication as a framework for attempting to communicate. What are the underlying needs the other guy is trying to get met? Whether rich or poor, privileged or not? We’re all just trying to get our needs met, with some strategies more successful than others.

    Seems to me that simply being heard, understood, valued, accepted, respected…those are pretty common needs. And sometimes for the highly intelligent, it’s tough getting those needs met. Or it was growing up, anyway.

    Since I’ve redefined that approach for myself, I’ve found it to be very helpful. Makes for more ease in connecting.

  23. 23
    Amy O says:

    Grace W.

    I do think activism is very important because racism and sexism and other ism’s do exist and are institutionalised and normalised in our culture at the macro level as well. While change and empathy at the level of the individual is all well and good, we can still be complicit in the oppression of the other people by our implicit support of the culture and by not examining it and not supporting those who do.

  24. 24
    Grace W says:

    AMY O, glad you think activism is important. As I said in my comment, I know that lots of good change has come about through activism.

    What I’ve found fascinating and actually annoying at the personal level, through many, many interactions with folks who describe themselves as activists of one sort or another, is a certain inability to apply the very themes that they claim to work hard for at the cultural level in interpersonal interactions.

    There are also lots of different ways to bring about change. Keeping an open mind to that is what is important to me.

  25. 25
    Adam McIntosh says:

    Hi Grace,

    Given your stated committment to non-violent communication, and given that you have not personally met Amy or I (as far as I know), I’m sure that you don’t mean to imply that Amy and I are “annoying”, “difficult to connect with on a personal level” and “unable to apply the very themes that they claim to work hard for at the cultural level in interpersonal interactions”.

    Right? I’m sure you had no intention of insinuating the above, about us or the majority of activists in the world whom you have not met? I get that you’re just describing your personal experience.

    I just want to be sure.

  26. 26

    Now kids, please play nicely! In this series of comments, there has been fascinating education on activism and non-violent communication.

    But the tone of the exchange is developing a bit of a charge. Could we please avoid both these threads at this blog? I’d appreciate it.

  27. 27
    Adam McIntosh says:

    Hi Rose,

    I apologise for derailing this comment thread so thoroughly!

    I don’t enjoy these kinds of discussions. I find them intensely stressful. 

    I have a general policy of trying to avoid comment sections on the internet – I don’t want to see too many things that I will feel compelled to respond to. 

    I apologise for any disrespect I have given in your house, Rose.

  28. 28
    Grace W says:

    ROSE, I’m perfectly happy for the thread to be done. I would, though, appreciate having this comment appear, if you wouldn’t mind. I was actually quite surprised by Adam’s comment directed at me.

    ADAM, I assure you that I don’t insinuate and I don’t make statements of personal experience about people I haven’t met. I speak and here have only spoken from my own experience, as I intentionally stated. If I have a particular concern with an individual, I speak with them directly about it.

    Some ideas have been exchanged in a milieu that can be tricky, without the benefit of face-to-face interaction. Best to move on. No hard feelings.

  29. 29
    Adam McIntosh says:

    Hi Grace,

    I appreciate the clarification. I concur – let’s move on. No hard feelings.

Click here to comment ...

Leave Your Comment