The psychologists explain a lot of our behavior by linking it to how our ancestors, the early homo sapiens lived and how they adapted to the environment. Many of our traits – most famous being “Fight or Flight” – presumably comes from there.
But now, some behaviorists like Satoshi Kanazawa are saying that what was good for the early humans – and worked for their good – can be bad for us. This is called the Savanna Principle. One of the most common examples of this Savanna Principle is the need to eat sugary and fatty foods. This was important for the survival of the early humans, but in today’s world it can lead to tremendous health complications, given our lifestyles. So our configuration runs counter to the ingrained traits from early humans. And, possibly should be adapted afresh!
Using this principle, Kanazawa had shown how IQ was a better predictor of health than wealth. But in Sub-Saharan areas – which are still closer to our early ancestral lifestyles, health and wealth are closely correlated than with IQ. One who is stronger is better off.
Highly Intelligent People are Happier Alone Unlike Normal People
Now in another large study done with over 15,000 respondents by Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and another evolutionary psychologist Norman Li of Singapore Management University, of adults ranging in age from 18 to 28, the researchers found something really interesting: When smart people spend more time with their friends, it makes them less happy.
That means that the highly intelligent people find more happiness being alone than being with someone else!
This is despite the fact that for normal people, friends and family connections are the foundational component for happiness and well-being. We have seen this in many examples from our own experience, haven’t we? So many couples who are old live happily and healthy and then one passes away and the other one just withers away. Or when the kids move away and the old people retire and live a lonely life, they just go down in health and happiness.
In fact some studies have also shown that it’s not just the interactions involving strong connections and ties that contribute to well-being and happiness but also interactions involving weaker ties that lead to a higher level of well being.
The present research tested whether subjective well-being is related not only to interactions with these strong ties but also to interactions with weak social ties (i.e., acquaintances). In Study 1, students experienced greater happiness and greater feelings of belonging on days when they interacted with more classmates than usual. Broadening the scope in Studies 2A and 2B to include all daily interactions (with both strong and weak ties), we again found that weak ties are related to social and emotional well-being. The current results highlight the power of weak ties, suggesting that even social interactions with the more peripheral members of our social networks contribute to our well-being.
In a very interesting TEDxHayward lecture, Emma Seppala, PhD, associate director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education discusses how having good social relationships help improve physical and mental health!
Unhappier in Crowded Places
Another interesting insight from the study was that people living in higher population tend to be less happier. Of course, this has been surmised by other researchers as well. People living in smaller cities and villages are much happier than their city brethren.
… But Happiness and joy Should be Determined by YOU!
Sadhguru, a realized Mystic, has been saying this for many decades now. That, the seat of every experience of a human being is within. Whether it is the seeing or hearing or touching (all five senses really). So when the whole experience of life is within us, then why are we looking for happiness outside? He asserts that if we live to our potential as human beings, using our faculties that the human body and existence provides, it is in our nature to be joyful. That is what the entire science of Spirituality is all about. To put everyone who undertakes this journey in touch with that source of ultimate bliss and happiness!
So, if we are feeling good as a collective population by having strong or weak ties and connections but feel worse when we are in a crowd of people – a complete dichotomy! – then isn’t it time we look at the basics of happiness? Why are we happy and why shouldn’t we take charge of our own well-being?
Interestingly, given Kanazawa’s study results, it seems that the highly intelligent people have figured some part of this out on their own instinctively!
Featured Image Source