The other day, while I sat on a bench outside, enjoying the unusual warm winter weather, I began a conversation with one of our engineers as he walked back to his office, fresh cookie in hand. We talked about fresh cookies and their primal deliciousness. I think he may be Ivy League. He seems extremely bright and he’s very friendly. He loves the small talk. Anyways, as we spoke, it occurred to me that he has a slightly different physique than most of the engineer/IT types at work.
He has a paunch.
He’s not obese, but on the other hand, he is hardly what anyone would call skinny. He’s generally a stout man but his tummy is large and protrudes through his ever-present sweater. All the other brainiacs are skinny or emaciated. We have one IT guy who is downright skeletal. His body fat flouts single digits and I wouldn’t be surprised if the famously misleading BMI indicator pegs him as underweight.
A quick internet search demonstrates the popular notion reinforced by my casual observation:
The preponderance of thought seems to be that yes, skinny people are smarter than average, but this is usually presented as an antagonist corollary to the presumption that obese people are not smart. The reasoning usually goes as such:
Dr Maxime Cournot, who headed the study, suggested that hormones secreted from fats could have a damaging effect on cerebral cells, resulting in decreased brain function. “Another explanation could be that since obesity is a widely known cardiovascular risk factor, due to the thickening and hardening of the blood vessels, that the same happens with the arteries in the brain,” said Dr Cournot, an assistant professor in clinical epidemiology at Toulouse University Hospital.
This chain of reasoning tends to predominate the disconcerting (for most people) predicament that skinny people seem to have better minds than fat people. According to most reports, it’s the intrinsic physiological manifestations of obesity that cause a “slow mind” as opposed to a “slow mind” causing obesity. This is an important distinction, especially in the fantasy world of bariatric apologism.
Obesity causes the problem, hence obesity is a cause, not a symptom; for if obesity is a symptom of anything, we are thus implying that obesity has a foundation in mental and intellectual foundations. This is a horrible thought. The diet industry might have to change; the food industry would fall asunder. Obesity, and its relegation to shortcomings of willpower and genetics, might no longer prop up the profitable self-help/nutrition industry in the gluttonous West.
I thought about the really intelligent skinny people I’ve known. I’m positive obese people can be intelligent, but it seems that invariably, very intelligent people tend to be skinny fucks.
I’m not talking about smart or very smart people, but the upper intelligentsia types. The people who take their cognitive excellence to another level. They are, as a rule, very skinny. But one must be careful, for to note such an observation means that people, the ignorantsia, will infer that you are saying obese people are dumb. But this is faulty logic. As in the Google search I posted. It’s not a case of polarized definition; it’s possible for skinny people to be supremely intelligent without discounting the possibility that obese people can be similarly intelligent. It’s just that this usually is not the case.
Why is it that astrophysicists and mathematicians are usually slender, but gossip columnists and movie reviewers are not? Why haven’t slender astrophysicists or chubby movie reviewers traded places as they age?
It’s because very intelligent people extricate from emotional reasoning, thus, emotional coping. And what is overeating, ultimately, if not emotional coping?
Every obese foodie I’ve known appears to tremble lasciviously when food, in principle or practice, appears on the horizon. Pronounced emotionalism is an innate trait of obese people. They love food, and when food is around, their emotions and physical hunger obviates common sense, logic, and self-protective sacrifice. There is little thought in an obese person’s appraisal of trigger situations. Obese people interact with the world on a superficial level of consumption and titillation. If it’s not food, it’s other trigger stimuli they likewise enjoy overindulging in.
The supremely intelligent skinny people, however, are usually hyper-analytical. They exert elevated levels of control over wayward thoughts and fancies. They are nonsensically resolute about the base deflections of daily life. The skinny intellectual codifies food into parcels of existence to be measured and appraised objectively, and thus, feeding is but an “operation” that holds no significance over any other daily operation. In fact, the more disciplined the abstinence, the more intellectually rewarding the result. The intellectual cannot be a glutton, for gluttony represents a relinquishment to emotion and sensation. Food, and feeding, to the intellectual, represents nothing enriching to their peculiar natures. A skinny intellectual views food and gossip in the same way: something small minds discuss.
The skinny intellectual does not defeat food; he ignores it because it challenges logic and objectivity.