BBC Sherlock Fan Forum - Serving Sherlockians since February 2012.


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?



January 30, 2017 11:37 am  #1


Why the fear of intelligence?

Throughout the whole show, intelligence was depicted as something dangerous and intelligent protagonists as criminal, predatory, unpleasant, unreliable, anti-social individuals. Even Sherlock´s intelligence was often introduced as something abnormal and unstabile, more a nuisance than an actual help to people.

Not once was intelligence depicted as something that saves lives or generally makes people´s life easier.

With Eurus, this theme was emphasised even more. She is more intelligent than Newton, but can´t use that immense mental power for anything better than murders and elaborate torture of people.

And I ask myself - why? Why is this show so afraid of intelligence, to the extent that it literally makes it into something pathological?

Last edited by nakahara (January 30, 2017 11:37 am)


-----------------------------------

I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window there. Was there ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?

http://49.media.tumblr.com/eb0e156f55878fcd6f89dcf91ae89811/tumblr_o0eyyzrphE1spvwrzo2_1280.gif
 

January 30, 2017 12:24 pm  #2


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

Because why else would Sherlock need John if not to counterbalance pure IQ with a pinch of human emotions?
Maybe this is the simple message - high intelligence distances people from others.
It's not like Molly, Mrs H or John are stupid. They are smart but in the normal range... and they are how highly intelligent Sherlock can break the feed loop of his brain. I actually agree that high IQ often comes with low EQ so such people profit from an average friend in their life.


-----
"The posh boy loves the dominatrix." http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/love.gif Context matters.
 

January 30, 2017 12:26 pm  #3


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

I don't see the show being afraid of intelligence. I think the show is telling us what can happen if you have great intelligence, but no empathy/emotions. I think people like Moriarty and Eurus works as showing what Sherlock could have become had he not been "humanized". Sherlock starts off as wanting to be a "sosiopath", wanting to be pure brain and no emotions, disregarding them as the "fly in the ointment". And these villains are then used to how what could have happend if Sherlock had continued down that path. Or, more correct, had succeeded.

And so it works to put more nuance into Sherlock, make him see that compassion, sentiment and emotions are important. 

Or so I read the show.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"We'll live on starlight and crime scenes" - wordstrings
http://i.imgur.com/NzWTIDd.png

Team Hudders!
 
 

January 30, 2017 2:31 pm  #4


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

I think it shows that high intelligence minus humanity equals unparalleled evil.  It is not just on the TV show that you see that; we have also seen it in history, too.  Look at how high intelligence was used by the Nazis during World War II: they used their intelligence to attempt to wipe out an entire race of people, and they brought down untold suffering on millions of others.  Had Eurus possessed the humanity that Mycroft and Sherlock were blessed with (even at the beginning of the series--even in ASIP, you never saw Sherlock use his genius intelligence to commit murders, but only to solve them), she could have used her genius-level intelligence for great good, as her brothers do.

 

Last edited by kgreen20 (January 30, 2017 2:33 pm)

 

January 30, 2017 4:36 pm  #5


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

I agree, intelligence without compassion is dangerous.

As for Mycroft - I would not put him and Sherlock on the same level, not by far. Sherlock has always helped people even if he sometimes did it for the sake of the game. Mycroft's humanity, however, has mostly been restricted to his own family and even then with dubious results. This becomes very clear in TFP when he claims kindness as the reason for incarcerating his own sister. He has used Eurus's intelligence while keeping her prisoner. I would not say that Mycroft uses his intelligence for the greater good in the same way that Sherlock does. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

January 31, 2017 3:37 am  #6


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

Since Eurus is a psychopathic murderer with the ability to cast spells on people, I can't see that Mycroft had a choice in her case.  By incarcerating her, he has protected society.  With that said, however, he did make a serious mistake in allowing Moriarty to visit Eurus unsupervised.
 

 

January 31, 2017 6:30 am  #7


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

Emotion is never an advantage!


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://professorfangirl.tumblr.com/post/105838327464/heres-an-outtake-of-mark-gatiss-on-the
 

January 31, 2017 8:42 am  #8


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

I think that Mycroft comes out of TFP as good at heart, but Sherlock is the one who is really driven to save humanity.  However, it's open to debate, I think.

What Mycroft did wrong, apparently, was lying to his parents, rather than locking Eurus away on the island.  There's no suggestion at the end that Eurus is ever going to be set free - everybody seems to agree with Mycroft's choice of prison, and visits here there.   Lying to Sherlock is forgiveable because the parents and everybody else colluded with that (and it presumably wasn't Mycroft's decision initially). 

What does seem cold is that Mycroft was using Eurus for the government - but presumably he was saving multiple lives by doing so.   We don't know his motivations for sure, but he's such a softie in TFP that I could believe that he is motivated to save humanity, just as Sherlock is.

 

January 31, 2017 1:59 pm  #9


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

ewige wrote:

Because why else would Sherlock need John if not to counterbalance pure IQ with a pinch of human emotions?

When you look at ASIP, does Sherlock seem "inhuman" and "lacking emotions" to you? Is his conduct around Angelo, Mrs. Hudson and other people so abnormal?
It´s John who actually needs help here, he looks also more emotionally supressed in the long run, so how does he actually counterbalances IQ with human emotions? Is it not rather his loyalty, BAMF-iness and down-to-earth outlook on things that complements Sherlock´s IQ, rather than his emotional side?

ewige wrote:

Maybe this is the simple message - high intelligence distances people from others.
It's not like Molly, Mrs H or John are stupid. They are smart but in the normal range... and they are how highly intelligent Sherlock can break the feed loop of his brain. I actually agree that high IQ often comes with low EQ so such people profit from an average friend in their life.

High intelligence maybe distances Sherlock from others - but is it like that in the case of every single highly intelligent person ever? I think not - there are certainly highly intelligent people who interact with others just fine.
And yet we have not a single character in the show who falls outside of that pattern. And that´s why it almost looks like the writers are actually fearful of highly intelligent people out there...


-----------------------------------

I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window there. Was there ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?

http://49.media.tumblr.com/eb0e156f55878fcd6f89dcf91ae89811/tumblr_o0eyyzrphE1spvwrzo2_1280.gif
     Thread Starter
 

January 31, 2017 2:13 pm  #10


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

kgreen20 wrote:

I think it shows that high intelligence minus humanity equals unparalleled evil.
 

I think that even low or average intelligence minus humanity, compassion or conscience equals unparalleled evil, it is not only highly intelligent people who can do harm if they are like that.

During the run of the show, we encounter some characters who can be described as being in the "normal range" of intelligence and are criminals also - like Vivian Norbury of TST or Jonathan Small of TSOT. Yet these characters are counterballanced by other "normal range" characters who are nice, helpful to others, or generally good, so I have no issue with them.

But every single "genius" character in the show is described as the criminal of some sort, or as having some kind of depravity, or being mentally instabile. And with Eurus, who is the most intelligent character of all, as we are told, the show takes the cake - with the highest intelligence she also has the honour of being also the child-killer, rapist, torturer and various kind of evil all rolled into one.

And we have no "genius" character, even the minor one, who actually has a pleasant personality and who actually works for the greater good of people. Even Sherlock´s achievements are constantly doubted through characters like Sally Donovan and seen as harmful.... so much so, that when John beats him in TLD, he and Lestrade agree that they always seen him as dangerous derelict.

Why don´t we have at least one character outside of this pattern if it´s not the case of "fear of intelligence"?

 


-----------------------------------

I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window there. Was there ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?

http://49.media.tumblr.com/eb0e156f55878fcd6f89dcf91ae89811/tumblr_o0eyyzrphE1spvwrzo2_1280.gif
     Thread Starter
 

January 31, 2017 2:26 pm  #11


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

nakahara wrote:

But every single "genius" character in the show is described as the criminal of some sort, or as having some kind of depravity, or being mentally instabile.  

Not Sherlock or Mycroft. 

nakahara wrote:

And we have no "genius" character, even the minor one, who actually has a pleasant personality and who actually works for the greater good of people. 

Why don´t we have at least one character outside of this pattern if it´s not the case of "fear of intelligence"?

 

Sherlock and Mycroft?
 


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"We'll live on starlight and crime scenes" - wordstrings
http://i.imgur.com/NzWTIDd.png

Team Hudders!
 
 

January 31, 2017 4:33 pm  #12


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

Sherlock works out the riddle of Eurus and that helps him save John and her.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://professorfangirl.tumblr.com/post/105838327464/heres-an-outtake-of-mark-gatiss-on-the
 

February 13, 2017 1:56 am  #13


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

nakahara wrote:

kgreen20 wrote:

I think it shows that high intelligence minus humanity equals unparalleled evil.
 

I think that even low or average intelligence minus humanity, compassion or conscience equals unparalleled evil, it is not only highly intelligent people who can do harm if they are like that.

Indeed.  But the show is not about a person with low or average intelligence.  And the conflict of the show is the -inner- conflict inside Sherlock.  As such, the villains are the mirrors of his demons - of his desire to suppress emotions (most specifically empathy for others). 

There is no question on the show that intelligence can be of benefit.  The question on the show is whether it is a good in and of itself, or if it must be tempered by something else - specifically empathy.  And the writers fall most decidedly on the side that empathy is the proper moral standard for human beings, rather than ego (high intelligence divorced from empathy being but one example of the deadly danger of ego).  As Moffat has always declared - Sherlock is a "bad man".  And the show is his journey to becoming a "good man".

That is why those of "normal range" intelligence, like Norbury, are shown to be evil as well.  It is her ego, not her intelligence, which makes her evil.  And it is what makes Sherlock "bad" too.  As Sherlock says in TLD Ego is "the signature in human destruction."

And, in the end, Sherlock becomes a "good man" - he becomes that which you declare is absent from the show:  the genius who is happy and works, not to satisfy his ego, but for others ("the greater good").

In other words, "Sherlock" does not demonstrate a "fear of intelligence".  It demonstrates a "fear" of ego as the standard in humans, rather than empathy.

 

 

February 13, 2017 8:18 am  #14


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

Yes and ego should never outweigh intelligence!


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://professorfangirl.tumblr.com/post/105838327464/heres-an-outtake-of-mark-gatiss-on-the
 

February 13, 2017 8:49 am  #15


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

Liberty wrote:

What does seem cold is that Mycroft was using Eurus for the government - but presumably he was saving multiple lives by doing so.   We don't know his motivations for sure, but he's such a softie in TFP that I could believe that he is motivated to save humanity, just as Sherlock is.

Why does this seem "cold"? I assume helping out Mycroft must have been a welcomed distraction for Eurus, I can't imagine life being very interesting or diversified in that cell of hers. I assume Eurus must have quite enjoyed helping Mycroft bust those terrorists, proving that she was far cleverer than anyone else and making Mycroft give her Christmas treats. After all, Mycroft didn't force her to help him against her will, they had a bargain and she helped him willingly. And Mycroft actually gave her a chance to use her abilities to to something good that helpled save many lives, so I don't really see anything cold about Mycroft's actions there.
 

 

February 13, 2017 9:04 am  #16


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

I don't know if Eurus would have even seen it as a distraction...I think her information may just have been part of a her incessant babble, although that is of course how she won her treats.  So she was possibly still quite manipulative at that stage.
I am sure Mycroft felt duty and possibly some love towards his sister, but it was certainly out of duty he would try and extract information from here.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://professorfangirl.tumblr.com/post/105838327464/heres-an-outtake-of-mark-gatiss-on-the
 

February 13, 2017 9:11 am  #17


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

nakahara wrote:

[
And we have no "genius" character, even the minor one, who actually has a pleasant personality and who actually works for the greater good of people. 
 

There are not many people out there - neither highly intelligent ones nor "normal" ones - who actually work for the greater good of people. Most of us mainly focus on making life as pleasant as possible for ourselfs and our closest family and friends. So the fact that none of the genius charachters on the show mainly works for the greater good of people doesn't bother me. And after all, I think Mycroft in his position as "the government" has the chance to do a lot for the greater good of people. Whenever we see him doing his job, he's actually working out plans on how to save lifes and how to protect people from terrorists.

As far as the pleasant personality is concerned, in my opinion neither Mycroft nor Sherlock have an unpleasant personality. Different, yes. A handful, yes. Not easy to read and understand, yes. But not unpleasant. I don't think people would like the show as much as they do if the main character had an unpleasant personality. But maybe that's just me . . .

 

February 13, 2017 9:15 am  #18


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

No, I agree.
I think initially most of us would have felt great love for Sherlock.
I think if nothing else in S 4, we now have greater reasons love Sherlock and I believe Mycroft has been firmly drawn into that circle of love, too.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://professorfangirl.tumblr.com/post/105838327464/heres-an-outtake-of-mark-gatiss-on-the
 

February 13, 2017 9:42 am  #19


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

besleybean wrote:

I don't know if Eurus would have even seen it as a distraction...I think her information may just have been part of a her incessant babble, although that is of course how she won her treats.  So she was possibly still quite manipulative at that stage.
I am sure Mycroft felt duty and possibly some love towards his sister, but it was certainly out of duty he would try and extract information from here.

I wasn't saying he mainly did it out of brotherly love and not because he felt duty. I'm just opposed to calling his actions "cold". It would have been cold if he had exploited her talents against her will, if he'd made her or tricked her into helping him. But he didn't. They just made a deal and this deal neither harmed her nor did she have to sacrifice anything for it, that's why I'm opposed to calling Mycroft's actions "cold". They were not exactly heartwarming, but reasonable and fair, not cold.
 

 

February 13, 2017 11:33 am  #20


Re: Why the fear of intelligence?

Oh I agree, I don't think there is anything cold.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://professorfangirl.tumblr.com/post/105838327464/heres-an-outtake-of-mark-gatiss-on-the
 

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum