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October 28, 2008, 4:34 pm

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Malign Hypercognition Disorder


It is not an infectious disease, but it is a plague upon the world.

For it spawns villains. And not your garden variety villains, but epic villains, master villains of the most dangerous kind Evil Geniuses.

Malign Hypercognition Disorder.

It is not an infectious disease, but it is a plague upon the world.

For it spawns villains. And not your garden variety villains, but epic villains, master villains of the most dangerous kind Evil Geniuses.

This is a gestalt disorder, one which requires several components to be in place. It begins with the early manifestations of extreme genius. Their superior cognitive abilities allow them to see the pattern and order of things in the chaos of the world around them as well as draw a higher level of inferences from them. In some ways their greatest gifts are what bring them down.

Because they are "gifted" or a "prodigy", the young genius is treated differently. If they were unable to "sense this" about themselves, others tell them they are special and different "in a good way".  This starts a mild alienation that only intensifies over time.

As a gifted child, they are no longer a regular part of normal activities. While other children get balls and dolls, they get books and educational things. They attend different classes or are tutored. Sometimes they have access to labs and Even in a main stream school, they will not be as interested in "normal kid activities", as they will be for the things that challenge them or they excell at.

These young geniuses are, generally speaking, more ill at ease in personal relations. They are socially isolated by their interests and have little in common with their peers. Add to this the adverse social interactions they do have—the smartest kid in class gets picked on or avoided - a lot and it lays the foundation for the compounding issues. If they interact only with adults, they will be thrust into their world without the experience to filter all of it. This leaves our young genius with little to no social net to give them external inputs and social/ moral guidance. Thus with only their own intellect as a compass, they make their way through the world and its confusing rules.

An aside: The natural tendency for a super productive geniuses have a predilection for mild obsession, mania, and infidelity. They hyperfocus on one thing until they get it right, be it a spouse or a project, but once they’ve grown bored with it they maniacally move on to try new challenges. This exacerbates their social issues. Thus the "It is a new plan, and it will work this time" train of through that occurs with most Evil Geniuses. This sets a pattern up that is only exacerbated by the complex.

These young geniuses often begin to trade in on their status as "gifted" or "prodigy". Their special status allows them to do things their peers, and eventually adults, are unable to do. It starts solving puzzles and problems, or producing things. Then it shifts towards avoiding social or discipline problems, trading on their special status to keep them out of problem and situations they do not like. The realization that "that the rules are so illogical and if you are a bit clever, you can do things no one else would, even break some rules," crystallizes for them. Given their mania, they push the boundries to see how far they can really go. They learn they are smart enough to do it ways no one knows they’re breaking the square.

Given that they are able to do things in terms of science and now socially, it is only a small leap to realize that as laws are flexible, most scientific laws are just as easy to bend. They automatically challenge the norm and looks for ways around the rules. This change in perspective allows them to perform "feats of science" that are beyond normal understanding. This allows them to perform super science, as they learn how the rules, as we understand them, are flawed and decide to fix them.

It is all compounded by these sense of self worth and ego. Plenty of people are genuinely gifted or superbly educated in one area (math, music, physics, etc), while at the same time being socio-emotional basket cases. Worse, they assume that their expertise and insight in their field gives them similar insight into all fields, including psychology and human relations (most people overestimate their abilities outside of their own fields, overachievers even more so than underachievers).  If one is obviously smarter than everyone else, they should know what is right in all field. This hubris allows smart (and super smart) people confidently reaching moronic conclusions. Add in the objective evidence that other humans they meet aren’t nearly as able in the genius’ skill area and good old childhood bullying, complete contempt for humanity isn’t much of a stretch. Most of us are lucky enough to learn how to make healthy connections with other people and get past adolescent anger at the world; Malign Hypercognition Disorder sufferers (and some web board posters) never manage it.

The gestalt forms truly forms when they come to and fixate upon the following realization: They see the rules do not work They know they are smarter than everyone else. If they were in charge, things would be better.  To see things from their point of view, here you are, literally dozens of times smarter than all but a select few people in the world. While most people fumble around trying to make correct change and try to remember if they should put pickles on the burger or not, you’re plotting orbits in your head and cracking the veil between dimensions. In a world of sheep, why shouldn’t you be the shepherd? Especially if you are vastly more qualified. To use a commonly used analogy, In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. And as a Malign Hypercognition sufferer have you’ve got x-ray thermal enhancing telescopic goggles.

Note:  It’s one of those interesting mental illnesses where one can acknowledge exactly what one is suffering from, and still not be able to do anything about it.

There is a genetic component or propensity for the disorder. It runs in family trees.

Medications have been developed to help alleviate the symptoms of the syndrome. The price is some minor physical side effects (low blood pressure, dry mouth, minor sexual dysfunctions) and loss of their hyper intelligence. It brings them down to a more normal range of genius. They could still be really smart, as smart as most heroes, anyway. But the truly evil genius plots, scams, escapes, and equipment would then be beyond them. Of course, on the plus side, they also wouldn’t have to blurt out there plan to anyone who would listen.

If you knew that you could be smarter if you stopped taking your pills, how long could you stay on them? Would you be tempted to take a few days off to figure out some problem that’s bugging you? It’d be so, so easy.

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Comments ( 1 )
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December 20, 2008, 13:50
Nice useful way of explaining why there's those bizarre super villains in your supers world.

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