Human beings are naturally the smartest species to live, having evolved better than the others. We are essentially the custodians of this earth, which we are meant to care for to have balance. When we take care of our environment, it takes care of us as well by giving us the food and materials we need to survive. The level of intelligence in people varies, explaining why certain people can grasp certain concepts faster than others. It is not by their doing, but they were born like that.
In the 20th century, there lived such a man who was believed to be the smartest one at that time. William James Sidis was born in Boston in 1898 and was estimated to achieve 50 to 100 IQ points. This reading was recorded to be higher than Albert Einstein’s points. At age two, you’d expect a child to only be crawling around, chewing on toys, and trying to make a speech with the little they know. When you fail to understand them they easily throw a tantrum.
Sometimes, only the mother can understand them, since the speech is not quite fluent yet. When Sidis was two years old, he’d read the New York Times. To read sentences at an age where making up words can be challenging is a milestone, definitely an indicator that you are dealing with an extraordinary kid.
At age 6, you’d expect children to speak in a language that is common around them, or even two, those that they grew up listening to. For William, he could grasp eight languages including English, Latin, Russian, German, Armenian, Turkish, and Hebrew. It takes time before you can teach a child a new language, and lots of practice for them to master, but James was already a pro even in foreign languages. At this point, the child was simply a marvel to behold, with villagers stunned because they had never seen anything like it. Assuming that he had the facilities and capabilities at that age, he’d travel the world, fitting in almost anywhere since he could speak some major languages.
What cemented the story of being the smartest alive at that time was his admission to Harvard University. To date, Harvard only admits the best of the best, dealing with only those who are smart enough to join the institution. Joining the institution was still a big deal back then as it is today. What shocked the world the most is that James joined while he was still eleven, making him the youngest student in the institution’s history. At eleven most children are yet to join their senior school, yet here we’ve got Sidis who was making his way to university. James had applied to join at age 9, but the school waited until reaching age eleven. He was quite the gifted child, not your everyday child.
The campus is where you’re meant to make your happiest memories since you’re free from the rules that hold you back in senior school. You are now responsible for your own decisions and are a place that will determine how the next phase in your life will be. William did not exactly enjoy his time as a student at Harvard University. The boy was made a laughingstock in the institution when he admitted that he’d never kissed a girl. What those people forgot is that as much as this boy was smart mentally, James was still a young boy who had not yet hit puberty. William probably had no clue about the whole kissing story.
This teasing and humiliation got to William’s head till all he wanted to do is to be a regular working man. Sidis wanted nothing to do with books or anything that concerned academics. He spent his life moving from city to city using an alias while writing books working a regular job.
Sidis spent his adulthood running from the limelight as much as possible. As soon as he went to a place that people knew him, he’d immediately pack his bags and flee to a new place. This was his life for some time until the New York Times sent a lady to befriend him and write about him. William described the written article as humiliating, making him sound crazy. This is what made him stop running from city to city, where he went ahead to sue the paper and won the case.