Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.
You are quite right.
Very often, intelligent people are very unhappy—especially if by intelligence you mean only that narrow band of knowing lodged in the brain. For about four hundred years now, at least in our Western culture, that kind of intelligence has been privileged above all other forms of knowing.
Rationalism is very good at breaking things down, separating them into categories and grouping them into categories. It can take a goldfinch and file it perfectly under Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Specie. But it cannot see yellow sprightly joy. It has produced technological marvels, enabling us to master our environment, conquer space and select a brown-eyed baby girl without a gene for pancreatic cancer. But it cannot love what is, flawed and passing away.
Rational intelligence can answer the world’s questions, solve the world’s problems. It can make us feel supreme. But somewhere along the way, life presents us with questions that cannot be answered. Why is my child suffering? How can I love a son or a wife who has betrayed me? Now we must move from mastery to mystery. The great lovers—the happiest people on earth—have been able to accept these moments as-is, without raging against the darkness, insisting that there must be a way they can make it come out “right.” They could let life have its own say.
“All thinking men are atheists,” you once said. Yes, if all they do is “think.” The happiest people have used their minds to the fullest. But they knew those moments when reason could not carry them where they needed to go. They learned to stop thinking and start loving. Because, Ernest, there always comes a time when you cannot do both.