Fandango is a great one for poking the old grey matter at the best of times but now he has moved on to things provocative as well and he’s posing the question:
“What do you think is more useful: intelligence or wisdom, and why do you feel that way?”
I’ve actually been thinking about this since I came across it yesterday which could possibly indicate that I have neither wisdom nor intelligence but I’ll attempt to answer anyway. For me, intelligence is something that, to a degree, you are born with whereas wisdom is something that you learn.
If a child is born to intelligent parents then it is more than likely that a level of intelligence will be encoded into his DNA. However, possibly more importantly, his parents are likely to understand the importance of education, developing social skills, being well read, appreciation for the arts etc. etc. Therefore, he will develop into, what society perceives as, an intelligent adult.
On the other hand, I think it highly unlikely that a child could be born ‘wise’. I think that this is something that is developed over time through experience. As we get older, we get a more philosophical approach to life, we attribute far less importance to things which are, in the grand scheme of things, insignificant and we generally have better control of our emotions. Our experiences, if we manage to extract something useful and positive from them, will give us the ability to advise others clearly and simply and without judgement; I suppose that this could be called wisdom?
So, after all that, which is the most useful?
For me it has to be wisdom. In my experience, intelligence can be gratifying but it often results in overthinking and over analyzing. For example, someone of very limited intelligence may be able to think of only one solution to a problem and will simply decide if it’s good or not and act upon it. However, someone who’s extremely intelligent will spend hours and hours analyzing the problem, looking at it from all angles, playing out possible scenarios in their mind; essentially picking the problem apart before finding a solution………
That is, unless they have the wisdom to realise that it’s far more productive to spend 5 minutes thinking about the problem and the rest of the time working on a solution..
Someone who is intelligent will have the capability to discuss most subjects, often with great insight. They will make excellent company for someone with a like mind and will take pleasure in spending their time with people that they find intellectually stimulating. Someone who is wise will realise that they can learn an awful lot more from listening to others regardless of their intellectual capabilities; listening to and trying to understand our fellow man brings with it compassion…..
Above all that I think that wisdom, far more so than intelligence, will lead us to peace, for the individual as well as for the human race as a whole. It may take intelligence to develop machines to make life easier, to discover plots against a Nation, to build great cities, to use the natural resources available to us to make us more comfortable or more secure but it takes wisdom to know that, in the course of doing all this, we are losing our compassion for our fellow man and destroying our planet….