Intelligence versus wisdom

June 30, 2016

Intelligence is often confused with wisdom and vice versa – I guess these notions are so utterly encrusted with parts from one another….it’s hard, if not impossible to tell the difference….not convincingly at least.

I don’t mind admitting…there was a time when I thought the most important thing was intelligence…. I guess it’s easy to be enamored with the sheen of how many cars can I fit into a space or how many seats and tables can best be arranged in a restaurant without having people to put up with bruised kneecaps….yes intelligence is certainly sexy….as it has an immodesty that so naked that it leaves nothing whatsoever to the imagination….except maybe for most people, including myself to say….that’s so bloody smart!

These days I am not so sure intelligence trumps all – I think slow burn qualities and traits such as patience, determination and one’s ability to keep steadfast to one’s philosophy and beliefs seems to have more mileage than just raw intelligence — I once watched a shoemaker construct a shoe…and from time to time….this man just threw it out exclaiming – it’s not right….that seemed awfully stupid to me then…as the detailing was so faint to be indistinguishable to most shoe customers….even the most discriminating. But when I think about it now – this craftsman was disciplining himself to keep steadfast to his philosophy which was presumably to be the best shoemaker that he could possibly be…so I guess when one looks at it from that vantage – of trying and to try and to try until it comes out exactly right….it makes perfect sense now.

As what this shoemaker was doing was polishing his philosophy ruthlessly by being so intolerant to minor imperfections that he felt departed from his goal – to be the best shoe maker in the world

That to me is just a complicated way of saying – he was content to throw away anything that is false no matter how much he might have made money wise..or what that ‘wasted’ time may have cost him and his enterprise.

When one develops that sort of discipline – I guess the most valuable and important thing one ever gets out of it is the uncanny power of insight – that sort of superpower in my experience is free for anyone to take and run with…it’s not conditional on your intelligence quotient or even whether you may have a natural bent for mastering languages…to put it simply, it’s like being able to blow bubbles with your saliva…my point is one can really only do that…as vapid and useless and meaningless as that act may mean with insight..as insight is not just a word that means one thing to me…it’s a bag word…that possibly includes curiosity, a questioning mind to mull, and to muse why is it like that and not like this…or just one tendency to peer deep into darkened interiors to satisfy an inexplicable yearning that can never ever be described. And if one has that attitude, then I don’t think intelligence matters at all…sure it will still give you a sort of mysterious sheen and may probably make a difference…but my point is with wisdom..it could just as well take you there as well.

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‘Insight is what really gives a man depth, nuance and simpatico…you can’t buy it….no you can’t! You may have it, but if you don’t have insight – then you could just as well never once possess it.

You know we seem to talk a lot about elegance….you know the art of dressing well and putting your best foot forward, making a memorable first impression….but if you think really hard about elegance at it’s highest form and why you take so much effort to dress well….it really just means, you genuinely want to demonstrate respect for others and institutions – that’s to say you’ve gone the extra mile to understand that person or institutions philosophy and what he or it stands for along with it’s raison and the reason why they think the things they do and do what they do – all that can only come with insight…otherwise all you really are is a monkey dressed in a tuxedo.’

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