This is a recycled FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION, so…because I have to work all afternoon, I thought I might recycle and slightly tweak my response to a similar question another blogger asked recently.
This is Fandango’s question:
“What do you think is more useful:
intelligence or wisdom, and why do you feel that way?”
It might be fair to say that you can’t really have the latter without having at least a little bit of the former. But as for which is more useful, I would have thought most would agree that wisdom is finer and more useful.
Generally, I associate intelligence as the accumulation of information or knowledge. Computers and machines are said to possess a form of “intelligence”. However, since there is an abundance of false information, false knowledge riddled with inaccuracies – the amassing of information and knowledge is not necessarily a positive thing.
A person can have little knowledge of the trillions of subjects out there, but they may have a little true and accurate knowledge that is far more empowering and enriching than the abundance of nonsense that has been published.
The acquisition of knowledge is the start of learning, I suppose. Yet the ability to discern between true and false is of vital import. Understanding the information one has acquired and how it relates to the foundation of true and eternal principles is the next key step to learning. This ability helps one to reject information that clearly does not fit the pattern of truth.
But beyond that is what could be termed the end of learning: wisdom. Correctly applying the knowledge and understanding one now possesses. It is wisdom that shows true evidence of superior learning, not the possession of a vast amount of information.
I was talking to a colleague recently. I think my colleague is curious about some of my decisions in life. I explained that I had choices. I was achieving A grades throughout school. I come from an academic family. My older siblings and cousins had been to renowned universities and were immersed in lucrative careers. I was the rebel perhaps, although I did not have a rebellious spirit.
I chose to prioritise unpaid volunteer work over the opportunities within the commercial world. I have rejected all sorts of notions this “world” promotes. I have no wish to get on to the property ladder. The concept of a mortgage is baffling to me. Why would I enslave myself like that? I have no wish to become a slave to a business intent on making profit.
I have lived a rich and rewarding life on a shoestring budget. Working as a volunteer has opened up opportunities to me that I would not have had if I had pursued my own material comforts.
Some people make a snap judgement when they learn that I rejected higher education. But this is a decision I have never regretted. I saw what higher education did to some of my family members. Those who pursued academia have not ended up with the more balanced education and practical training that the rest of our family opted for. I have never stopped learning. I am a long term student who is fascinated by many subjects. I read a huge amount of material and I exercise discernment as I read. There are so many opposing theories and philosophies, many of them a mix of half-truths and conjecture.
But having a clear grasp of basic truths is a huge aid to sorting through the never ending “information” overload that we are bombarded with.
I think wisdom today includes a knowledge and experience in how people behave. Wisdom is reflected in how you react to the way others treat you. If someone had poor relationships with others, I would tend to question their “wisdom”.
I believe wisdom is also manifest by the choices and decisions someone makes, their habits and lifestyle. When someone appears to be unable to look after themselves properly, I find it hard to credit them with wisdom no matter how many “qualifications” and “certificates” they may profess to have.
There are so many other areas that show whether someone is wise: how we use time, how we spend money, our attitude to debt, how we view and treat our possessions, how easily swayed we are by sensationalism and propaganda, our abilities to reason and consider what may contradict some of our treasured beliefs.
Some seem to be focused on the acquisition of more and more conflicting, confusing, and capricious information. Others appear to have a tight hold of basic truths and show they have developed discernment, understanding and wisdom.
Many people are pursuing things that do not bring true happiness. In fact, this world is designed to encourage people to pursue vain, empty goals. Is it wise to conform to a system that pats you on the back if you pass it’s tests? Follow it’s goals? Define success by it’s standards? It is alarming how many people are seeking things that will soon be gone forever!
All that glitters is not gold. So much of what this world promotes as “success” is vain and empty. Many find that out too late. Wisdom is better than gold! It is better than the goals of this world.
I could go on discussing this subject for hours, but I don’t really want to make this a never-ending post!