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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fred Reed muses on smarts

Fred Reed talks about intelligence and all the problems that come with it in his latest column...
Generally intelligence has no effect on conclusions, which are glandularly determined. It just rationalizes hormonal inevitabilities.

Further, there's no point in knowledge, except to show off with in sports bars. If you are in Willie's Rib Pit to watch boxing and know about the Long Count (in the Cribb-Molineaux fight), then you amount to something. You do no harm, anyway. All other knowledge is suspect. At best, it is a minor vice, like crossword puzzles. At worst, it encourages people to do catastrophic things with a smug sense of fundamental rightness. The people who got America into Iraq were no end bright and could say impressive things like "Twenty-Seventh Caliphate" and "Theravada Sufism." Much good it did them. Or us.

Brains just allow you to be more elaborately and ornately disastrously wrong.

I've been wondering quite a bit lately: how is it that with supposedly all of these "smart" people that we think are running things in this country, we are still screwing things up... like in Iraq? Reed hits on it here: that these people have let intelligence come in the way of their sense of compassion and consideration. Or as I thought after reading his piece, they have enormous intelligence but woefully lack wisdom.

Personally, I'd rather have wisdom than intelligence. What say ye?


Seraphim said...

Here a pertinent quote from an Athonite monk, Elder Paisios (+1994), on how being filled with divine grace is infinitely more beneficial than being filled with college degrees.

"There are people of God who do not have as many academic degrees as others, but they can help people more; because they are full of divine Grace rather than diplomas. The world is so filled with sin that what we need the most is people given to prayer and to living a spiritual life. All these books and papers are paper money: valuable only if there are 'gold reserves' in our 'bank' --- if our lives are spiritual through and through. And so we must 'drill' into the mine of the soul, for otherwise science and education will be worth nothing."