Wisdom VS Intelligence


Merriam-Webster defines wisdom as:

1. -a: ability to discern inner qualities and relationships
-b: good sense
-c: generally accepted belief
-d: accumulated philosophical or scientific learning
2. a wise attitude, belief, or course of action

…and defines intelligence as:

1. -a: (1) the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations; the skilled use of reason
(2) the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria
-b: mental acuteness
2. the act of understanding

Wisdom and intelligence are often used interchangeably, but they are different. Intelligence is to knowing as wisdom is to understanding.

Intelligence is factual and particular, where one can confidently apply what they know in certain contexts. Nevertheless, wisdom is accumulated in the process of learning. As an individual continues to learn, they’re able to shift their perspectives to have a deeper understanding.

Wisdom takes the underlying principle of learned information and relates it to the existing information within the mind. Therefore, wisdom is dimensional. Awareness, practice, and new thinking patterns can equip a person with the wisdom that knowledge simply won’t. People have looked to gaining wisdom for inner contentment for thousands of years. With more knowledge and life experience, older adults and seniors are said to be more wise than younger adults or those who haven’t had much worldly experience.

While many people have the ultimate goal of inner growth, mind-body balance, and becoming wise, intelligence is still highly valued in today’s society. Wisdom isn’t valued as much. The Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is an example of this. People look to average and above average IQ scores to somehow prove how intelligent they are. They ask how they can improve their IQ score or “become smart”. The Intelligence Quotient is just a set of standardized tests. In this case, practice makes perfect. Its utilizing this knowledge with existing knowledge and incorporating it into different contexts for better understanding.

The Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ) is less on factual knowledge and more on how you use what you know to acknowledge and better your own emotional understanding. The EIQ measures how well a person can discern their emotions, label them effectively, and manage or adjust their thinking and behavior appropriately. The EIQ is said to be a better measurement of lifelong success, mental health, leadership skills, and job performance.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
Albert Einstein



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