Thursday, December 13, 2018

On being smart Vs wise, and the power of hegemony

There are two surprisingly recurrent themes across cultures and geographies. 

1. People confuse being smart with being wise and use them interchangeably. It is a travesty. 

Smartness is a far inferior manifestation of human intellect than wisdom. Wisdom is about the ability to process knowledge and exercise good judgement, whereas being smart, for all practical purposes, is merely about processing knowledge using logical reasoning and analytical frameworks. Wisdom is smartness plus - it is much more than just being smart. 

While God was very generous with bestowing the former on as many as possible (a child born in an upper middle class family today will really have to struggle to be not smart), he was equally parsimonious with the latter. Very few of the smartest people ever end up being wise. These two people are among the smartest, but if this is how they react to adversity, how wise are they really?

2. The most debilitating and binding form of captivity is ideological, that of hegemony of grand narratives. Such mental captivity is much more difficult to surmount than physical captivity. See this and this

The smartest of people struggle to overcome hegemony. It requires rare wisdom and strength of character to be able to break out of a hegemony. 

No comments: