Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Intelligence vs Wisdom

Since a few days my daily page views are well above 300. I continue to be surprised by the ongoing success of my blog. Yes it’s free but quite often things for free are worthless. Nearly 40 thousand page views definitely means that something interesting must be going on in my blogs.

I don’t consider myself as highly intelligent. Probably just intelligent and/or smart. I am not an expert in anything, apart from auditing. My audit background is probably relevant as I look for verifiable facts rather than opinions. I look for the truth rather than accepting information at face value. And I allow my intuition to interfere when information does not feel “right”. And I present my blogs based on transparent arguments.

I am an observer and I connect individual dots into a picture. I paint this picture with words that people can relate to. I have no appetite to use fancy language in order to humiliate my readers and to boast about myself. I leave that to others. I am pleased and even proud if people tell me that my blogs helped them, that they learned something, that they were thought provoking, that they were fascinating. I am not here to convince anyone. Making someone (re) think is enough for me.

Mr Sadiq Khan, the new mayor of London, made a wise comment when responding to Donald Trump, who challenged the London mayor to “take an IQ test”: “Ignorance is not the same thing as lack of intelligence”. (CNN, FT). Indeed, ignorance is rooted in closed mindedness and even an unwillingness to gain knowledge to improve intelligence. Ignorance is all about having opinions, even when facts refute those opinions. Also see my 12 April 2016 blog.

This week I noticed a remarkable 2015 BBC Future article in my Facebook newsfeed: The surprising downsides of being clever. The very 1st line is already great: “If ignorance is bliss, does a high IQ equal misery?” Or this superb Ernest Hemingway quote: “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” I had to smile as I feel that it is true.

Some interesting quotes from that BBC article: “The harsh truth, however, is that greater intelligence does not equate to wiser decisions; in fact, in some cases it might make your choices a little more foolish”. “Crucially, Igor Grossmann [at the University of Waterloo, Canada] found that IQ [] certainly didn’t predict greater wisdom. “People who are very sharp may generate, very quickly, arguments [for] why their claims are the correct ones – but may do it in a very biased fashion.”

These BBC Future quotes are key: “Fortunately, wisdom is probably not set in stone – whatever your IQ score. “I’m a strong believer that wisdom can be trained,” says Grossmann”. “The challenge will be getting people to admit their own foibles. If you’ve been able to rest on the laurels of your intelligence all your life, it could be very hard to accept that it has been blinding your judgement. As Socrates had it: the wisest person really may be the one who can admit he knows nothing”.

I feel blessed and fortunate for still being able to learn so much and to share with you the fruits of what I have learned over these 56 years. I cannot even imagine that my learning could ever “stop” as there is so much that I do not know – and even more important – do not understand. Understanding is far more relevant than knowing. Wisdom versus Intelligence.

Aaron Neville & Linda Ronstadt – Don’t know much (1989) – lyrics, videoWiki

Look at this face

I know the years are showing

Look at this life

I still don’t know where it’s going


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