Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Intelligence is (not) a curse

A recent discussion with a friend made me think of a saying: intelligence is a curse (eg, see quote below). There is indeed some truth in that saying. In his famous poem of 1742, Thomas Gray suggested something similar: “[..] ignorance is bliss [..]”. Is our intelligence really to blame??

My friend is an intelligent woman. She is determined that things must go as she wants them to go (ie, control). She is losing perspective (on the result) by focusing on the (order of the) process while fighting bureaucracy in several countries. She believes that she is fighting a just cause.

In 1513, Machiavelli already suggested that the end justifies the means. “It means that if a goal is morally important enough, any method of getting it is acceptable.” Hence, it’s about the why and the what and not about the how, when, where or who. The desired result defines the way forward.

Our intelligence enables us to achieve solutions for many problems. Nevertheless, our intelligence also interferes with such solutions:

“One of the downsides of intelligence is the tendency to overthink. Intelligent individuals often find themselves trapped in a cycle of endless analysis and deliberation. While thinking deeply can be beneficial in certain situations, overthinking can lead to a paralysis of action and decision-making. It can hinder progress and prevent individuals from seizing opportunities.”

An excerpt of this Medium article: The Curse of Intelligence: Why Being Smart Can Hold You Back in Life

In my view, our intelligence is not a curse. Our beliefs are the curse in our lives. Our beliefs can be summarized through the 7 Belief systems, being Love, Money, Politics, Religion, Philosophy, Science, and the Truth (ie, original 2015 version). For many people, losing their beliefs is not an option.

Our beliefs – or known unknowns – are similar to human firmware, my 2016 blog. Everything in our lives is built on those beliefs. Without our beliefs, we would enter a vacuum. Like any ship, we need anchors, else our body, mind & soul would go adrift. Volatility is (almost) the opposite of control.

I’ve urged my friend to be more pragmatic by focusing on the end-result that she desires. Any process between start and finish will always be a nuisance (eg, time, resources). Sometimes, such processes even appear to be designed to prevent us from achieving our goals.

A quote by Derek R. Audette

Gist & A Curse (2022) by Megan Thee Stallion
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album+song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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