PROVOCATIVE QUESTION 2 REDUX: WISDOM V. INTELLIGENCE – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #2


Is there a difference between these two things? Isn’t wisdom an elderly version of intelligence, fired by time and hard knocks? I read a bunch of definitions of the difference between intelligence and wisdom and basically, it boiled down to intelligence is using wisdom intelligently or alternatively, wisdom is a wise use of intelligence. They are bound together.

You can’t be wise until you turn 70. Certainly not before 60.

Can a child be wise? A child can say something that we interpret as wise, but wisdom from children isn’t wise because it isn’t intelligently thought out and it comes without any experience that makes it real. We can act like it’s wise, but the kid didn’t think it was wise and probably doesn’t understand the concept of wisdom.

I don’t think anyone is wiser than his or her years. You can be very smart for your age, but wisdom — the real deal — requires experience. You have to live a little to get your first hint of wisdom. Being old doesn’t guarantee wisdom. There are plenty of dumb old people.

No matter how smart that kid is, he isn’t wise. He may be a very quick thinker, he may have, within his limits, a better understanding of what wisdom might be, but wisdom itself is connected with time and real-life experiences.


This reminds me of a movie, Peter Sellers in “Being There.” He’s actually simple-minded, but everyone is convinced he’s very wise. They misinterpret everything he says and they are, by the end of the movie, ready to elect him president. If you haven’t seen the movie, see it. It’s eerily relevant and not in a good way.

I am not wise, but I’ve got a very smart ass. I think it’s possible Garry is wise. I’ll have to ask him when the next commercial break comes on.



Categories: #FPQ, intelligence, Marilyn Armstrong, Provocative Questions

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20 replies

  1. Personally I believe wisdom comes from years of experience. Intelligence can be rite from the time you speak your first word.

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  2. BOY! I wish Chauncy Gardener had been running for President back in 2016

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  3. A child’s wisdom is not censored by experience.
    Leslie

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  4. You’re right, wisdom comes with age. But some people are wiser than others. I tell my daughter that she is much wiser than me. She thinks things through before doing them. Whereas I do it afterwords.

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    • Thinking things through is very intelligent, but I have — after a very long time — realized that the fullness of an issue can only reach you if you’ve lived enough to understand the potential repercussions of a choice. Simplicity is easy for those whose lives are simple. NOT so simple for those of us with complex lives and many ways to look at a problem.

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      • Definitely, that’s right. The best thing one can learn from experience is not to make the same mistakes and wrong choices again.

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        • A lot of my worst choices were very thoughtfully made. Logic isn’t always as logical as it seems. You also have to know yourself and how you will react to whatever circumstances arise … and anyone else involved. We don’t live in a vacuum and we are never the only parties involved in our choices. That is why so many obviously “correct” choices were so terribly wrong. All the logic was with them, but the human part of the issue didn’t make it into the equation. Sort of like “Spock” on Star Trek.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You’re right, sometimes the very well thought out plans fail badly. But I guess this is experience.

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            • And understanding that you have to know yourself and anyone else involved in your plans. My first husband died because his then-girlfriend decided he should have an artificial mitral valve transplant which meant he had to stop drinking. He was an alcoholic. You can’t tell a lifetime alcoholic to “just stop drinking because you’re on medication and the booze will kill you.” And he died. She was sure that was the right solution and if he said “Okay, I’ll stop drinking,” that was it. He’d stop. A combination of arrogance, inexperience, and magical thinking. And a refusal to listen to anyone else. The “best solution” was not even an acceptable solution and ended a life.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, so there IS a difference between being wise and being a wise ass! 😉

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