Sunday, January 10, 2010

Intelligence vs Intellectuality

I chanced upon a wonderful article written by friend Vinutha(link)

It’s been quite a while since I read the article and ever since then it has always been running in my mind. The concepts of intelligence and an intellectual. I call them concepts because they are notions that can be attributed to an individual. Looking at the 2 concepts from a narrow point of view, it can be challenging to prove which one is superior or if given a chance would you like to be an intelligent person or an intellectual?

An intelligent person is one who is capable of accumulating knowledge and has the necessary memory to recall his accumulate knowledge. A very good example of an intelligent person is best sketched in Rajkumar Hirani’s gem of a film 3 Idiots. The character Shyamaldas Chanchad, exhibits a classic intelligent person. One who has topped his class, worked hard, adhered to rules, principles, discipline etc… He has set a goal and his intelligence is the guiding factor in helping him to achieve his goal. An intelligent person is similar to that of a machine; programmed, meticulous, fixed and result oriented. Nevertheless, an intelligent is guaranteed success and assured fruits for his labour, at least that was the common belief. Today, it is not enough to be intelligent, your intelligence will only get you a position in a job but it is your intellectual capability that helps you retain the job when million others are vying for yours.

An intellectual on the other hand is what I like to call as a ‘fox’. A person who can see through the lines and, one who has deceptive qualities. He has the capabilities to confuse an intelligent person. Intellectuals are people who question the intelligent ones and shatter the strong foundations built by an intelligent one. I would like to believe that students of arts are intellectuals. They love to scorn the norm and raise questions on widely accepted facts. One such great intellectual is Malcolm Gladwell. A man who has always made us think, and think deep. Another genius is Nicholas Taleb whose book, The Black Swan is one heck of a tedious read (Worth it!). He constantly questions what we have been told to believe and makes a plea to break away from the norm and not readily accept what people have to say.

The fight can go on but here is a rude rude shock. To be an intellectual, you have to first be intelligent.

End of story ;-) ;-)


Vinutha N said...

So this is your take :)
The last line leave me thinking again...

So what I infer based on yer view is that INTELLECTUAL is a better compliment coz that automatically means you are intelligent. So in that case there is no basis for difference at all. Intellect seems to be an extension of Intelligence acc to yer last line .
Looks like , there is no topic more intriguing than this , i bet ;)

Saro said...

Perhaps intellect a person that draws from the world around them to infer their own meanings, who makes theories out of their perception, not necessarily having the skills to translate that to a fact- similar to foucault, or any of the theorists of the last two century.

I would on the other had describe someone who is intelligent, as someone who is able to translate learned knowledge into coherent theories and with the ability to then experiment with them, and arrive at reasonable conclusions. Like maybe, einstein or freud.

Just my thought :)