Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I'd Rather Be Wise

My brother and I were talking last night about the group, Mensa. It's a social group for eggheads. There's only one requirement for membership -- an IQ in the top 2% (148 or more). My brother believes that I would qualify. Me thinks he is overestimating his elder brother's mental capabilities.

I'm not suggesting I'm a dummy. As a youth in elementary school, I was placed in the accelerated classes. Yes, I was a youthful egghead. In 6th grade, our class studied college algebra, among other things.

Unfortunately, I was only a minimal egghead. I occupied the bottom rungs of my class. I struggled to keep up. I missed many a recess period while I stayed behind with Dickie Henderson & Nathan Metzger, the three of us struggling to master the most basic elements of algebra or trigonometry.

Years later I told my parents how I wished they would have left me in regular classes. Instead of being one of the dim bulbs, I could have been one of the scholastic stars. Who knows? I might have been at the top of my class!

But that wasn't in the cards for me. Every team needs to have that one last player on the bench -- the one that NEVER gets sent into the game -- and that was me. So, if nothing else, I did serve my classmates by playing a most important role: intellectual doormat.

Of course, I've always followed the beat of a different drummer, even during my earliest days. Consequently, maybe I had the highest IQ of our group. Who knows and, for that matter, who cares?

Personally, I think rote intelligence is greatly overrated. I know a great many gifted individuals who have about as much commonsense as a heap of cow dung (ok, maybe that's being a bit unfair to the dung). I also know many other extremely bright people who, though they exhibit a good amount of commonsense, seem to completely lack compassion for others or even a modicum of ethics.

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather keep company with people of average intelligence who possess compassion, ethics and commonsense. Not that intelligence is a bad thing, but it's certainly not THE important thing.

In fact, intelligence can only get you so far in life; wisdom is what will lead you the rest of the way.

That's why I'd rather be wise, than smart.

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