Why philosophers are not always smart: Intelligence is relative

I would venture the following assertion: even great philosophers can be stupid. No, even more: they are stupid. Stupid and intelligent at the same time. Just as each of us is stupid and intelligent at the same time.

Note: I don't want to use the word "stupid" here in an offensive or strong sense. I am merely using it in this context to emphasize the lack or absence of intelligence. to describe.

Just because you excel or fail in one area does not mean that you are generally clever or generally stupid. Take Hegel and Heraclitus, for example, who were undoubtedly among the most brilliant thinkers of their time, and possibly ever. Yet neither of them were able to formulate their ideas in such a way that they reached a very large audience. Heraclitus even thought that everyone else was the problem, as they often did not understand him. Hegel also made little effort to get to grips with his complicated formulations. Admittedly, his lectures were very popular and his work was highly regarded in academic circles, but if his books had been formulated more comprehensibly, his ingenious concepts could have reached the masses.

This view opens up an important discussion about the nature of intelligence and stupidity. Intelligence is not a monolithic block that extends evenly across all areas of thought and action. Rather, it is multifaceted and can excel in one area while failing in another. The ability to develop complex philosophical concepts does not necessarily include the ability to communicate these concepts in a way that is understandable to a wide audience. This suggests a kind of intelligence that is deep and specialized, but possibly not comprehensive.

The assumption that someone who excels in one area must be equally brilliant in all others is a fallacy. History is full of geniuses whose social or practical skills did not match their intellectual or artistic abilities. It is the recognition that people are complex beings whose strengths and weaknesses are expressed differently in different contexts.

Hegel and Heraclitus provide interesting examples. Their work has pushed the boundaries of philosophical thought, but their ability to communicate their ideas has been criticized. Hegel's writings are often considered difficult to understand, and Heraclitus' fragmentary lore has been perceived as obscure and enigmatic. This may suggest that their intellectual brilliance was not necessarily matched by communicative clarity or a desire to be understood - whether consciously or unconsciously.

The discrepancy between the ability to have revolutionary ideas and the ability to communicate these ideas raises questions. Is it more important to develop profound thoughts or should the focus be on making these thoughts accessible to a wider audience? The answer probably depends on the goals of the individual. Some may prefer to delve into the depths of thought without worrying about disseminating their ideas, while others may see the value of their work in how widely it is disseminated and understood.

I think it needs both, which makes the attitude of Heraclitus and Hegel absolutely fine. Just as it's okay if we don't have all types of intelligence. If you are interested in the different types of intelligence, by the way, you can find an article about Howard Earl Gardner's model of intelligence types here.

Ultimately, it is important to recognize the multifaceted nature of human intelligence and accept that brilliance in one area does not automatically mean competence in another. This realization can lead to a deeper understanding of human nature and foster an appreciation for the diversity of talents and abilities that people possess. It teaches us to be humble in our judgment of others and open to the complexity that makes each individual unique.

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