Intelligence vs. Wisdom; Engineer vs. Philosopher; Shiny Bicycle vs. Quantum Foam

It occurred to me once that, if monks in a Buddhist monastery were creating Dungeons & Dragons characters, is it possible they would NOT have to ask the Dungeon Master what Wisdom is? God knows that nerds getting down to same in our Western, indentured-servitude, conspicuous-consumption drone matrix ALWAYS ask! They, however, never need to ask what Intelligence is. What follows are my thoughts as to why this is the case.

Check this out and come back.


For those who don’t want to click off — it talks about quantum foam and how — the further down you go (size-wise) the more crazy shit gets.

Many have had the experience or feeling of oscillating between large and small: the sensation that you are suddenly enormous and planet or universe sized — then atom or quark sized, a kind of disorienting weaoh-weaoh-weaoh-weaoh, big-small-big-small.

Having experienced this in meditation, I have decided to investigate it. Here is what I have found.  Once you acclimatize to the sensation, you realize it is not oscillation between big and small, it is actually oscillation between small and nothingness!

Or rather, more accurately, between chaos and void (I say void because, in my estimation, there is no such thing as order — only absence of chaos).

In our lives, there is only the imposition of perceived order (delusion really) upon chaos by a consciousness, which is generally unwilling to embrace the inherently chaotic nature of reality. And so, suffering (as the word is used in Buddhist terms, or in any other terms really) is just the inability or unwillingness of consciousness to accept the true nature of reality. Put another way, it is the pain incurred by wanting things to impossibly be some way other than the way they are or the only way they can possibly be!

“What has this to do with intelligence and wisdom?” the Dungeon Masters asks. I’m getting there.

We must begin with the understanding that we live in a society that values intelligence over wisdom: engineering over poetry for example (catastrophically so, in fact — but this is another discussion). The mathematician/scientist/physicist is held in much higher esteem than the philosopher/poet/priest. This because the first facilitates the twin delusions of quantification as control and egoic alienation from other that fuel consumption driven economic growth, and the latter undermines that paradigm. But this too is another discussion.

Suffice it to say — that, at least in systemic terms, the physicist is revered and the philosopher is diminished. Intelligence is king. Wisdom is sandal-wearing hippy clown.

Enough context then, here we go…

Intelligence is the faculty by which one OUTWARDLY (exoterically) measures, labels, and correlates arbitrarily designated variables in a reality demarcated by consciousness.

Wisdom is the faculty by which one INWARDLY (esoterically) directly experiences a reality un-demarcated by consciousness.

Having defined the terms, let’s put them in context using the experience of meditating and directly experiencing the fundamental chaos characterized by the quantum foam situation we discussed previously.

The scientist — who is intelligent — using measurement, (mathematics) theoretically observes the quantum foam as he constantly pushes to further the edge of how far OUT he can go in the quest to understand the nature of reality.

The philosopher — who is wise — using meditation (the obliteration of constructs such as mathematics), experiences the quantum foam (if you must call it something, sheesh!), as he pushes to further the edge of how far IN he can go.

Certainly, there is a longer conversation to be had here, but this is a start.

And one last point to ponder.

Intelligence has not risen to primacy as our modality of choice merely because it facilitates our ability to manipulate our environment (and certainly, to be manipulated as well). It has allure in that it empowers one to more readily share experiences using mechanisms such as words and numbers with another person or with all other people. Intelligence can be KNOWN, and so recorded and easily conveyed from one conscious entity to another.

The means of sharing the fruits of wisdom are not readily shareable. Approximations of direct inner experience rendered through art, literature, poetry, music are the best one can do. The fruits of wisdom can only, ever be FELT.

In a nutshell then, the spoils of our outer (exoteric) expeditions (endeavours of intelligence) can be more easily conveyed from one person to another. The spoils of our inner (esoteric) expeditions (endeaovours of wisdom), not so much.

Rock n’ scroll!