Monday, July 26, 2010

Intellect And Intelligence

Swami Parthasarathy

We spend a lot of time acquiring intelligence at the expense of developing intellect. Intelligence is built by gaining information, knowledge from external agencies, from schools and universities, teachers and textbooks. The intellect is developed through your individual effort by exercising the faculty of questioning, thinking and reasoning. Not accepting anything that does not admit logic or reason. Know the difference between the two.

The intelligence acquired from external agencies is much like data fed into a computer. Consider, a computer charged with a complete knowledge of fire extinguishers, firefighting and fire escapes. All the knowledge stored in its memory cannot help the computer act on its own. If the room catches fire, it will go up in flames. The knowledge you acquire is of no use to you without an intellect.

You need a powerful intellect to put the knowledge, intelligence gained, to practical use in life. That explains why among millions of doctors graduating only a few have discovered lifesaving procedures, cures and remedies. So too, among millions of engineers only few design something unusual like the Panama Canal or Eurotunnel. It is their intellect that renders their performance outstanding. Besides hindering success and progress, intelligence without intellect could destroy peace and happiness.

Not realising the importance of the intellect in life, people make no attempt to develop their own. Instead, they merely indulge in acquiring intelligence through surface reading of others’ periodicals and publications. Education has lost its meaning and purpose. For generations human beings have turned into intelligent robots and are traversing through life without awareness, much less enquiring into the meaning and purpose of life.”

The world today is in a state of chaos due to the perversion in human development - all intelligence and no intellect. That explains why even highly educated businesspersons, professionals and scholars become alcoholics, are short-tempered and succumb to worry and anxiety. It is the mind that craves alcohol. It is the mind that loses its temper. Again, it is the mind that constantly harbours worry of the past and anxiety for the future. When the intellect remains undeveloped and weak, it is unable to control the vagaries of the mind. Those having developed a powerful intellect, with or without academic distinction, can hold the mind under perfect control and direct action to spell success and peace in life.

The educational systems the world over must be held responsible for the debacle of the intellect. It is their primary responsibility to strike an equable balance between acquiring intelligence and developing the intellect. Only by maintaining this essential equation can governments be run, businesses conducted, professions practised and families live in peace and prosperity.

Abstract from Governing Business and Relationships by Swami Parthasarathy.