A definition of intelligence

Among the countless questions that reverberate throughout my life, one particularly enthralls me: the definition of intelligence.

What does it truly mean to be intelligent, beyond merely being smart or wise?

Delving into this concept reveals complexities that aren’t immediately apparent.

This complexity is twofold. Firstly, it originates from my personal belief regarding the nuanced spectrum of intelligence. From my perspective, a talented soccer player, a virtuoso guitarist, and a skilled martial artist all demonstrate significant intelligence, even if they might stumble when articulating their thoughts during an interview. Not to mention the extraordinary capabilities of neurodivergent individuals, whose talents I hold in high regard.

Secondly, my grasp of intelligence is profoundly entangled with an individualistic view of the world. Each of us occupies a unique position between Alpha and Omega; thus, no one has been like us before, no one is like us now, and no one will be like us in the future. This distinctiveness imposes on us a moral obligation to navigate our lives with intelligence, respecting our individual journeys.

Oftentimes, it’s through real-life examples that I find temporary answers to my philosophical inquiries.

Several years ago, Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, gave a lecture at an Italian university, perhaps Bocconi. During a Q&A session, a young participant asked about the qualities Microsoft looks for in its potential hires.

Ballmer’s response was surprisingly profound: “We are not looking for geniuses. We seek individuals intelligent enough to recognize their mistakes and learn not to repeat them.”

His viewpoint deeply resonates with me, encapsulating my favored interpretation of intelligence.

Can I categorically assure that I will never repeat my past mistakes? Honestly, no. However, striving towards that goal is a commendable starting point.

In the words of ancient Roman wisdom: Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum (To err is human, to persist in error is diabolical)

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