Intelligence is subjective. There are many types of it, just as the perception of what makes someone smart varies from one person to another. The following quotes about intelligence, however, reveal universal truths most people will agree with.
Some people get fascinated with erudition and theoretical knowledge. Others tend to appreciate practical intelligence more than that. I admire both. The truth is that intelligence can be multi-faceted. Someone may be more efficient in studying and writing. Someone else excels at more practical skills, such as finding common ground with random people or repairing a car.
But in my opinion, there is one bottom line to any type of intelligence. It is the ability to analyze information, whether we are talking about understanding a complex philosophical novel or drawing conclusions from personal life experiences.
An intelligent person is the one who constantly learns, analyzes, and doubts. It is not a snobby know-it-all but, on the contrary, someone who realizes how many things there are still to learn. A genuinely smart person also understands that there is no absolute truth. Everything is relative and varies according to your perspective.
Here are a few of our favorite quotes about intelligence and open-mindedness that reveal what it means to be a truly smart person:
A high degree of intellect tends to make a man unsocial.
Intelligent people tend to have fewer friends than the average person. The smarter you are, the more selective you become.
The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.
Beauty may be dangerous, but intelligence is lethal.
The ability to observe without evaluating the highest form of intelligence.
I’m attracted to intelligence, not education. You could graduate from the best, most elite college, but if you’re clueless about the world and society, you don’t know anything.
I am not attracted to book smart. I could not care less about your college degree. I am attracted to raw intelligence. Really anyone can sit behind a desk. I want to know what you know beyond the realm of our society. And only living and seeking can give you that intelligence. We’ve got time. Let’s sit on the rooftop at 2 a.m. and introduce me to your mind.
The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.
Asocial behavior is a trait of intelligence in a world full of conformists.
Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.
-Fyodor Dostoevsky, “Crime and Punishment”
Open-minded people don’t care to be right. They care to understand. There’s never a right or wrong answer. Everything is about understanding.
Don’t be afraid to be open-minded. Your brain isn’t going to fall out.
If you can’t change your mind, then you’re not using it.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.
Intelligence is not about education
As you can see from the above quotes about intelligence, being smart doesn’t equal having a college degree. Oftentimes, things like having the right attitude, keeping your mind open, and staying curious are more important.
Another common truth we can see in these quotes is that intelligence often comes with certain drawbacks. Some of the smartest and deepest people are profoundly unhappy. This is because a deeper understanding opens your eyes to the dark sides of life, which are not easy to ignore.
Intelligence, especially creative one, often brings deeper sensitivity and, therefore, disappointment. There is even a beautiful German word for it – Weltschmerz. It’s when you suffer because of all the ugly things happening in the world that you can do nothing about.
Finally, intelligence makes you observant and highly analytical. You can read people and know when someone is being inauthentic, so they are not worth your time. This brings further disappointment and tends to make you less social and enthusiastic about people.
Do you agree with the above quotes about intelligence and open-mindedness? Do you have something to add?
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