Bertrand Russell is a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist and Nobel laureate. He is noted to have said: The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. A similar sentiment is his statement: The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
You’d think the trouble with the world might be that the intelligent are cocksure and the stupid full of doubt. That’s because we may think of intelligence as boisterous, belligerent, aggressive, even violent. Doubt is uncertainty, unsuredness, indecisive and questioning. What is intelligence? What is not intelligence? What is stupidity? Although there may be some value in being cocksure, at certain times, there are several disadvantages as a general way of interacting with life. Life itself is uncertain. To be so certain, so cocksure, can often be a way of becoming misaligned with life. To be misaligned with life is to experience dis-ease and dis-comfort. Dis-ease and dis-comfort, or, rather, the absence of such, can be an indicator of intelligence. Dis-ease and dis-comfort are symptoms of stupidity. Ease and comfort are symptoms of intelligence.
Intelligence is, of course, far more than a score on a test. It is the innate, inborn capacity to respond. Every single living creature is capable of response, and does so based on its native intelligence. That native intelligence within every single living creature interacts with its environment. Humans are no different in housing native intelligence; humans are different in their capacity to choose between intelligence and stupidity, to be misaligned with life, or not. The trouble with the world today is the stupid are misaligned with life, and the intelligent don’t know what to do.
Intelligence is rooted in the Greek word Teleos which translates as ‘complete’ and ‘result.’ Teleos is future orientation. Teleos is about the ultimate destination.All living creatures have Teleos. They are future oriented, by nature, by design. Every seed contains within it all the plant will become, given the appropriate environment. It is that spark which allows the species to continue on and on and on, given the proper environmental stage. The same teleos operates within every individual, guiding it, prompting it, nudging it along a course towards the future, and its ultimate destination. When aligned with Teleos, disease and discomfort are foreign. When misaligned with Teleos, stupidity reigns.
Stupidity is not fun; it is not pleasure or enjoyment or satisfaction. It is ripe with conflict, chaos, confusion and yet not without its own brand of cunning. The trouble with the world is too many are too often too cunning for personal, short-sighted objectives, and too few are aligned with Teleos for collective, long-term objectives. What is long term? Inherent in the species is a biological clock, which dates back millions of years. Every particle of our existence, biological, geological, social, is very old; the stuff that makes us what we are has been around a long, long, very long time. It will continue on and on and on assuming various forms and manifestations of Life, and of Teleos. Don’t be stupid; be intelligent; tune in to your own innate Teleos.
“Intelligence is what you use when you don’t know what to do: when neither innateness nor learning has prepared you for the particular situation.”– Jean Piaget