IQ and Wisdom

Question

Are wisdom and having a high IQ the same thing? I mean, can you be wise with an average IQ or foolish with a high IQ?

, 8 months

Answers

  1. What in intriguing question! The answer is quite simply, “No”. A person can be blessed with a very high IQ and not possess true wisdom. Judaism teaches that true wisdom begins with recognizing and acknowledging that there is a God. Not just that, but that God wants us to live our lives in a certain way so that we can reach our potential.

    A person who is very, very intelligent may not come to this fundamental realization. This means that he/she are not able to reach the true depths of their potential because, in a certain way, they have closed the doors to true wisdom.

    An illustration of this distinction can be seen in the horrendous dichotomy of the higher echelon of the Nazi party some seventy years ago. It was full of academically brilliant people with advanced degrees and doctorates in a whole array of subjects. They were very, very intelligent according to conventional methods of measuring intelligence but they were not wise. They were morally bankrupt people whose intelligence was used only for evil.

    IQ is something that seems to be a factor that is more or less part of a person’s “hardwired” makeup. He’s just born that way, so to speak. Wisdom, however, is a gift from above that we can acquire throughout our lives. In fact, it is the first request we make in our three daily silent prayers. May we all merit gaining great wisdom and putting it to good use.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team