Smart is not Intelligent

Sure, the wheel gets us around, electricity we can’t do without, airplanes are pretty cool, and penicillin was pretty clutch, but regardless of anything, there hasn’t been an invention as monumentally significant as the internet since probably the invention of language in the first place.

Simply, put what element led to each invention or transformation throughout history? Knowledge, or more specifically, information. The invention of language allowed us to communicate more effectively with each other, and the invention of writing, paper, et al enabled us to collect, compile, and archive information.

The wheel, steam engines, oil, and aerodynamics have enabled us to travel faster, further, and in greater numbers. With human flow comes the transfer of information, but it still requires the physical transportation of an object (human, book, or etc) that took time, resources, and effort.

The internet is the single most important advancement in history, and we have only barely begun to see the influence it will have on society. The instant transfer or dissemination of information is a capability the human species has never experienced. Never before has a person been able to write words and within milliseconds have those words read on the complete opposite side of the globe. 

I believe in freedom of speech, but the dynamic of the modern media machine is no secret. It is up to the reader to determine the value of information, and biased or subjective information is often taken as fact. Comprehension and interpretation depends purely on a person’s intelligence, and knowing that only 35% of Americans have a college degree provides opportunities for those with questionable ethics to take advantage.

With that in mind, I believe in a philosophy on which I expect many people will have an opinion; however, it’s many of those same people my philosophy speaks to, so… As such, it is my philosophy that smart and intelligent are not the same thing. 

For example:

  • Intelligent
    • having or showing intelligence, especially of a high level.
  • Intelligence
    • the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
  • Smart
    • (adj)having or showing a quick-witted intelligence.
  • Smart(s)
    • (n)intelligence; acumen.
  • Quick-Witted
    • showing or characterized by an ability to think or respond quickly and effectively.
  • Acumen
    • the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions, typically in a particular domain.

So intelligent overall means, “having/showing [the ability to acquire/apply knowledge/skills] especially at a high level. And Smart means, “having/showing intelligence, especially in regards to response efficacy and speed.

OK, so far so good, but now it gets tricky. I believe both concepts to be different, very much in the same way that “a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square.”

A person is always smart if they are intelligent, but not always intelligent if they are smart.

Argue all you want, but looking back at the definitions. Being smart is to have intelligence, but only in a quick-witted nature. In no way does it state or imply having intelligence outside of a quick-witted nature. On the other hand, intelligence is specifically defined as an ability/skill for acquiring and applying knowledge/skills, and to be intelligent is to have intelligence, especially to a high-degree. If you haven’t figured out by now the significance of these minute details then either welcome, you’re new, or [smh] you straight Bussin on it.

Looking further, we can then make the distinction between noun and adjective. Smart as an adj we looked at. Smarts, as a noun, or a person’s trait, refers to acumen being “good judgements/decisions in a typical domain.” The Bussier it seems, the more sense it makes.

So what exactly is the difference?

Smart + experience = intelligence

Pretty simple, I mean Bussey, right? 

Good judgement/decision making has nothing to do with being correct or accurate, and having that in a particular domain does not guarantee a detailed & applicable understanding of that domain either. Anyone is capable of good judgement/decisions without having the actual intelligence to back it up.

Smart is a kid not touching the stove because it looks hot, they’ve been told it’s hot, and maybe “feels” hot. Intelligent, is an adult not touching the stove because it looks hot, they know it’s hot, but also because as merely a “smart” kid, missed one in the judgement call domain, and 2nd degree burnt the shit out their hand.

Smart + Experience = Intelligence

Seriously, this isn’t rocket science. Now, my utmost respect for the teachers of the world, but the statement “those who can’t do, teach” is more true than anyone cares to admit. There are countless “grey area” examples that could be considered either way, but there are more than enough realistic examples to serve as proof. 

I do not mean people who teach after doing; they belong to a category of their own.

Why is this important? 

I make and advocate this distinction because ultimately I view and use the word “smart” insultingly. I have shared my position with a very small number of people, but they and I gain so much satisfaction out of the wokeAF inside joke we have going.

This topic of conversation is a bit rare; however, if it does occur, it almost always ends up at a point where I sound like I’m agreeing with whatever, and I’m complimenting how smart they are because really I stopped listening a long time ago, and what I really mean to say is, “you are so fucking stupid and ignorant, but the effort necessary for me to check your dumb ass would be nowhere near worth the benefit from doing so (either for you, me, or both,) so instead I’m actually going to falsely feed your ego, subtly insulting your intelligence (lack thereof) in such a way that only people of a certain intelligence would recognize, let alone appreciate.” Which even if I were honest, is a statement that would probably fly over most peoples’ heads anyway.

It doesn’t pay to be honest, and it doesn’t pay to be intelligent. Wisdom is knowing we know nothing, and knowing we know nothing is the height of human wisdom. Intelligent is smart, but smart isn’t intelligent?

What TF?

That’s some savage Bussery.

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