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Difference Between Wisdom And Intelligence

Updated on April 16, 2011

When discussing the difference between wisdom and intelligence, one needs to understand the definition of each. First, one can be wise but not intelligent and one can be intelligent but not wise. The definition of being wise is having or showing experience or knowledge. The definition of intelligent is to show mental keenness, to be smart.

Now a person can be smart and a person can be wise. But the same person is not necessary both at the same time. In many cases you will find that a person that is greatly intelligent will not have much in the way of being wise. In addition those who are very intelligent tend to also be secluded and withdrawn. A wise person will be more open and anxious to try different things.

The two traits do not usually exist together simply because a person who is wise has learned through experience while a person who is intelligent usually will have great book knowledge. This is usually referred to as book smart or street smart. A person who is wise has learned through experiencing the fact whereas a person who is more intelligent has only studied the possibilities.

There are examples of people who are both. However they usually are very good at using only one of their personalities traits at the same time. As a discussion involving evolution may require them to show they are intelligent while a dinner party conversation about the weather might require them to show they are wise. In addition a wise person has likely tried many different things. A person who is intelligent does not understand risk taking or participating in dangerous activities such as hand gliding for example.

It is easy to ascertain a person who is wise from one who is intelligent. An intelligent person will be the one who normally takes over a conversation and make sure that their knowledge is heard and absorbed by those around them. They are more likely to be instructors to people by sharing the intelligent things they have learned over the years.

However an individual that is wise will advise another about the dangers, problems and so on of a plan and then move on. For many years there has been a debate that being intelligent is more important than being wise. It is a matter of ability. Being a wise person does not necessarily require the ability to learn. Many things are learned through doing them and being successful or unsuccessful. When an individual is unsuccessful they wisely choose another route the next time.

Not everyone has the ability to absorb the necessary information to be either wise or intelligent. Some will learn things quickly while others will require many hours of instruction to understand the simplest part of a task. It is not necessarily a matter of being incapable mentally to absorb the information but more a matter of learning styles.

Being a wise person also requires integration. Having the ability to look at the whole picture creates a more well rounded view which leads to a better understanding of the entire subject. An individual that might be intelligent will generally focus on one key part about which they have great knowledge through scholarly study and stick to that one area rather than taking a look at the entire project as a whole. Learn about the difference between wisdom and intelligence.


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      asdf 3 years ago


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      To Nick 3 years ago

      That kid didn't know that rubbing their feet can do this so he become more intelligent but if he knew that something was happening and tried to do it then he become wiser.

      (don't look on dates xD)

    • profile image 5 years ago

      intelligent means theory study and wisdom means practical work experience