Re: Intelligence and wisdom

From: James Higgins (
Date: Tue Jul 16 2002 - 13:49:32 MDT

Gordon Worley wrote:
> On Tuesday, July 16, 2002, at 01:52 PM, James Higgins wrote:
>> Intelligence + knowledge/experience * time = wisdom
> Time is involved, but not in the sense you're thinking. Time is
> important in the "I can only think so fast" sense, not the "I've been
> around the world and back again" sense. You are only thinking about
> accumulating wisdom the hard way: you do the wrong thing and try to

Well, I guess that depends upon the topic. When it comes to wisdom in
regard to human interactions you can learn some by thinking and some by
reading but most has to be leared by experience.

If your talking about mathematics then you can become mathamatially wise
by just doing a whole lot of thinking.

For decisions about The Singularity in regard to how it *should* impact
humanity I believe the "soft" skills are key, and most of that knowledge
needs to come from the "I've been around the world and back again" category.

Thinking rationally gets you far on technical points on Friendliness
implementations, architecture, etc. But doesn't buy you nearly as much
on how to apply a Singularity to a civilization. Because to truly
understand, respect and have empathy for all humans requires being
exposed to large quantities of them from different backgrounds and
taking a real interest in getting to know them.

So, back to the point, the importance of time varies with the subject
matter. I was thinking in context of soft skills.

> formulate a negative to that which is right. The `easy' way (this kind
> of thinking it's really easy, just the process is easier and faster than
> the hard way) is to be able to think rationally and reason your way to
> wise choices. As it turns out, this way gets more right answers faster
> (still limited by time in the sense that I mentioned). The equation you
> proposed should look more like this (in Smalltalk/Obj-C like syntax):
> wisdom = [your_mind intelligentThoughtWithKnowledge: your_knowledge
> experience: (your_experience + vicarious_experience) forTime: t];
> :-)
> The only issue with time is spending time thinking about things that,
> upon drawing conclusions, will make you wiser.
> To be fair, though, I obtain wisdom both ways.
> As for this being adolescent egoism, I don't think there's much that can
> be said to dissuade you of that position. I understand why you think
> that way, but it's wrong to think that wisdom is necessarily correlated
> with age, though it often is.

It is only possible to gather knowledge so fast. Plus, for a
substantial fraction of the first 20 years, many of the mental building
blocks are still under development. Exact ages at which the
architecture of the mind is fully in place vary. Also, the rate at
which one is exposed to knowledge varies.

For "soft" (interpersonal) skills a child who has highly social (and
afluent would help) parents who expose him/her to many cultures and
individuals would greatly decrease the time it takes to gather such
knowledge. Likewise, a child who is given extensive access to
scientists, researchers and related materials/equipment would gather
knowledge in those regions faster. But *most* people don't have access
to vast quantities of knowledge in such ways. Therefor my belief that,
in most cases, it takes significant time.

> As Eli suggested, demonstrating wisdom
> goes a lot further than claiming to be wise towards proving wiseness to
> someone (of course if you're wise enough you know that it doesn't matter
> what most people think of you and act on it, but I digress).

Correct. But, is it possible to understand the wisdom of someone who is
more wise than they are? Lookup "up" it may not be possible to tell
someone else is more wise (much like intelligence tends to work). Only
it is even more difficult to demonstrait wisdom.

People on SL4 are free to make judgements regarding my intelligence,
wisdom, egotism or whatever the like. But unless someone can convince
me to change my view I will continue on my present course (which
includes, among other things, getting us to a safe Singularity).

James Higgins

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