The Illusion of Intelligence

By Desmond Yeoh

This article is based on a true story.

Everyday, a man cycles around a port to collect scrap metal to sell. He earns just enough to live from day to day.

Would this man be considered intelligent?

Because he had been doing this for many years, he established a good relationship with the port officers and they gave him the sole right to collect the scrap metal at the port. When the metal prices skyrocketed, he exported the scrap metal collected to China and became a millionaire.

Now, would this man be considered intelligent? Was he anymore intelligent after he became rich then he was when he was poor? Could we argue that his intelligence was not recognised, and that is why no one wanted to give him a job?

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This story clearly shows that what constitute intelligence is a conditioning impressed upon us by the society. It is not the truth but an illusion shared by humanity. We must realise this so that we do not make the mistake of assuming that we are smarter than those who have less qualifications than us. Similarly, we cannot assume that we are more spiritual that others if we have read more scriptures. Between knowledge and experience of spiritual truths, it is the experience that will bring us happiness. Knowledge merely points the way for us to experience spiritual truths.

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