George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, famously remarked that ‘smart comes in different kinds of ways’. He was responding to suggestions from the press in America that he wasn’t particularly smart. In point of fact his IQ is reported to be 125, higher than Obama who many in the press hailed as the smartest president in 50 years, who only comes in at 116.
‘W’ did have a tendency to mangle words, phrases, and indeed whole sentences. Those of a liberal bent in America are of the opinion that he mangled both terms and the country. However that is for the historians to debate over.
Now in the waning term of Obama, all we hear about is Donald J. Trump in the news. The press and professional politicians all lament that he engages in demagoguery, which basically means appealing to the emotions of the crowd, rather than engaging with them intellectually. Emotions are what they are. Everybody has them and it can be argued that emotions can’t evolve or are set at a basic level of the lowest common denominator. Intellect on the other hand can be improved. We can enlarge our brain’s ability to think and conceptualise and imagine, but we can’t really do the same with our emotions. And many are worried that Trump is tapping into that, in essence dumbing down America.
Except, where has intellectualism taken us? If we are guided by all the people in power who have more degrees than a thermometer, where will we end up as a society? Before you think I’m advocating that we should be led by stupid, manipulative politicians, we’re already manipulated. And besides it seems that politicians have been able to use logic and smarts and being intellectual and use it to muddy the waters and cause us to lose our common sense.
The following clip is humorous and tongue-in-cheek but it does make the point that being smart does come with its problems.
After all, there are some ideas that are so stupid that only intellectuals will believe them.
Is it possible that logic can be misused and become so convoluted that words lose meaning. Eventually meaning loses its meaning, or is cheapened. The rise of political-correctness illustrates this. Politicians and social-engineers have used so-called logic to bring us to a point in society where we accept the ridiculous: grievance-mongering, public bathrooms where anything goes, charges of racism shutting down free speech, trying to understand the enemy, and suing people who we disagree with, micro-aggressions which cause apoplexy on campuses in America, safe spaces where free speech need not bother us…the list is endless.
Donald J. Trump may appeal to emotion, however I believe the appeal to emotion is a work-around to get the electorate to use common sense and look with their eyes again and see where the country is going, and where it left the rails. Emotion can be used to fast-track us asking the right questions, which politically correct logic would not allow.
It’s not merely America. The world has problems and I’m not sure that the smart people are capable of devising the correct solutions. There is a better way than mere emotion, or intellectualism: wisdom.
Colloquially, knowledge is being aware that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not using it in a fruit salad. There is sometimes a difference between wisdom and those with PhDs.
Wisdom: seeing things from God’s perspective. Psalm 111: 10 reminds us that
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.”
The respect and fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Any other starting point is useless and will ultimately lead to the incorrect conclusion.
Very fortunately, those who would like wisdom or realise that they lack it have merely to ask, as James reminds his readers in chapter 1 of his epistle:
“5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
I’m going to endeavour to see things from His point of view. Whilst I wish sometimes that acquiring wisdom were as easy as sipping on some suds, it simply involves studying scripture and applying it to life.
I didn’t say easy, I said simple.