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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Black and White

There is, by my deduction, a very distinct difference between knowledge and intelligence. One can be knowledgable without holding any real level of intellect, and one can be intelligent without holding any real knowledge on a particular subject. That doesn't make much sense reading it back to myself. I think it may be the language I am using. One cannot actually hold knowledge or intellect, they are incorporeal, they cannot be held. Unless you consider knowledge to be solely based on experience, or intelligence to be the neural firings of your brain-- which it is of course-- and make an effort to physically hold onto your cranium on a regular basis, which would just look silly. Also, my use of the phrase "real knowledge". What does that entail? I suppose it would make more sense to explain it as something that is reliable, that is verifiable and tested, and that holds true in most situations. What about a novel piece of information? Is it any less valid because it has not be reliably recreated? I suppose my asking of these questions reveals some form of intelligence. I suppose it doesn't matter anyway, unless I am trying to gauge my ability to thrive in an academic environment-- which doesn't really apply at Evergreen because there is not a feeling of competition but of self betterment, at least in the case of those people, in my opinion, valid or not, who actually seem to understand the value of this institution.
So, what is intelligence? Is it intuition? Is it knowledge? Is it awareness? Is it common sense? Is it logic? What the hell is it and why does it have such value as a human or animal trait? According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, intelligence has 9 particular definitions that are applicable in different situations, many with sub-definitions that apply in particular circumstances within more general situations; it is also defined as a noun (person, place, thing):

Here's the whole gang, maybe I can make sense of it all?

1.capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, et cetera.

Alright, so, the ability to obtain and comprehend knowledge? Maybe a quick detour to look at how knowledge is defined is in order, or, perhaps I should wait?

2.manifestation of a high mental capacity: He writes with intelligence and wit.

Intellect is not intellect if it can be interpreted as such by an outside source?

3.the faculty of understanding.

See definition 1? This all seems a bit redundant to me.

4.knowledge of an event, circumstance, et cetera, received or imparted; news; information.

So, the ability to obtain and comprehend knowledge, and to impart that knowledge to an outside source.

5.the gathering or distribution of information, especially secret information.

See definition 4? Is this intentionally muddled?

6.Government.
a.information about an enemy or a potential enemy.
b.the evaluated conclusions drawn from such information.
c.an organization or agency engaged in gathering such information: military intelligence; naval intelligence.

Is intelligence an evolutionary invention? A survival mechanism?

7.interchange of information: They have been maintaining intelligence with foreign agents for years.

See defintion 4.

8.Christian Science. a fundamental attribute of god, or infinite Mind.

Not really relevant to this argument in my opinion.

9.(often initial capital letter) an intelligent being or spirit, esp. an incorporeal one, as an angel.

See definition 8.

By the looks of the definition(s) of "knowledge", the two are strikingly similar. Though knowledge puts more importance on the ability to comprehend and communicate experiences and information, while intelligence is the capacity to gain knowledge, or at least the raw materials-- experiences, information-- necessary to form a base of knowledge.
Why is the English language seemingly intentionally vague? It's really very irritating, language is supposed to help us communicate, not created a variety of miscommunication hurdles that we must clear before we can make our point. I've got more mulling away to do on this matter...

1 comment:

  1. Orwell showed us that language (or at least the consolidation of a language) could just as easily be used as a destructor of creative thought. Not that our dictionary is losing words or anything, but perhaps the addition of words with similar and similarly ambiguous definitions over the years has had a? Or maybe it is the usage that gives a word its meaning..not just which numbered definition one ascribes to that particular occurrence of the word, but the words surrounding it. Every question ends in more questions it seems. Does common sense really exist, or is it just knowledge + intuition?

    PS. Skype is being dumb I think. I'd like to talk to you soon, though!

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