Archive for September, 2007

An All Too Common Confusion

by Jason Stotts

I often hear people make fail to make a distinction between two drastically different things: Intelligence and Knowledge.

Intelligence is a capacity for thinking and reasoning; it is analogous to a motor. Whereas knowledge is having actual understanding of facts and justified theories; it is analogous to fuel.

When one calls someone “Intelligent” one means that the person in question is good at using their mind for thinking and reasoning. When one calls someone “Knowledgeable” one means that the person in question knows many facts and justified theories.

Intelligence and Knowledge work together like a motor and fuel: the motor needs fuel in order to operate. Thus, the two terms are often used together. It is from this intimate connection that the problem arises and although the two terms are intimately connected they are not the same thing.

One could be knowledgeable without being intelligent, like a person who knows a lot about sports. One could also be intelligent without being knowledgeable, like an intelligent child ignorant of a specific subject.

So, next time you talk about someone being knowledgeable or intelligent, take a moment to think about the difference between the two and use the right term!

A Hymn to Death

by Jason Stotts

I am going to die and I’m glad of it.

I have never understood those who live their lives constantly dreading their mortality, as though the fact that they were going to die meant that they should never actually live.

While clearly death is the end of life, death is not antithetical to life. Quite the contrary, death is a necessary condition of life – something that cannot die is not alive.

Yet life is more than mere physical existence. Someone who is merely biologically alive is not living; human life is more than just a succession of breaths.

It is because we are mortal that life can have meaning. Without death, values would be impossible; without values, life would be meaningless.

A meaningless life is no human life.

If we want our lives to be meaningful we must create meaning in our lives by choosing appropriate values and purposefully pursuing them. However, we can only do this because we are mortal.

So let us embrace our mortality; for without death we can have no life.