Smartness is more important in life or goodness?
In today’s modern age, people who are obsessed with success and material prosperity seem to have forgotten virtue, goodness, morality, etc. The society or environment and education system have inadvertently taught the people that the thing which is especially important in life is nothing but intelligence, skill, talent and smartness. Because it is the only way to achieve the expected success, status and material happiness in life and perhaps that is why the entire world is busy in accumulating the tools of uninterrupted happiness and for that knowledge, education, skill, intelligence, talent smartness is necessary so people are doing too much hard work lifelong to get it. The entire life of each human-being is spent in learning and mastering the lessons of all kinds of skills, smartness and ingenuity but in the absence of values, principles, ethics and goodness people are deprived of such basic elements of life like peace, strength and joy. I firmly believe that in today’s world there is more need of goodness than smartness or intelligence for self-development as well as social welfare.
Today’s age is considered to be very high-tech, advanced and developed in terms of technology. Almost every work is done with the blink of your eyes through technology without any difficulty or too much physical efforts. That is of-course the result of knowledge, research, skills, ingenuity and intelligence but in absence of goodness that is right understanding, wisdom or noble purpose behind the use of technology can the dream of development with social welfare be achieved? And without the deep understanding of technology as well as overall goodness can the world find happiness and peace through irrational use? In today’s age where human life as well as the whole environment is seen to be very unsafe, turbulent and unhappy among lots of means of well-being and full of conveniences as well as existence of sophistication-intelligence and skills, there is only one reason behind it that we have given more importance to intelligence or ingenuity than goodness. In fact, intelligence talent or skill is not as important as its use and purpose.
Just think that if a computer technology expert, no matter how smart and skilled he is, uses it fatally then what happens to the country or the world. Although hackers are highly knowledgeable, skilled, smart and expert in technology, they are not appreciated by the society as they increase the problems and insecurity for the society. Moreover, he himself may have been living in a state of stress due to his unworthy deeds. So what is benefit of that skill or intelligence if it is misused, no one can breathe a sigh of relief in absence of goodness. Only if all kinds of smartness skills and intelligence are used for the noble cause in the interest of the society than only life of everyone becomes a paradise. In fact, the purpose of intelligence, smartness or talent is only to make life as happy as heaven. If this dream does not come true then all kinds of smartness, intelligence or skills are in vain.
We all know that many biological researches like cloning affect the whole ecosystem which is definitely achieved due to high intelligence, ingenuity, scientific skill and hard work (research) but if not used properly it can have many harmful consequences. Thus, in my view, today’s society needs goodness first than intelligence. The degree of talent has increased a lot in the modern age. Watching reality shows like Dancing, Acting, Singing etc., it seems that everyone is very talented, who should be crowned as the winner because everyone deserves to win. In the same way, there is a large chain of extremely smart, educated, skilled talented leaders in the society. One is superior then other or all are too smart in terms of intelligence. But do you think only intelligent leaders without real goodness and noble purpose are useful for the country? Through them can society or country get happiness and peace? Instead, even if a little less intelligent but man of values and full of ethics who wishes wellbeing of all with complete goodness can give many times bigger results that is actually not possible through only intelligence.
It is our experience that with rise in intelligence generally ego increases which destroys all goodness automatically.
Morality and value in life means always right and good conduct. Word “right” comes from the Latin word “rectus” which means “as per the rules”. Depending on the outcome of the conduct as per the rule, how good or bad it is can be determined. “Good” is associated with the German language “Gut” which is also of Greek origin. It is often difficult to decide both right and good together. Good in general means useful in goal setting. Selfishness often exists in goal attainment which forces the person to be immoral. Goals are of two types 1) General goal 2) divine goal. The general goal is associated with “self” or selfishness while the ultimate goal is associated with the aggregate. Problems arise in making ethical decisions when you do not know what is right and wrong and good or bad? One should always remember that when we face difficulty in selection the goal always divine goal should be given more importance than the goal of self. Thus goodness is related to both rightness and truthfulness.
Self-centered goals can be many such as attainment of materialism, attainment of freedom, attainment of love, attainment of knowledge, attainment of art, attainment of power, attainment of fame, etc. But the purpose behind all these goals is personal gain so that such goals cannot be the ultimate goal or the divine goal. In life when the “win-win” strategy is implemented (i.e. our own victory and the victory of others as well) Then both self as well as all benefited and I strongly believe that this is the policy everyone should have at every stage of life. When intelligence is used for good, that is, for the welfare of all, no one can stop the world from being happy. Thus the true use of intelligence is that only because the welfare of one is always dependent on the other which we all know but sometimes in selfishness we forget it and take the unnecessary pain in life.
Man runs after money (Lakshmi) for the rest of his life, strives to earn material happiness and wealth, acquires it on the basis of skill and smartness, but to use that money, he needs only valuable sacraments and goodness. The act of making money only affects one person or one family while the act of using money affects the whole society or country. To earn money smartness or intelligence may be required but to spend or utilized money goodness is too much essential.
The morality of earning as well as the cultured understanding and goodness of using it provide happiness, security and prosperity to the whole society. It is a well-known fact that if money is spent on addictions like alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, harmful luxuries, it ruins one’s life as well as the lives of others. But if the same wealth is used for noble deeds or social welfare, it will flourish. It is written in BHARTUHARI’S NITISHATAK that there are only three motions or directions of money or wealth where it goes 1) BHOG-GATI that is spending money for one’s own enjoyment and luxuries 2) NASH-GATI that is automatically destroyed of wealth by theft or anything else and 3) DAN-GATI that is charity or donation means noble use of money for wellbeing of all. Apart from these three, there is no fourth direction of wealth if you will not utilized for first or third purpose it will make its way, that is, it will be destroyed automatically. But the third motion or direction of wealth is the manifestation of one’s goodness and sacrament. Moreover, the DANGATI of Lakshmi is the sowing of Lakshmi, which increased many times more and makes the whole social life a paradise. Thus the right direction of utilize wealth reflects the goodness, values and conscience of the individual or society. But unfortunately we may have forgotten or missed teaching the modern age good and prudent rites. So today’s modern man works hard to get smartness but always runs away from penance for attaining virtues.
Today’s so-called modern parents and elders teach their children the science of achieving success as well as surpassing others with utmost diligence i.e. cunning intelligence at any cost. Moreover, person does not hesitate to accept instinctively even if he is overtaken by the abuse of intelligence. Such an evil skill is considered practical intelligence, that is, it is justified on the pretext of being practical. There is excessiveness of skills, intelligence, smartness and ingenuity in the present age but there is scarcity of virtues, values and morals. Everyone in the society is definitely influenced by intelligence, but fall in love with only goodness, it shows that even today we like goodness, niceness or humbleness internally. Even if a respectable, wise, intelligent and smart person in the society is arrogant and insolent, we do not like him and prefer to stay away from him. In short, for the sake of true prestige and honor in the society even today, goodness, virtue, morality as well as sacraments are indispensable. Among the many millionaires, a rich man who pays more attention to the one who donates more, gets the admiration and respect of all, shows that the first choice of human beings is goodness and virtue, not intelligence or smartness.
I am not saying that there is no need for intelligence, skill or smartness in life or society. It is an indispensable condition for development but goodness is essential for peace, security and a loving life. Smartness at the cost of goodness is by no means welcome. Whether it is a person who is less intelligent or less skilled, if he is well-cultured, virtuous, valuable and moral, he is more useful to the society in many ways. The same win-win strategy is recommended by modern management experts in business and perhaps that is why subjects like business ethics are taught in business schools around the world. The strategy of every business should be such that it is beneficial and advantageous not only for the businessman but for the society as a whole. The only thing that can be said to be the best is the work or trade that brings welfare to the whole, which modern society has to understand.
In short, a good man (virtuous man) is more desirable than a smart intelligent man because the smart or intelligent man can do good to only himself while a virtuous man can do good to the whole world. It is said that a person becomes strong not by eating but by digesting, person becomes scholar not by just reading but also by memorizing. From that point of view, good virtuous conduct is more important than intelligence in life. Intelligence without virtues is not useful to society in any way and no country in the world needs such intelligence. So let us pledge today to create such a fully moral, cultured, virtuous society.
~ Shilpa Shah
Shilpa shah, director in-charge HKBBA College