Word Winding

attempting to spin cacophony into sanity

Question #6: Intelligence or Happiness?

(This post is part of a series for July 2013 entitled “Question Month.” Read the intro to the series here.)

My Facebook post earlier today:

“Question No. 6: Which is more important: intelligence or happiness?”

I ask this one both out of genuine curiosity and because I feel we spend all of childhood pursuing intelligence (not always effectively, in the case of standardized testing and NCLB) only to spend all of adulthood in search of happiness (again, not always effectively; see “drugs,” “money,” “possessions”).

If we truly prize intelligence, why do we not pay our educators appropriately and make higher education low-cost or free? Why do we not invest in educational research and innovation the way we do in weaponry? And why is any politician with good grades, an advanced degree from a world-class university, and solid command of the English language viewed with more suspicion and scorn than one with none of these?

If we truly prize happiness, why are the arts always the first to be cut when a school loses funding? Why is outdoor time and a connection to the natural world nowhere to be found in a mainstream childhood? Why are we so threatened by one another’s religions or lack thereof that we fail to delve into the common philosophical threads which run through them all? Why be consumed with acquisition when it continues to provide only a hollow caricature of happiness?


We may have our rough patches, but never let it be said that we failed to pursue happiness!



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3 thoughts on “Question #6: Intelligence or Happiness?

  1. Happiness is far more important as a healthy mind is required to function intelligently. We put so much emphasis on the ABC’s and 123’s and forget about creativity, imagination, nature, emotions and socialization. Music and art are essential for this. As an early childhood educator, my focus is on self image, social skills and basically the pursuit of happiness…from within!
    Great post. 🙂

    • Thanks! Very good point about needing happiness to reach intellectual potential.

      When I consider whether I would rather myself or my children be very happy and of average intelligence or very smart and of average happiness, I choose the former.

      (I originally said “the latter.” Because I was tired!)

  2. Pingback: Question Interlude (week 1 rehashed) | Word Winding

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