Does Being Smart Make You Dumb?

Sadhguru looks at the nature of intelligence and the nature of being smart, and explains where each of these is relevant.
Does Being Smart Make You Dumb?
 

Sadhguru: Being smart and being intelligent are different things. Twenty-five years ago, you would refer to someone as intelligent. But the terminology is different nowadays. No one cares if you are intelligent. They are only concerned about whether you are smart. If you are smart, you can find your way through the world – you will make it in the current economy!

If there is you and me, me being smarter than you helps. If there is me and me, me being smarter than me is stupid.

But intelligence is of a different nature. Intelligence doesn’t always equip you to win a race. In fact, you might be much slower than others because you see many more things than they do. Those who are smart and are just looking to achieve one little goal in their life may get there much faster – and everybody may clap their hands. But your intelligence may be grasping too many things for you to take even one step.

If you are smart, that means you somehow consolidated the situation to your benefit. Different types of people are considered smart depending on what kind of society you are in, in what kind of time, situation and among what kind of people. Today, people who have some scruples are generally considered dumb. Quite unscrupulous people turn out smart because they know how to take advantage of certain situations. 

The Smart Dog

Let me tell you a story. There was a very smart dog once. He was so smart that he kind of became a better dog than all the other dogs in the local villages. One day, he got a little adventurous. If you have noticed, village dogs will never go into the jungle. Maybe sometimes they just go to the fringe, trying to hunt down a rabbit or a hare, but they never go deep because they instinctively know there are bigger animals out there, for which they will just be meat. 

But this is an over-smart dog, so it went deep into the jungle, where a tiger saw it. The tiger had never seen a creature like this before. He thought, “He looks like he’ll make a good afternoon snack.” He growled and started coming towards the dog. But this is a very smart dog. It wanted to run, but it knew if it ran, the tiger would catch up in no time and he will become a crunchy snack. He saw a heap of bones nearby and started strutting around saying, “Oh my god! These tigers make a real good meal. Ha!” The tiger hesitated and stepped back. “Oh, this is some kind of a creature that has tigers for a meal. And all these heaps of bones.” He turned back and moved away. Seeing this, the smart dog slowly started slinking away. 

A monkey sitting on a nearby tree saw the whole scene and couldn’t help monkeying with the situation. He told the tiger, “He just fooled you and went away. That’s just a dog. I’ve been into the villages. He can do nothing to you. He doesn’t have the strength of even one of your paws.” The tiger felt stupid. “What? The idiot fooled me? Come, let’s catch him.” So the monkey jumped onto the tiger’s back and they started running towards the dog. 

The dog saw a monkey riding a tiger and coming towards it. It knew what had happened, but this is a smart dog. He yawned and said, “Where is that goddamn monkey? It’s been almost an hour since I ordered for another tiger. Where is he?”

You can manage the world like this. But when it comes to your inner nature, this will not get you anywhere because dealing with manifestations of creation is one thing, dealing with the source of creation is a completely different thing. Here, your smartness will not work at all. Smartness is good only when there is you and the other. When there is just you and you, the smarter you think you are, the more stupid you will become. 

Realizing How Stupid You Are

Enlightenment is not some kind of an achievement. Enlightenment means you broke through your ignorance. It is a realization – that means you realized how stupid you are. That which was always there, you saw it only today. It takes a lot of intelligence to realize how stupid you are. Most people cannot see it. You can only see it if the very urge to be smart and special, the very urge to be better than someone, is completely vanquished within you. Only then will you have the intelligence to break through your ignorance. If you get smarter with the spiritual process, your ignorance will just keep taking different forms. It will be an endless ride from one level of ignorance to another. 

I am not saying being smart is wrong. You can train yourself to function better than someone but that only has a limited application and domain. You cannot take it inward and try to be smarter because the only person you are fooling is yourself. If there is you and me, me being smarter than you helps. If there is me and me, me being smarter than me is stupid. 

Editor's Note: “Mystic’s Musings” includes more of Sadhguru’s insights on a seeker's predicament. Read the free sample [pdf] or purchase the ebook.

 

 
 
 
 
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