The Age of Wisdom

I had the pleasure of spending time recently with an admirable and precocious, if slightly impatient, teenager. Doing so made me think about the differences (and relationships) between intelligence, curiosity, maturity and wisdom.

Intelligence is the ability to take in information, remember it, think about it, and see how it fits with other information one has received. It is perhaps innate, but can undoubtedly be nurtured and fostered.

Curiosity helps with this nurturing and fostering of intelligence, and can also be driven by it. It drives one to seek more information, learn about the world around them, and start to question why things are the way they are. It can also drive one to seek new information when information taken in and remembered using intelligence doesn't seem quite right.

Maturity allows one to think about the world through the lens of experience. While in some, it might set one in their ways, blunting the valuable tool of curiosity, it can also lead to questioning in its own right. It is seeing the world through ones own eyes as well as the eyes of the others they have learned with, loved, disagreed with and looked up to.

Wisdom is, I think, that rare combination of all of the above; the intelligent person who continues to question things and has the maturity to understand that opinions are not facts, and are meant to be evaluated, developed, shaped and reshaped.

Or at least I assume it is. I would like to think I have just enough wisdom to admit that I don't have a perfect definition of what it is quite yet...

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