Smart human, good human: why smart is not enough

Being smart and being a good person have always been considered as great traits to have, and indeed they are – but in order to bring positive change into the world, a person should definitely be both

Today we will explore why and how do we combine both of these learnable traits, and why it’s so important to do so. But first, let’s dive into what each of them actually means:

What makes a person smart?

The ones we know as smart people are those with great intelligence that allows them to retain information, plan, innovate and solve problems easily and relatively faster than others. Intelligence is what makes humans cognitively able to learn, form concept, understand and apply logic and reason. After thorough research, we broke the concept of intelligence down to 4 main skills that smart people across history all seem to have in common:

  1. Pattern Recognition – The ability to recognize emotional, intellectual or physical patterns, and how they are built and connected.
  2. Pattern Design – The ability to re-design different pattern elements in a systematic order to generate a product, service, or behavior.
  3. Analogy – making the connection between one experience in people’s lives to another.
  4. Real-Time Composition – A fusion of recognizing and designing patterns in order to find a common denominator. 

What makes a person good?

Philosophers minds have been occupied by this complicated question for ages, and while there may be many answers to it, we have found these elements of kindness are the most relevant to our daily lives:

Empathy – Having the capacity to understand or feel what others are experiencing from their point of view, the ability to match another’s emotions and being tenderhearted toward another person.
Compassion – Having a desire for taking care of other people and actively help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves using kindness, warmth, and care.

Smart is not enough

History had already taught us what can happen when high intelligence does not meet kindness. Without empathy and compassion, a person can be smart, charismatic, even attractive – and yet, also a world-class criminal who’s responsible for a tremendous amount of suffering and pain. Sure, intelligence is an amazing and important thing to have, but intelligence without kindness can be a dangerous weapon. 

On the other hand, being non-intelligent can leave a good person feeling frustrated and helpless in front of others’ pain. Always wanting to bring positive change to the world and having no idea how to do it, can be very depressing.

Fortunately, and on the contrary to many people’s belief, intelligence and kindness are not something we are born with – these are actually skills we learn and can teach to others. 

This revelation will become very significant in the near future, as the world moves towards artificial intelligence (AI) and when robots are taking over many existing jobs. This technological revolution creates economic, personal, and moral problems that only a generation of highly talented, sensitive and empathic technology-oriented people can handle. 

This is the generation of our children, and in order to make sure our children will grow up to be both smart and good humans – we need to evolve the way we educate them. The sooner, the better. 

Stages: developing the "smart human, good human" generation

The Stages Academy is an education center with a powerful Research & Development department. focused on raising the next generation: highly talented, smart, innovative and empathic social contributors and techies. Here we combine the necessary knowledge in technology, sciences, and arts, with skills in research and development, and with the essential empathic tools and a work environment that is creative, cool, supportive and fun.

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