I recently had a chance to see the movie Philomena starring the brilliant actress Judi Dench in the title role. In addition to being touching and entertaining this movie makes a very important and profound point about what constitutes true intelligence.
All too often people assume that the smartest folks are automatically those who hold the highest educational degrees or who are the most well-read.
I, for one, strongly disagree. I think the movie Philomena does as well.
Some of the brightest people I’ve known have been those with little formal education. Still, although they knew little or nothing about Shakespeare or schools of philosophy or science or politics, they were wise when it came to common sense and/or understanding human nature or the world at large or, perhaps most important of all, themselves.
Philomena, the character that Dame Dench plays, is like that. An unpretentious woman, she doesn’t catch many of the witticisms or literary references made by the well-educated journalist (he attended Oxford, no less) who accompanies her throughout most of the movie.
But when it comes right down to actually being wise, to having come to an understanding about what’s really important and knowing how to forgive others and to see the good in the world and the humanity inherent even in those who have done her a great disservice, she’s an absolute genius.
A fact that the journalist, who clearly assumes from the moment he meets her that his intelligence far outshines hers, is slow to catch that point. But the depth of her superior understanding does ultimately dawn on him.
And, like us all, he’s better for the lesson.
Please don’t get me wrong. I have a deep and abiding respect for higher education. I went into debt to attain my own and I’ll always be glad I did. No question there are jobs and roles that can’t and shouldn’t be undertaken without the knowledge and skills that only college can help you achieve.
However, I hope I’m never foolish enough to believe that having a degree automatically makes me wiser than someone who doesn’t have one. Until you get to know them, there’s simply no telling what level of wisdom life, and the other individual’s own innate understanding, has helped him or her to achieve.
WHAT ABOUT YOU, DO YOU HAVE EXAMPLES YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE OF SOMEONE YOU’VE KNOWN WITH LITTLE EDUCATION BUT A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING? A FREE COPY OF MY DEBUT NOVEL, MRS. GOODFELLER, WILL BE RANDOMLY AWARDED TO ONE PERSON WHO LEAVES A COMMENT BELOW BEFORE THE NEXT WRITERSPACE BLOG IS POSTED.