The Most Precious Resource on the Planet: Human Intelligence

4 years, 10 months ago, reading time: 8 mins.

It is paramount to live a life constantly oriented towards the search and preservation of Truthful Knowledge and, at the same time, constantly searching for innovation, which is the evolution of the existing knowledge.

“Knowledge is power” seems a rather redundant aphorism, maybe even trivial, yet it’s always strong and pervading as much as the essence of the few words that make it up is simple. In the 16th century, the first real revolution of knowledge took place: the invention of the printing press, which made knowledge more accessible than ever before the discovery of Gutenber. Hundreds of years later, radio and television have determined the second revolution, pervading our lives, first with respect and moderation, and then with an unforeseeable intrusiveness. At the end of the last century, the Web has fostered the third revolution, at first slowly and soon after at rocket speed, allowing everyone to have access to all – or almost all – the existing knowledge.

I read in an article (but the source was not cited) that about 90% of the scientist that lived on our planet are alive in this era. One might be tempted to say that “knowledge” has become the real discussion (battle?) field, between personal, corporate, political and social line-ups. And what makes it even more impressive, is that knowledge possesses a rare power, typical of very few essential things: it cannot be separated from the rest. Internet has made everything available to everyone, at any time. Until it became, thanks to instances such as Wikipedia, the generator and the organizer of all knowledge, giving everyone the power to add (personal) pieces of knowledge to the general knowledge.

Going back to our aphorism, if knowledge is power, then power is potentially in the hands of everybody. Recalling my philosophical studies, I wonder if this condition is strongly in contrast with the thoughts of an absolute master, Socrates, who said “All I know is that I know nothing”. And I’m able to reconcile these two apparently divergent perspective through a simple realization: there’s a Knowledge that is Truth, that is Law, because it’s always been there, because it appears on a regular basis, everywhere, in every era, under any condition, always in the same way. To possess this knowledge is to possess the elixir of the Great Knowledge that fuels life itself.

Then there’s a perishable knowledge. Era after era, time after time, year after year, day after day, instant after instant, what is knowledge now won’t be knowledge anymore after only a few moments. For this reason, it is essential to pursue a personal and professional life constantly oriented towards the search and preservation of the Truthful Knowledge and, at the same time, constantly searching for innovation, which is the evolution of the existing knowledge.

For the companies, this search is the only guarantee of survival, and for this reason I truly believe in David Vice’s way of thinking (former CEO of Northern Telecom), who used to say: “In the future there will be two kinds of companies: the fast one and the dead ones”. The fast companies will be those that have understood that the battle with the competitors will take place at the human management level as opposed to the process management level.

In an article published on the December 2011 issue of “Mente” (“Steve, one of us”) Francesco Cardinali recalls how Steve Jobs – and I quote the article verbatim – was a master also in this. He had great consideration for all those forms of art and knowledge that today we could summarize in the word “culture”.

The team who developed the Macintosh drew experience from anthrophony, art, history and poetry, aiming at instilling them in the technology. And Jobs has never hidden this philosophic approach that has made the difference between the Apple brand and all the other information technology companies. As he said during an interview for Wired, “the innovations that last longer are those that combine art and science”.

Today, the power lies in controlling the most powerful and scarce of the resources on the planet: human intelligence, both intellectual and emotional. And this resource only belongs to those who possess it: the individual, the person. And this applies to all contexts where there is a confrontation or a contest between two or more entities (i.e. in politics, in society, in sports).

But the intellectual and emotional human intelligence, even if it’s the rarest resource on this planet, has a characteristic that makes it absolutely unique and different from all the others: it can be nurtured, it can be fostered, and thus it’s potentially infinite. Its nourishment is education. The education of the brain and of the heart. The education of minds and emotions.

Thus the confrontation is going from tangible assets (products and services) to intangible assets (ideas and emotions) and longlife learning is the best investment for ourselves and for any kind of group of persons (companies, sport teams, political parties, cultural associations…).

People meeting places (and also and foremost companies and public spaces) should become sources of knowledge and continuous stimulus for our brain and for our heart. Places that stimulate, in those that spend time there, ideas and emotions. Even better, places that generate stimulus as amazement and astonishment. Let’s not forget that any encounter between one or more individuals, far more than an encounter between two or more bodies, is an encounter between two or more hearts, between two or more minds.