Once, I was talking to a friend about some brilliant people that I admire. The friend, who had never heard of the people I spoke of, became increasingly agitated and eventually blurted out, “What’s the big deal about being smart? It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how many… things you know!”
I thought about their question. As they walked off.
And I must confess that I became irritated.
Here’s why being intelligent matters: every single thing in this room exists only because of intelligent people. The sheetrock on the walls, the paint on the sheetrock, the plastic in the light fixture, the machine that shaped the plastic. We would get dizzy considering how the smoke detector alone was made. Everything only exists because highly educated people applied the strength of their mind.
There is nothing in just this one room that exists because of “street smarts” or common sense (though that is a factor).
Why does being smart matter? Because every thing you own, use, collect, or cherish you owe to intelligent people. It gets more serious: no one could survive without intelligent people. No one could even feed themselves without the products of academically intelligent people.
Why does being smart matter? The more productive question is: What else matters?
The uneducated are entirely dependent on the educated.
(Cross-reference: The Human Species)