Paul Graham has another essay posted: “Is It Worth Being Wise?”
The path to wisdom is through discipline, and the path to intelligence through carefully selected self-indulgence.
When I was competing as an athlete over a decade ago, I was pursuing “intelligence,” in Graham’s definiton of being able to do very few things exceptionally well. Knowing that most of the important things in life are hard (impossible) to measure, I wanted to see where I stacked up on one of the few scales that is consistent and known. For a good chunk of time, I had to be selfish.
Now, most of the time, I’m aiming at “wisdom,” in Graham’s definition of being good, on average, across a wide range of situations. Discipline is a positive trait, but it is limiting. I suppose I’m willing to accept those limits because I know I need others more now.
Read the essay for a more adept comparison of the two traits. This is less compelling than many of Graham’s essays, but it’s still notable. Even intelligent.