General Question

Jude's avatar

If you had to choose one, which is more important - intelligence or common sense?

Asked by Jude (32120points) May 31st, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

36 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

common sense. you can tell it’s more valuable because it’s so rare.

Ivan's avatar

I’ll go with intelligence.

Frankie's avatar

Common sense, definitely. In my opinion, people do not typically expect you to be highly intelligent and usually do not make fun of you behind your back if you don’t have a PhD or something. Common sense is a completely different story. For example, at my work, there are extremely intelligent professors with PhD’s and 30 years of research and teaching experience who simply cannot understand that when the copier stops printing their syllabi and says “Load paper in Tray 1,” you need to put paper in Tray 1 or else it won’t start printing again. For whatever reason, they just don’t get it…and it’s a source of unending amusement (and frustration, because it’s us they come to, freaking out and insisting that the copier is broken when it very clearly isn’t), and we make fun of them…a lot.

Ivan's avatar


Do you think that the education that those PhD’s impart on to their students makes up for their inability to use a copy machine?

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Depends on the application of said traits. If you are going to be a mathematician it matters not if you are quick with the new coffee maker with all its complicated buttons.. but rather that you are able to crunch crazy numbers with your god-like intelligence.

If, on the other hand, you plan on becoming a long haul truck driver.. your intelligence will likely go unappreciated on the cb.. your colleagues here would likely prefer that your haul didn’t fall out onto the highway.

Tink's avatar

Common sense because inteligence isn’t that much important

Ivan's avatar

@Tink1113 A fact you clearly demonstrate.

Tink's avatar

@Ivan – Whats that supposed to mean?!

Frankie's avatar

@Ivan I’m certainly not saying the professors’ intelligence doesn’t matter…as a university student it happens to be quite essential to my own education. What I’m saying is that no one really makes fun of you for not having a PhD, but if you have a PhD and you can’t figure out that “Load paper” means, well, load paper…it’s a bit humorous.

Frankie's avatar

@Tink1113 you spelled intelligence wrong…it was kind of ironic.

Ivan's avatar


Please don’t underestimate the importance of intelligence. Do you think the computer you’re using right now was developed from common sense?


So importance is measured based on how much you get laughed at?

ragingloli's avatar

@Tink1113 intelligence is not important? it is the source of all technological and pharmaceutical achievements we have today. clearly not important.

Tink's avatar

@Frankie – Oh sorry for my bad english grammar!!!
@Ivan – Its an iPod and yeah it was

Tink's avatar

What I mean is I don’t really mind it’s just I don’t know I’m stupid and I’m not feeling well

Ivan's avatar


“yeah it was”

No, no it wasn’t. Nor was the car you ride in, the TV you watch, the medicines you take, the air-planes you ride in, or anything else you’ve used that was invented since the agricultural revolution.

Tink's avatar

Sorry people I didn’t mean to piss you off I gotta go

Frankie's avatar

@Ivan No, not necessarily. I was using that as an example.

ragingloli's avatar

And to answer the question, if you want to get along in society, common sense. If you want to advance society, intelligence.

Ivan's avatar


Well, I think I could handle getting laughed at every once and a while if it meant genuinely improving the world.

oratio's avatar

Come on people, use some common sense.

AstroChuck's avatar

Common sense is a form of intelligence, just as are wisdom and cleverness.

Frankie's avatar

@Ivan Just because I think common sense is more important does not mean I think intelligence is unimportant…as a university student I think it’s pretty obvious that I value education and intelligence and “improving the world.” In my opinion, when functioning in “the real world” (interacting with people in a variety of settings, driving, keeping yourself safe in different situations, etc.) common sense tends to be much more important than being “book smart.”

Ivan's avatar


You are trying to apply “book smarts” in areas where they are not necessarily applicable. I don’t care what makes it easier for me to live my every-day life. I care about what makes it easier for me to improve the world.

Frankie's avatar

@Ivan Well, technically, the same could be said for your own argument…if your main focus is “improving the world,” then yes, common sense is not necessarily as applicable as “book smarts” are. This is merely a difference of what we find important in our lives, apparently. That, or the question is inherently flawed, because you can’t apply common sense to situations that require only “book smarts” intelligence, and vice versa.

cookieman's avatar

@ragingloli: GA

If I had to choose, I’d go with common sense – but I’d sure miss my intelligence.

Blondesjon's avatar

You can’t have one without the other.

cyn's avatar

Common sense is having the presence of mind not to set your hand on the hot stove.

Intelligence is the knowledge and understanding of WHY you shouldn’t put your hand on the stove.

i don’t know!

augustlan's avatar

I don’t think it’s possible to choose. Either without the other is just… incomplete. Both are necessary.

Ivan's avatar


I believe we’ve reached an agreement.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I thought “common sense” was already a form of intelligence.

Bluefreedom's avatar

The most important choice for me is common intelligence which I have plenty of. It’s a balance between the original two choices and it suits me very well.

wundayatta's avatar

Common sense, as in whatever you think off the top of your head, tends to be wrong more often than evidence-based actions. Seems to me that it’s common sense to use your intelligence. Smart solutions almost always work better than knee-jerk solutions.

I think that what we really mean, generally, is that the policy wonks can be so focused on a problem, that they don’t see how it relates to things around it. Common sense tends to look at a broader set of consequences, and often the solution to a particular problem, as the intellectuals might propose, doesn’t make sense when you consider everything else that might happen as a result of that solution.

Just a thought.

CMaz's avatar

They go hand in hand. Semantics. Common sense comes from experience. Experience generates intelligence. One is just fluffy, the other is hard edged.
With that said, some people are just dysfunctional and weak.
Survival of the fittest.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

common sense.
but it depends on how you define intelligence. if intelligence is basically book-smarts, definitely common sense. i’d rather hold a conversation with someone who has a basic grip on things than someone who doesn’t understand people/etc, but knows a lot about math and chemistry, etc.

Ivan's avatar


So now the most important thing in life is your ability to hold a conversation with someone?

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