What is smart?


Story by Matthew Xia Graphic by Amber Parrish and Quinn Moss

Current society has shifted to generalize smart people as naturally becoming successful, doing well in school and being able to prioritize their schedule. The society is becoming crowded with people living life as a robot, functioning solely toward success.

However, the definition of smart is purely based on opinion. Especially in education, grades do not define the intelligence of a person, much less determine if one is smart or not. This is all an illusion of the competitiveness of current society and it has clouded judgment do assume intelligence is the causation of success.

The competitive environment of WHS makes students feel compelled to compete with each other and take more AP courses. Although they add a GPA boost, they tend to take a toll on students mentally and physically. The path to becoming smart has continual setbacks through other factors.

Psychologist Lew Terman just so happened to notice a key finding in his research “that while intelligence may suggest a potential for success, fulfilling the potential requires skills and traits that no IQ test can possibly measure.”

Although statistically having a positive correlation, we can never guarantee it is the result of causation. It just happens to be that fictional characters like Jay Gatsby or Lex Luthor are rich and successful as well as overwhelmingly ‘smart.’

There is a general assumption that smart people usually have smart parents and somehow they passed down some smart genes. Although this could play a role, it is not scientifically proven, so much as, just a well–known hypothesis.

The amount of knowledge in a person can be received in just two ways: working hard to achieve some set goals or memorize facts and information. Even so, this doesn’t define smart.

Smart is having or showing a quick–witted intelligence as defined by Dictionary.com. Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

Neither of these definitions helps apply the meaning of smart today. Being smart is not something that can be defined by itself, but rather in comparison to a scale. These scales include grades, level of success, IQ, or even just simple scores.

Ultimately, what smart is really comes down to how one perceives it and how it can be compared to themselves. If one believes of himself to be smart, then most other people would classify to be dumb, or vice versa. Truly, the notion of smart is purely subjective.

There are many ways to define intelligence, so to define ‘smart’ would actually be a stupid thing to do.