Difference Between Intelligence and Wisdom

Knowledge is the understanding of something such as facts, objects, ideas and much more. Whether it is a memory, reason, inquiry or education, everything is a part of knowledge.


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Knowledge can be theoretical as well as practical.

A statement or fact has to satisfy certain criteria in order to be considered as knowledge. It must be believable, true and justifiable.

Knowledge is a power that cannot be taken away. It can be educational, philosophical, physical, environmental and even emotional.

Knowledge does not function as a single unit, in fact, it deals with and is related to various aspects and fragments. Two such aspects that identify knowledge as their fundamental basis are Intelligence and Wisdom.

Although both these terms might seem similar, they are actually quite different in reality.

Intelligence and Wisdom are such characteristics that are correlated with each other. They are both based on the idea of gaining and applying knowledge to a certain thing.

In addition to this, intelligence and wisdom are nothing but two operations of our mind. Although they differ in meaning, they are built and grown on the same basis.

On an interesting note, both these characteristics deal with the same complex and powerful situations that a human mind is subjected to. Even though they coexist, they do not go hand in hand in every case.

An intelligent person might not be a wise person. The vice-versa is also true.

Intelligence is related to both positive and negative aspects of knowledge, while wisdom is a more positive and spiritual aspect of knowledge that focuses mainly on morality.

Intelligence vs Wisdom

The difference between Intelligence and Wisdom is that Intelligence is an aspect that requires a basic level of understanding, whereas, Wisdom is a complex aspect that requires an upper level of understanding. Wisdom needs the accumulation of knowledge over a longer period than intelligence.

Intelligence vs Wisdom

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonIntelligenceWisdom
LevelIntelligence is a basic level aspect of the mind. Wisdom is a complex level aspect of the mind.
KnowledgeIt deals with gaining knowledge easily and instantly. While it gains knowledge through long experiences.
Time PeriodIt is an instant trait, that is not time-taking. It requires relatively more time.
EpitomeGetting a basic understanding of the contexts is its epitome. Whereas the understanding here needs to be deeper and wider.
TheoryThe theory of intelligence is to combine knowledge with real-life and understand it. The theory of wisdom is to apply the knowledge that is learnt in real-life.
Winning Wining is an important thing in intelligence. While winning is not an important issue in wisdom.
PersonalitySomeone intelligent is very competitive and is open to learn and gain knowledge. Someone wise is an empathetic, grounded and learning person.

What is Intelligence?

Intelligence has a vast and wide meaning to it. It is an aspect of knowledge that deals with being able to understand logical, emotional, creative, critical and problematic facts and ideas.

In simpler words, it can be defined as the eagerness to anticipate or gain knowledge and information.

The meaning and understanding of intelligence differ from person to person. People vary from each other in terms of their understanding ability and thinking process.

All of this gives an idea about intelligence. The concepts of intelligence constitute the basic level thoughts of the mind.

Gaining knowledge easily and instantly without utilising a lot of time is the base of intelligence. There have always been debates on the correct and real meanings and definitions of intelligence.

Intelligence has various aspects and parts of its own. In a literal sense, intelligence is crafted and utilised in various ways and scenarios.

Human intelligence, Social intelligence, Emotion intelligence, Artificial Intelligence etc. are the terms that deal with various scenarios of intelligence.

The difference in views of individuals come from ideological preferences that affect the aspects of intelligence. The concept of morality is not its part as intelligence can be progressive as well as regressive at the same time.

Someone intelligent focuses on the ups as well as downsides to gaining knowledge.


What is Wisdom?

Wisdom is an aspect of knowledge which is the ability to gain knowledge about information and facts and act according to it in real-life situations. Unbiased thinking, empathy, ethics, compassion and non-attachment are the main attributes of wisdom.

Just like intelligence, even wisdom has a vast set of meanings and definitions. The main idea of wisdom revolves around gaining and applying knowledge in a benevolent and empathetic manner.

Moreover, wisdom has a thing in it to reveal the outcomes in several different cases.

Earlier, wisdom was considered a godly virtue. The ancient Greeks associated wisdom with their gods and goddesses.

They believed that wisdom is deeper than just gaining knowledge. Even the Romans had the same idea about wisdom.

Wisdom had an important place within Christianity too.

Wisdom is achieved over a long period of experiences. It focuses mainly on the spiritual and religious aspects of knowledge in one’s life.

Everyone’s life differs in a way or the other. People have varying experiences within their lifetime, which speaks about their wisdom.

Self-direction is the basis of wisdom. Personal growth is one important term that relates to it. Wisdom is always progressive and acted according to values and morality.

Someone wise understands situations well and has a precious stand in the human world.


Main Differences Between Intelligence and Wisdom

  1. Intelligence needs a basic level of understanding, while wisdom needs a complex level of understanding.
  2. Intelligence deals with instant knowledge; wisdom deals with longer experiences.
  3. Wisdom is time-taking, intelligence is not.
  4. Wisdom is deeper and wider as compared to intelligence.
  5. Competitiveness and learning are the traits of intelligence. Empathy and compassion are the traits of wisdom.
Difference Between Intelligence and Wisdom


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2012-27019-007
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20014008
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