Intelligence and the Practical Application of Integrity

I don’t believe intelligence is about how much knowledge you have, or how you acquired the knowledge. Intelligence is the capacity to acquire, process, and employ knowledge, in a manner consistent with the integrity of that knowledge.

The construct of thought can seem complicated, and in the best cases it is.

What might that look like with context, however, to appear simpler to understand? Consider the contrast of thoughtfulness between these two individuals of equal responsibility to an oath, or the integrity of their actions — all borne from intelligence.

Joe Biden, a graduate of Syracuse law, and President of the United States, had the world’s information accessible to him 24/7/365. Yet his actions with Kabul were nothing less than disaster. Dozens of Americans and hundreds of Afghans and were either killed, maimed, or left behind.

Rex Sappenfield, a Marine combat veteran (Helmand Province) and now high school English teacher managed to team up and rescues 69 people from Afghanistan, from his Virginia living room.

Some may argue the difference between the two is not a matter of intelligence, but rather a matter of motive or character. But, that is the final act of intelligence, as I started with. Intelligence is acknowledged when you apply the integrity of one’s knowledge.

Some may move the goalposts to find a presumptive error in logic, or the appearance of conflicting context. How can one praise getting Afghans out, but otherwise object to the scattering these afghans all over the country. Some may call that cognitive dissonance.

Maybe if one conflates context and omits motive — or the integrity of the knowledge. The effect of it to a thoughtful cause. That isn’t the case in this comparison of intelligence. One is an example of taking accountability. The other is an example of avoiding or transferring accountability — or the neglect of intelligence. It is that simple.

That is the construct of mindful intelligence by example of practical application.

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