Mitt Romney: A Successful Executive, But Where is the Wisdom? – Part II

This is the second article of a series to discuss an important question, “does Mitt Romney have the wisdom to lead a country?”

In the previous article we briefly discussed the concept of wisdom. We discussed questions such as: What exactly is the meaning of wisdom? What is the underlying biological process? How does one acquire wisdom? Now we know that wisdom is nothing but a collection of patterns.

Reading the last article one might be mislead into thinking that a deficiency in wisdom can be compensated by intelligence. After all, is it not true that the patterns themselves are the result of intelligent thinking? If this is correct (and it certainly is) then, in theory, a highly intelligent man can come up with solutions to any problems that can be solved with wisdom.

This might be theoretically correct but is this practically true? Does this ever happen? Let us consider an example from history where one highly intelligent person came up with an important discovery “seemingly” relying on intelligence and ventured into a new field (thus no question of patterns)

There is a very popular story about how Newton discovered gravity. In a nutshell, Newton was sitting under an apple tree, saw an apple falling down and figured out the concept of gravity. One would think this is all intelligent reasoning there is no concept of pattern here? Wrong. There is a fascinating chain of discoveries that led to discovery of gravity. You will see that Newton (himself a giant) was standing on the shoulders of giants before him. He was using patterns discovered by his predecessors.

This is the real version of the story: Newton was sitting under an apple tree, there was moon in the sky, saw an apple falling down and figured out the concept of gravity.

How does moon in the sky make any difference?

For the sake of brevity, let us start with Copernicus (who was making use of discoveries before him). He discovered that the sun is at the center of the universe and all other planets revolve around the sun.

Galileo built upon Copernicus and discovered (among other things) the law of inertia. “A body moving on a level surface will continue in the same direction at constant speed unless disturbed.” In other words if you see something slowing down/speeding up or changing direction then there is external force acting on it.

If you throw a paper plane in the air and half way through the flight it changes course then you know that wind caused it to change direction. If you throw the same plane against the wind then it slows down.

Get it?

Newton

Moon in the sky, apple falling down and Newton (1643 – 1727) aware of the works of Galileo (1564 – 1642) and Copernicus (1473 – 1543).

Still don’t get it?

If the moon revolves around Earth and planets revolve around the sun instead of going straight then there must be an external force that is making them go round in circles. The same external force must be making the apple fall down.

This was the discovery of gravity.

As you can see, this discovery was the result of highly analytical thinking from right brain that built upon the patterns (a.k.a. wisdom) stored in the left brain.

In the next part let us look at Romney’s decision making to figure out whether he has the wisdom required to lead the country.