Posted by: johnhourihan | March 23, 2014

Intelligence vs power

On the question of which is more important: Power or intelligence, let me explain.
The Indian man who invented chess was a very intelligent man.
The leader of India at the time was a very difficult to please ruler.
But the leader was intrigued by the new game. He asked the inventor what he would like as a reward. The inventor asked that the leader give him one grain of rice, placed on the first square of the chess board. Then double it on the next square, and double that on the next square, and so on until all the squares are covered.
The leader was amused at the seemingly paltry request and agreed to pay the man.
When it became obvious that to double the amount on each square would result in the man being paid enough rice to build a hill of rice the size of Mount Everest, the leader realized the inventor was more intelligent than he the leader.
So he had him killed.
Which do you think is more important intelligence or power?



  1. Depends on what is important to you. I do know my 1% above average intelligences has brought me far more then any power I’ve ever had.

  2. Hmm. It does depend on a lot of things. Is the power to kill generally speaking more important than the ability to invent, understand, create, change etc. in general. Even in the specific analogy you give here, it is
    not really clear which is more important. If we could have power and intelligence working together, wouldn’t that be best?

    • power and intelligence usually don’t work together. That is why we have so many wars.

      • Ok what do you mean. More important to me or to the world in general? I’m INTELLIGENT enough not to play somebody powerful enough to have me killed!

  3. It is relative to need. Either can be wonderful, dangerous, or somewhere in between. Depending on it’s use.

  4. You would have my answer if you had asked wisdom / power… But even then, ghandi suffered for his wisdom, didn’t he?

  5. Neil, I mean that if intelligence were the stronger or the two, leaders would opt for peace over war, since in peace all the facets of our lives are in better shape. In war, everything is thrown into turmoil and wars have never solved the problems they set out to solve. But somehow we continue to want to show our power rather than our intelligence, so we continue to fight needless wars

    • OH. I get know.

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