Questioner: What is intelligence?
Krishnamurti: Let us go into the question very slowly, patiently, and find out. To find out is not to come to a conclusion. I don’t know if you see the difference. The moment you come to a conclusion as to what intelligence is, you cease to be intelligent. That is what most of the older people have done: they have come to conclusions. Therefore they have ceased to be intelligent. So you have found out one thing right off: that an intelligent mind is one which is constantly learning, never concluding.
What is intelligence? Most people are satisfied with a definition of what intelligence is. Either they say, “That is a good explanation”, or they prefer their own explanation; and a mind that is satisfied with an explanation is very superficial, therefore it is not intelligent.
You have begun to see that an intelligent mind is a mind which is not satisfied with explanations, with conclusions; nor is it a mind that believes, because belief is again another form of conclusion. An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind, a mind that is watching, learning, studying. Which means what? That there is intelligence only when there is no fear, when you are willing to rebel, to go against the whole social structure in order to find out what God is, or to discover the truth of anything.
Intelligence is not knowledge. If you could read all the books in the world it would not give you intelligence. Intelligence is something very subtle; it has no anchorage. it comes into being only when you understand the total process of the mind – not the mind according to some philosopher or teacher, but your own mind. Your mind is the result of all humanity, and when you understand it you don’t have to study a single book, because the mind contains the whole knowledge of the past. So intelligence comes into being with the understanding of yourself; and you can understand yourself only in relation to the world of people, things and ideas. Intelligence is not something that you can acquire, like learning; it arises with great revolt, that is, when there is no fear – which means, really, when there is a sense of love. For when there is no fear, there is love.
If you are only interested in explanations, I am afraid you will feel that I have not answered your question. To ask what is intelligence is like asking what is life. Life is study, play, sex, work, quarrel, envy, ambition, love, beauty, truth – life is everything, is it not? But you see, most of us have not the patience earnestly and consistently to pursue this inquiry.”
Excerpt from “Think of these things ” Part 1. The matter of culture. Chapter 2.
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti.