An intelligent article? Perhaps!

What is intelligence? Does anybody really know? It seems a unique characteristic of life. To me, intelligence is an intrinsic quality of any form of life that makes that life what it is. All life has the intelligence to maintain its life function, whatever that may be. An apple tree may not have consciousness, but it has the gifted know-how to produce apples. The spider spins its web, presumably with no idea of what it is doing. Surely you don’t believe it has planned it all out with its own illuminated brain.

They do it the same way you digest your supper. Your brain has been programmed to take care of that for you, as it has for all creatures. No life could ever maintain itself, completely by itself, whether that life is moss on a rock, or an animal. It seems that all subhuman life is programmed to be just what it is, with little if any ability to grasp anything more than what it was created for. We humans are different. Do you suppose we were created for more than we have yet accomplished?

But where does intelligence come from, and what is it? We would define it as a kind of know-how. It is actually the main difference between a stone and any living thing. Intelligence enables life. When a living creature loses its intelligence, which enables it to function, it loses its life. Intelligence is life! Intelligence is the essence that brings life where there was only desolation! To despise intelligence, or education, is to despise life itself.

There are many things that we as people, the most intelligent creatures on Earth, take for granted. We Americans have become drunk with the idea that we have freedom. We think this allows us to be or think any way we wish. The problem is that there is reality, and there is imagination. We use our imagination to pursue reality, or unreality, and the blessing or curse, of reaping or suffering, the results of whatever we choose. I suppose that helps to develop our intelligence in the right direction.

Mortal life is fraught with insecurity. Consequently we seek control for our lives. The more control we have the more we feel safe and secure. Unfortunately the more control we gain, the more we have the ability to subdue those who disagree with us. For example: Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and Ivan the Terrible to name but a few. We can become saints or Satans. The sad thing is that controlling people has never increased security more than briefly. Our security is not found in our control. It is found in the same place for us as for any other creature in existence. That is in our obedience to the laws that govern us. I am referring to the inviolate laws of nature, and God.

Atheists decry the Ten Commandments because they were supposed to be given to us from God, and they claim to not believe in God. But surely they don’t believe it is proper to shame one’s parents, to kill, steal, covet etc. Are they decrying some of the most pertinent qualities and rules of human life simply because they don’t believe in its supposed source? The truth is the truth, even if your bitter enemy believes it. Let’s get real.

Intelligence brings knowledge and gives man power to control. The more control he has, the more likely he is to shun any superior. As he gains more control, he becomes more likely to be his own God. That seems like many in today’s world.

As I look back upon my life, the more I attempted to control things, the less control I actually had. The best things that ever happened to me, and there were many, happened in circumstances where I had no predilection or control. They came out of the blue, completely unexpected, and unconsidered, without any plan, suspicion, or effort on my part. I thank God, and may He bless America.

Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to