Book smart vs. street smart
Would you prefer to be book smart or to be street smart? What are the pros and cons of each concept? And what is your current understanding of such concepts in Korea today?
The above questions have been controversial issues since 2007 in human communities from time to time without any clear-cut answers. It is a riddle-missing a piece of the puzzle that needs to be solved. We are still interested in pondering over such concepts despite the diverse realms of thoughts of different people, whether conservative or progressive.
We all know people who are book smart but clueless in the realistic world, while those who are street smart but unable to deal with any environment other than the one we are used to. Book smart could be best comprehended when we are at school. That is being able to succeed scholastically but not necessarily in the real world.
Street smart is able to handle the tangible life efficiently. That is about intelligence gained out of school, getting along with others based on experience.
Book smart involves wisdom on how to think wisely about the nature of the world and how to behave in certain atmosphere relying on general knowledge of how the world works. There are still some empty spaces that affect our lack of decisions in life.
On the other hand, the street smart considers the ability of adaptation to different situations that we encounter to achieve a certain productive end aiming at the instinct for the betterment of our lives. In the process of implementation, there follows a lot of trial and error in our lively circumstances.
Regrettably in Korea, the misguided book smart youth have been increasing drastically for several decades deeply influenced by teachers belonging to the Korean Teachers and Educational Worker’s Union (KTU). The unionized teachers have infused intentionally-distorted untrue Korean history in favor of pro-North Korea and anti-America, plus left-wing notions into sensitive young students.
After brain-washed learning and upon being engaged in various brackets of social assignments, many of them have become misguided street smart leaders. They are apt to misuse their own discretion in the wrong but prejudiced direction for the sake of private wants and personal obstinacy only on the hypocritical pretext of exercising public need and performing official tasks.
Irrespective of book smart or street smart, strong distorted emotions excel among those useful-idiot intellectuals in our surroundings. They include clergymen, professors, prosecutors, judges, military personnel, policemen, lawyers, social workers and, of course, politicians. Abuse of power and negligence of common sense are key obstacles in this emerging Korean society.
Usually people considered to be book smart are known as lacking in street smarts, and vice versa, as theory and practice both have limitations. To drive a desirable development forward, it is quite possible for anyone to be both. Many people naturally possess both forms.
Others begin with one and need to make an effort to add to the other. Book smart people might need to put down the books and theory, to gain profound experimental knowledge. Street smart people might need to stop living in the moment and go to the library.
Being book smart is definitely as important as being street smart. Can anyone reach a satisfactory compromise between both book and street smart? Certainly, a person needs to find the optimized checks and balances of the two through an adequate mixture.
Learning and doing (theory and practice) should work together to achieve complementary consequences. Both of them have specialty and morality in meeting the betterment of future life. Like the two sides of a coin, one completes and supports another on the firm ground of value-creating coordination and cooperation.
The writer is an outside director of KunWha Pharmaceutical Co. in Seoul. His e-mail address is email@example.com.