Philosophy @ Laguna

Students Noah Dehli ‘24 and Sage Holcombe ‘26 along with faculty members James Savage and Erik Faust answer thought-provoking questions.

Aden Meisel

Q: What is True Intelligence?

Faust: True intelligence is the ability to understand what is called for, to be able to bring what is called for to bear, and to know how to find the resources necessary to help you do what needs to be done. So it’s not necessarily just plain knowledge, especially since now we can find any information we want from a computer, knowing things is almost pointless. It is knowing when to act a certain way, how to act, and if one cannot act in that way, how to acquire the resources necessary for them to do so.

Savage: It’s got to be more comprehensive than just being book smart or having a photographic memory. When someone is labled ‘not smart’ in school, they are being set off to go about life genuinely believing that they are not intelligent or talented. However, I think true intelligence is the ability to best navigate your world and experience the best that you can.


Q: Is it better to be loved or feared? (From A Bronx Tale)

Faust: I’ve got to go with Michael Scott on this one: “I want them to fear how much they love me.”

Sage: This question is subjective, but in terms of power, fear is optimal. It can be easily incited and is a universal feeling that can change your morals and decisions. Fear can quickly spread and then be twisted to best benefit the feared. The human psyche is more attuned to listening to fear rather than desire, making fear the more controlling emotion and giving the feared more power over the afraid.


Q: Is there such thing as objective truth?

Noah: Our societal truths only translate as far as our perceptions allow them to; religious devotion was the modality of most life, until the scientific lens was applied to it. even in modern society, the lens applies in the opposite direction too, where the religious view expels certain scientific principles. The way we choose to interface with the world creates the objective truths that govern our society. if arcane wizardry is proven to work, science, because empirical proof is it’s modality, will integrate arcane wizardry into a scientific principle. we have so many scientific mysteries that we don’t have the answers to and don’t even know where to search for; what’s to say those mysteries aren’t analogous to religious miracles?

Sage: No, everything that is a “truth” is swayed by the person’s subjective ideas and opinions. There is nothing that is a universal truth; someone will always find a dispute the “answer.”