Why Do Highly Intelligent People Have a Harder Time Understanding Others in an Argument?

Michael Laitman
2 min readApr 16, 2024

One of my students recently asked me in relation to a statement by psychologist Jonathan Haidt, that the higher the level of a person’s intelligence, the greater their ability to argue for their beliefs, but it does not help them better understand the other side.

The question was: Why do smarter people have no greater ability to understand the other side of an argument?

It is because they are not taught how to improve their attitude to others. That is, they are each inside their own intellect, and are not taught that precisely through developing positive attitudes toward each other can they connect their opinions in ways that will help them rise to greater degrees. Therefore, people who learn a lot are in greater conflict with each other.

What, then, can help people better understand others?

It is that they rise above their own opinions and dress into other people, wishing to understand them intellectually and emotionally. Then, when they become included in others, they can return to themselves and understand how to combine these two poles together.

If we were to develop such attitudes to each other, then we would be on course to a positively-connected human society. People could hold onto their opinions and there would be no demand for anyone to change their opinions in order to suit anyone else’s. On the contrary, the multiplicity of opinions would elevate us to an even higher level of consciousness.

What we need to understand is that we achieve unity precisely above separation, and that our good future depends on the unity that we achieve. We would thus be wise to teach such an approach to the new generation, otherwise we can expect humanity to enter into increasingly unpleasant situations the more we head into the future.



Michael Laitman

PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.