Mensa is an organization whose members have an IQ of 140 or higher. A few years ago, there was a Mensa convention in San Francisco, and several members lunched at a local cafe. While dining, they discovered that their saltshaker contained pepper and their peppershaker was full of salt. How could they swap the contents of the bottles without spilling, and using only the implements at hand? Clearly this was a job for Mensa! The group debated and presented ideas, and finally came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw, and an empty saucer. They called the waitress over to dazzle her with their solution.
“Ma’am”, they said, “we couldn’t help but notice that the peppershaker contains salt and the saltshaker….”
“Oh”, the waitress interrupted, “Sorry about that”. She unscrewed the caps of both bottles and switched them.
We live in a world, like the Greek culture of the first century, which prides itself on being “wise”. We have achieved so much in the area of technology. We’ve set up a space station that orbits the earth. We’ve visited the moon. We’ve taken close-up pictures of Mars. We feel confident that we are able to figure out the answer to almost every problem that is presented to us if we work on it long enough. And yet, like the Greek culture of the first century, our own culture which takes such pride in its own wisdom – seems unable to understand that which is truly wise. Solving the great problem of mankind doesn’t involve eliminating poverty, preventing global warning, or even making world peace possible.