"Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points." ~D.T. Suzuki

Monday, July 16, 2012

Multi-colored Smarties

Is Intelligence Colorblind?
Come in Many Colors

So, What's Your Favorite Color?

Why does the candy colored shell make a such difference to us? They're all the same chocolate on the inside. Right? I wonder about that.

What is the difference between intelligence and genius? We talk of musical genius, math genius, cooking genius, marketing genius, leadership genius. Are these different kinds of geniuses that we recognize yet all have the same intelligence on the inside? Can I take an accounting genius and teach him to play cello like a virtuoso? Even with the best training...Not so sure about that.

How did intelligence emerge in hominids? A big question in evolutionary anthropology. I started out long ago wondering how we can recognize or measure the level of intelligence and abstract thought particularly in Neanderthals compared with ourselves. By recognizing it in them and ourselves, hopefully there would be insights on its development. My hunch and the evidence I saw from my digs and research had always been that Neanderthals were getting a bum rap on intelligence. New evidence is now supports this view. (A post on Neaderthals is in the works.)

This information can in turn help us in finding and developing the hidden genius within all of us. It couldn't hurt... our education system and business culture is still in the 19th century and we are are in the 21st. We should know more about ourselves.

Of course, we have always turned to formal standardized testing and I.Q.s for this. I've done those tests and yes I did well but I always felt they were missing something vital. In my studies of human evolution I have of course researched our marvelous adaptation, the brain. We ignore qualitative differences because they are hard to measure. But that doesn't mean they don't exist!

Got a lot g, got a lot of success

I.Q. seems very inadequate to evaluate qualitative differences. Does success correlate with IQ only because those are exactly the attributes and qualities the society values and rewards? Are the tests and the testers "colorblind" because of that? Should all smarties, just to be honest, be brown? My intuition suspects that Western traditional values, may be behind this narrow view of intelligence. It is certainly the orthodox view in Psychology. The consensus there claims there is a core of mental competencies, called g.

My question is, is g, a boxed-in definition that is blinkered to other varieties? Or tongue in cheek, let's say colorblind to that which is not defined by those values. By an arbitrary cognitive performance standard? I refer back to Einstein whose insight was to see that all humans have remarkable gifts. Not the lest of which is making sense of the world and being able to express it. What, then, is intelligence really? Is it the ability to experience and make use of the world? Couldn't that be done in more than one way? Have we even been (mis-)measuring what we think we're measuring? Several critics, such as Stephen Jay Gould, have been critical of g, seeing it as a statistical artifact, and that IQ tests instead measure a number of unrelated abilities.
What's so special about "smarties"?

Sir Ken Robinson on Education & Creativity

"Intellectuals solve problems,
Geniuses prevent them."
Albert Einstein

Intelligence derives from the Latin verb intelligere which derives from inter-legere meaning to "pick out" or discern. A form of this verb, intellectus, became the medieval technical term for understanding, and a translation for the Greek philosophical term nous.

Homo sapiens
Our species Homo sapiens gets its name from the Greek, combining form of homós one and the same; akin to Sanskrit sama-; see same and Sapiens (or Sapient) "wise," from O.Fr. sapient, from L. sapientem (nom. sapiens), prp. of sapere "to taste, have taste, be wise," from PIE base *sep- "to taste, perceive" (cf. O.S. an-sebban "to perceive, remark," O.H.G. antseffen, O.E. sefa "mind, understanding, insight"). Sapience "wisdom, understanding" is recorded from c.1300 AD.

Knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. (dictionary.reference.com)

Our culture has placed a great deal of focus and energy on knowledge itself and intelligence.Yet, although our species is called wise... very little attention has been paid to wisdom.
What, then, are we talking about when we talk about intelligence? Let alone what it is when we are measuring it. Is the clinical definition too narrow. Is taking it beyond the traditional definitions broadening it too much? Is g really the chocolate? The only g in genius?  It may be fun and enlightening to explore this.
Howard Gardener

Could there be a wide range of cognitive abilities? With only very weak correlations between them? This is what Gardner's theory suggests. For example, a child who has more difficulty learning to multiply is not necessarily generally less intelligent than a child who has more ease on this task.

The theory explains that the child taking more time:

1) may best learn through a different approach,
2) may excel in a field outside of mathematics
3) may be looking at an understanding of the multiplication process at a fundamentally deeper level, or even as an entirely different process.

These differences in learning can be perceived as "slowness" (As was said of Einstein). Yet a potentially greater mathematical genius may be hidden. The child who quickly memorizes the multiplication table is a child who quickly memories the multiplication table. This "bright" child may also have a less detailed understanding of the process of multiplication.

To date, the theory has been met with mixed responses. It probably deserves more attention.
There's How Many Kinds?

We have already
 expanded the view of intelligence,
as seen by the now familiar list below:

Emotional Intelligence
Being aware of your own feelings and those of others, regulating these feelings in yourself and others, using emotions that are appropriate to the situation, self-motivation, and building relationships.

Moral Intelligence
Integrity, responsibility, sympathy and forgiveness.

Body Intelligence
Your body intelligence largely determines your feelings, thoughts, self-confidence, state of mind, and energy level.

I find that all of these, Emotional, Moral and Body Intelligence are all equally important. And more so, I think they are interrelated.

I also think perhaps we should value these, as well as other ways of knowing and start intelligently taking them more into account.

"If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class,
and personal computers might not have
the wonderful typography that they do.

Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college.
But it was very, very clear
looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots
will somehow connect in your future.

You have to trust in something --
your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
This approach has never let me down,
and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Steve Jobs
Creativity & Innovation
Is it worth the risk and waste?
Have we been misjudging millions of people?
The same way we have misjudged the introverts?
Those who are not the traditional "type A" extroverts
but who are nonetheless powerhouses
of great and wise leadership?
Sir Kenneth Robinson - Educating The Heart
Runtime: 48 minutes & worth it. 

A Finger Pointing At The Moon
Zen Again?
© 2012 MU-Peter Shimon

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