by onacruse 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • onacruse

    This matter has been brought up for discussion here many times before, but for certain reasons I ask that you will patiently bear with me as I bring it up yet again.

    What constitutes intelligence? Is it (among many possibilities):

    1) The mere accumulation of knowledge...factual information?

    2) The ability to collate that knowledge into a truly functional interaction with our environment?

    3) The capacity to change ourselves, in accord with what we have "learned,"...even if the information we have gathered goes totally against our grain.

    Why I ask this is: It seems that many who others might consider the "smartest" people are socially the most inept, and many who would present themselves as the "smartest" are, in fact, unable to even do so simple a thing as connect dot A with dot B, and that others are simply very adept at putting words together (scored high on the SAT).

    For myself, I tend toward option 3.


  • Elsewhere
    What constitutes intelligence?

    The ability to adapt to one's environment.

  • Siddhashunyata

    Direct perception of what is. Free of conditioning. There is only one intelligence. Knowledge is time related. Intelligence is timeless perception. There are no problems to solve, just action guided by timeless perception. Thinking is a tool with limitations because it relies on knowledge. Intelligence is something entirely different. It is direct understanding as though all things were language. Language without language so to speak.

  • Been there
    Been there

    I think a person has a much better chance of survival if they are street smart over book smart.

  • mama

    I think it is a combo of all three to be truely intelligent. If you have knowledge and don't know how to use it to interact in your world, what's the use? If you have no knowledge, how can you make informed decisions? If you don't use what knowledge whether academic or experience that you possess, then, how can you change to better yourself and adapt to your world? I had to laugh at the smartest people being socially inept because having to brothers with very high i.q.'s and little social skills, i see your point, however, i don't believe all of us are meant to master all areas of intelligence. I think history makes that pretty apparent. Some minds are built for great academic feats, like Einstein etc. Some for great humanitarian feats, like Mother Theresa. Intelligence is very individual and therefore difficult to decide. Some of the most intelligent people i have ever met have very little formal education but an innate ability to percieve and mold the knowledge that they do possess. I could never discuss quantum physics, but i consider myself intelligent. Am i wrong? Who cares. It's all relative anyway.

  • jgnat

    I think the problem is that intelligence is not enough. I think even Solomon observed that the wisest amongst us can be socially ostrasized to die poor and ignored. Heaven knows our world leaders desperately need intelligent people supporting them. But it is not necessarily the wisest who rise to the top, but the most politically astute.

    Maybe because so many in my family are mentally ill. Or my interest in learning disabilities. But I have seen up-close-and-personal what happens when a key component to intelligence is missing. I have some genius-level relatives whose imbalanced magnificent minds have incapacitated them. No balance. Plus they are rude. No time for ordinary folks.

    A mind is part hard-wired, part made. If a young child is not exposed to a fully-functioning language before they are four, they are handicapped for life. So I think the ability to manipulate language is essential to intelligence. Language gives us self-talk, allows us to rearrange events before they happen, and consider the outcomes.

    I know that my mind is highly indexed. If the information is easily accessible elsewhere, I don't bother retaining that information. Call it a "lazy mind". My hubby, on the other hand, has no internal map. He relies entirely on his prodigious memory to function. He has to work hard to get information to work for him.

    Yes, we have a few empirical measures of intelligence, but just because we can't measure some of the things the mind does, does not mean that they are not essential, such as social intelligence. The ability to read people's behavior and deduce what motivates them.

    So, we are in a pickle. Yes, flexibility is important, but so is balance. We are necessarily forced in to an artificial structure (language) that forever limits our perceptions. I know that my ability to map concepts in to a cohesive matrix is very useful for managing complex problems, but without some sense of social awareness, my discoveries die with me.

    To build the perfect mind, I think, is not an either-or, black and white, right or left brain decision. We are a complex mix, and any overbalance of any single component can render the intelligence useless.

  • ballistic

    It depends on your point of view. From the perspective of the "selfish gene" I guess it would be those who procreate the most, typically in the UK, poorer classes who have 10 - 12 children all funded by the state.

  • Amazing1914


    Einstein was not able to balance a check book, yet he was a wizard at physics and advanced math.

    Intelligence: Anyone who can do more than breathe, eat, drink, scratch their ass, pick their nose, fart, poop, and pee.

    Levels of intelligence: That is a topic for another time.

  • nicolaou
    Intelligence: Anyone who can do more than breathe, eat, drink, scratch their ass, pick their nose, fart, poop, and pee.

    I'm a gonner..

  • minimus

    Everything you said, Ona.

Share this