Now! That is somewhat interesting!

The matter if intelligence always fascinated me, probably because I am not. Well, or at least I think I am not because I am in an environment where everybody is so much smarter than me. Put those guys into a group of Nobel Prize winners and they appear pretty dumb, though.

And see that is the thing: We ordinary mortals compare our levels of smartness to the people we are with. Scientist then go into their ivory towers and tell us that they found an absolute measure and this is the only way to figure out whether or not one is smart: Do a test, count the points and there you are, well or not! And because it is fun to openly humiliate people these tests are used in schools and TV shows. Britain is especially good in finding the smartest brain via television which usually has to do with spelling, maths, and the task of recognising things quickly and re-arranging them – and usually I am feeling like crap afterwards.

So why am I coping well in an environment with loads of smart people without feeling dumb all the time – I work as a secretary in an research lab – while when watching the telly and getting asked all those questions my mood is sinking rock bottom?

I now figured it out! And that is why I find this subject somewhat interesting.

The scientists got it wrong, and because they got it wrong for a long time, their ways of handling the matter have entered the mainstream so much that it is hard to get it removed from it. See, in order to measure something you have to define it first - and you have to define the scale you want to measure with. So, if you wanted to have people measuring up sugar you have to make sure that everybody knows how sugar looks like.

Now, there is normal sugar and the brown one and then we have Caster sugar which is a bit finer and then we have Icing sugar which is entirely powdery. If your recipe works on grams you are fine to use a scale. But what happens if your recipe is in gram and you are using a measuring cup? A scale measures weight, and a cup measures volume. If you put a cup full of coarse sugar on a scale it weighs something different then a cup full of icing sugar because between the grains of the coarse sugar there is actually no sugar but air - which doesn't weigh a thing, while the icing sugar is packed much denser and hence you have more sugar in it.

It is a difficult matter isn’t it. When you do your baking you intuitively do the right thing because you have a feeling for it, you already did it a few times and you just know what is right. But try to explain it to somebody else, and then try to write it down for all the rest of the people who you can’t talk to in person. This becomes quite a task, and we are only talking about sugar, something you can see and touch.

And now imagine somebody would tell you: I am about to explain how to measure ‘Intelligence’, Yay!

This person must be bonkers. You can’t touch it, you can’t see it, what the hell is intelligence anyway?

See, and that is where they got it wrong. They didn’t define it right. They thought intelligence is all that stuff like maths and so on; scientists call it abstract thinking. Take trees! Trees are fine, trees are real. I have no problem with counting trees. The number ‘1’ is not fine, nor is the number ‘2’ – don’t laugh, I am trying to be serious here – these numbers represent something else, but the ARE NOT the 'something else'. They are a thin, weirdly bent line on paper. 1+2 is something we can handle because we learned it and if you would add the word apples it even would makes sense, I’d love to have three apples.

But what about?

That doesn’t mean anything to me and never will. Although the bits and pieces surely do represent some real thing, but it is ‘abstract’, it doesn’t look like the real thing at all.

And it is all that stuff that scientists thought is what makes people intelligent. There was one big hiccup with the scientific world in regard to brain related stuff: Instead of trying to figure out what makes people tick the scientists relied on and concluded from their own individual experience and their own skill set. So a mathematicians would measure with maths, while linguists might use word games kind of things and they would hence build a very different theory about the same question, in this case: What is intelligence and how to measure it.

And now it turns out: It’s all not true. Already in the 1970s and 1980s there were a few really smart guys proposing a different definition for intelligence. One of them is Howard Gardner and he suggested a multi intelligence model defining seven different kinds of intelligence in people. This definition looks into the different ways people use to approach the world they live in and how they solve problems. These seven are:

  • Linguistic – using words
  • Logical/mathematical – using abstract things
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic – love to move about
  • Spatial – translate everything into pictures
  • Musical – love music
  • Interpersonal – like to communicate with others
  • Intrapersonal – may be shy, but very aware of own feelings and self motivated

That already makes a lot more sense. I for example quite like to listen to music, but it is not my way of approaching the world, and although I like writing, words are not my most intuitive way into the world. I am using writing at a later stage of problem solving, but the very first thing that happens when I hear or read something is to translate it into some sort of imagery or colour. It happens automatically, so I am definitely a ‘Spatial’ person. Additionally I am an Interpersonal gal and my Intrapersonal skills are not to bad either

And now I saw a documentary on the telly about all the new computer stuff and what the future will bring and what sort of robots they are already able to build…

... Robots?!?

… robots are important! They are important because they are mimicking human behaviour. The better they get the more scientists actually understand what makes humans tick. And it is incredible what modern robots can already do. They work on a very emotional level, the address cuteness, helpfulness, pity, love and many more things which we don’t usually associate with robots. In this BBC4 documentary on 'The Intelligence Revolution' Dr. Michio Kaku said the one phrase which inspired me to write all this. He said:

Emotional intelligence is the most important form of intelligence we have!


Emotional intelligence? Isn’t emotion the resort of hysteric women? Isn’t that the thing that is to be excluded from the business world? Isn’t that the one thing we have to exclude from science to be able to take reasonable decisions? And all of a sudden it is the most important thing we have?

Emotional Intelligence became fashionable when Daniel Goleman published a book in 1995, and I remember that my father-in-law used to tell me about it when I was all too self-conscious about the fact that I was crap at university and that I was about to fail again - did I tell you that my subject was computer science? Me of all people, and computer science... Whenever I was low I tried to promote this idea of emotional intelligence, which nobody else in the world seemed to know about, and I again looked a bit of an idiot who just wanted to excuse another failure.

Well, time has apparently worked for me and 14 years on it is considered the most important type of intelligence there is. And I am guessing the reason for me being so comfortable in a world full of these IT researchers is that I can solve problems easily which they can’t. I might not be able to build a rocket, but there are a whole lot of things I can do better than these conventionally smart guys – and I am the only one there, I am invaluable!

Yay! I like this theory!

See, THIS I just find very interesting. This is something we ladies usually are intuitively good at. This is something we should ADD to the business and science world, rather then copying the boffins and suppressing this wonderful skill.

Off you go girls!
This century could be the era of the ladies!

Rika's Column

Food Personalities
My Choice - My Challenge
Back to the roots
Iron Ladies
Keeping the Romance
Not old yet
Travelling Skills
Winter Blues
X-mas Perfection
Column Talk
Moaners and Whiners
My very own sun
Nudism VS. Fur
Ballet for Adults
About Women
Confidence & Humour
Location, Location
Going Cat Bonkers
How To Be Funny
Three Cheers to USG
To Lent or Not To Lent
Let's complain a bit
Sport & Food - Choices
Tweeting Like a Bird
How to Train a Husband
Dangerous Romance
Excuses! Excuses?
Seats with Needs
Present, Past, Future
Cheese & Computers
Games! Games?
Rabit, Death and ...
Never Enough
How I not got published
Going stingy … eh, thrifty
Asian vs. Caucasian
Panic,Paranoia & Politics
Pictures, Roofs & Paranoia
On the Slush Pile
Cattle Trek
Fraudster & CS
He's so sweet!
Names ...
Am I too spoilt?
Homage to Mukuefchen
Buying a Car
Food Shopping
Oh No, not again!
Wrongly Wired
IAPU (farce)
How Embarrassing
Homage to Monica
I'm on Strike
Humble Pie
We Had It All

What's the worst...?
Creams and Ointments

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Copyright 2007
Author: Rika