When I was a kid, my parents used to talk about my brother as – ‘The brains of the family’. Okay, so he did better than me at school and went on to college and obtained a degree in mixing cement, or something like that.
Okay so he’s a Quantity Surveyor with a string of letters after his name and I’m not bitter….!
So what is this “brains” bit and intelligence? What does it mean and why is it so valued.
I was really interested in the studies of Howard Gardener, a psychologist at Harvard University. Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences states that – ‘Not only do human beings have many different ways to learn and process information, but that these are independent of each other; leading to multiple intelligences as opposed to a general intelligence among correlated abilities.’ (I copied this bit from Wikipedia; I’m not intelligent enough to write this stuff!)
In 1999 Gardner listed seven intelligences:
Linguistic intelligence. This concerns language and how we use it. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence. (This might just be me)
Logical-mathematical intelligence. This is associated with calculation and logical reasoning. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking. (Not me; I haven’t a clue)
Musical intelligence. To do with musical appreciation as well as performing and composing music. (Does being a Michael Jackson fan count?)
Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence. Associated with physical skills like sport, dancing and other aspects of movement. (Yup; that’s me again. You should see me dancing)
Spatial intelligence. To do with art and design, as well as finding your way around (I’d like to claim a little bit of that)
Interpersonal intelligence. To with interacting with people socially and sensitively. It’s concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence. (That’s me; loved by millions)
Intrapersonal intelligence. To do with understanding yourself, to appreciate your feelings, fears, motivations and abilities. (I don’t want to go there)
So the next time someone tells you about a so called intelligent person, ask what they know about design, or the ability to deal with other people, or what musical instrument do they play, or can they fix that scary noise in your car engine?
Always remember that you have qualities and skills that other people do not have and you should be proud of these and believe in yourself.
When you look at this list, you may realise that you are much more intelligent than you think.
And to quote my friend Mr Degas:
There is no such thing as Intelligence; one has intelligence of this or that. One must have intelligence only for what one is doing – Edgar Degas
Let me know what you think.