Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Intelligence, and its narrowly defined spectrum

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about intelligence? Einstein, his theory of relativity, maybe a person who won a Nobel prize in literature?
People's views on intelligence are very narrow. When asked who the smartest person who ever lived would be, most people would say Albert Einstein, or something along those lines. Newton, Euclid or whoever. The people I mentioned helped humanity and progressed civilisation in an unprecedented way, yes. But..that's a very narrow sense of identifying intelligence to me. There seems to be the convention of : Intelligence is always related to academia, people who always read books and wear glasses. Sure, that's ONE aspect of intelligence. What about other aspects of it? Like dancing. Or being funny. A musician . Why do most people use the word "intelligent" when books are involved?
The people that are most associated with being smart, scientists and numberphiles are one of the many aspects of the human intellect.

When a girl who was being fidgety at school and couldn't keep still for a moment was sent to the principle's office, he could have sent her to the school psychiatrist and have her labeled "a typical case of ADD" or , having an educated guess, could tell her mother to enroll her to a dance school, because she was born a dancer.
How many geniuses have we never seen at work because of wrong circumstances? That little girl who would have probably be told to "calm down" is now probably on Broadway, making millions of people happy with her natural gift. A physical intelligence, but one nonetheless.
The human definition of genius is so narrow that it's no wonder so few actually qualify for it, even if the word is thrown about so often these days. Like a plant that requires a very specific altitude and climate to fully grow, the human mind is also very susceptible to the era and climate it was born and brought up in.
The most famous people who have been called a genius have been called so because they were geniuses in a very specific way , in a very specific system. It is therefore very hard to meet those criteria when they are so finely tuned .
After all, you have to be IN the system, to be called that by someone. But to me the smartest person alive is probably someone in a remote place in a country like Moldova , who has never felt the urge to fit in any sort of label of intelligence that was very narrowly defined by others.
I think that true genius is undefinable by a title. It takes very specific talents to be a unanimously called genius in a world of very specific needs. True genius does not adhere to rules .
True genius adheres more to the idea of Punk than any other ideology out there.
The idea of being outside of the system.
Yes, Einstein changed the world, and Mozart and all those people did . But they didn't mean to. They just happened to be born in a specific socioeconomic environment and finely tuned by predetermined factors to become who they would eventually become.
The fact that they were so influential was due to them being in a system while also changing it in terms of going further than anyone ever before them did.
To me human intelligence has so many more ways of expressing itself other than academia. Just like the word artist can be used to describe a comedian, intelligence should be broadened and used in a multutude of other fields. It can come in many forms, as many as the human talents available in the palette.

It can come in the form of socially accepted criteria, and be universally identified as such, but it can also flourish without the need to be acknowledged by anyone. A flower in a basement flourishes just like a flower in front of the most widely visited baroque garden in Europe. It doesn't care, it doesn't need to be acknowledged by anyone. But it blooms all the same.