Many Types and Lines of Intelligence - why you are smarter than you know
Sep 24, 2021
What is intelligence? How do you know how smart you are?
'Multiple intelligences' (concept developed by Howard Gardner) or 'lines of development' (Ken Wilber) refer generally to how we understand, appreciate, value, organise and utilise knowledge and experience in our own unique ways. Our culture tends tot favour and praise very limited lines, especially those traditionally associated with academia.
Thankfully, society is moving forward with a more enlightened approach to other ways of knowing, doing and being. So what if... you are much smarter, much more capable than you ever thought?
(hint... you are!)
Here are some guidelines to get you pondering on wider and deeper levels about your own talents and also to perhaps spot areas to work on to help overcome hurdles too. I'm listing all I can identify, not what I personally propose to have any ontological 'truth' per se.
I have alphabetised them as I believe that they all have potential equal merit - and it's important to move away from the odd cultural assumptions we live amidst that some are somehow 'better' than others. My explanation for each is by no means factual or concrete - it's just a guide based on a rough consensus of different schools of philosophy and my own intuitive understanding. Please do amend, add and adjust what I have offered.
Intelligences tend to involve the following abilities or skills of understanding: recognising, identifying, systematising and utilising. A kind of 'sensitivity to the values of...'
🖼 Aesthetic: values of beauty and taste.
e.g. You may be naturally good with art and craft.
🧠 Cognitive: thinking itself, acquiring knowledge, sorting information and interpretation.
e.g. You may be naturally good with philosophy, science, invention, creating stories
💋 Affective: values of emotion and feelings of self and others
e.g. You may be naturally good with children, vulnerable and those in need.
👩🏫 Ethical/moral: values of 'right and wrong' behaviour
e.g. You may be naturally good with the legal system, education and community leadership
🧚♂️ Existential: values of searching the 'big questions' about existence
e.g. You may be naturally good with thought leadership, personal development
🙋♂️ Interpersonal: values of human moods, intentions, motivations, desires and avoidances.
e.g. You may be naturally good with psychotherapy, counselling, HR, PR, teaching or sales
🔮 Intrapersonal: values of self-awareness, self-regulation, self-development.
e.g. You may be naturally good with entrepreneurship, expressive arts, spiritual life and therapies
🏈 Kinesthetic: awareness and understanding of physical nature of the body, it's sensations and relationship to itself (proprioception)
e.g. You may be naturally good with sports, performance art, ergonomics, fashion design, nutrition and food
✍️ Linguistic: values of spoken, written and communicable symbols of shared information
e.g. You may be naturally good with writing, speaking, curating, debating, PR, sales
↔️ Logical-mathematical: values of numerical patterns and associations and concrete rules such as 'if X then Y'.
e.g. You may be naturally good with the 'hard sciences', accountancy, IT
🎻 Musical: values of harmony, scale, melody, rhythm and timbre. Ability to perform and agent sound accordingly.
e.g. You may be naturally good with writing and plying music, mixing music and creating soundscapes.
🌿 Naturalist: values of the natural world of environment, flora and fauna and how they interact.
e.g. You may be naturally good with weather, zoology, gardening and botany, astronomy and ecology.
🏗 Spatial: internalised values of external shapes and forms and their changing orientations.
e.g. You may be naturally good with graphic design, sports, navigation and designing buildings and construction.
🪐 Spiritual: values of self-awareness, inter-connectedness with larger reality, growth, transformation and/or transcendence.
e.g. You may be naturally good with plants and animals, transpersonal healing or inspirational writing.🙋♂️
...and potentially many more...
As you can see, there are MANY different kinds of intelligence and we each have a unique kind of ‘intelligence fingerprint’. For example one person might be high on cognitive intelligence and high on aesthetic but lower on emotional. Another might be pretty level across them all. Someone can be an absolute genius on one e.g. spirituality and pretty much undeveloped in others and absent in say moral intelligence… it’s really fascinating to ponder… This is how some philosophers (like Ken Wilber) say that someone can paradoxically be a “spiritual asshole” or “enlightened Nazi” !!
- How many types can you think of?
- Where do you excel?
- Where might you want to put some attention?
- How does this idea make you feel?
- Can you get excited about newly found opportunity?
There’s no exact fact of ‘what’ and how we might ‘measure’ such things as types or lines of intelligence with any hard 100% concrete agreed upon accuracy, but that doesn't actually matter. What does matter is in recognising the variety of human expression can helps us grow and feel empowers to explore new ideas.
Now let's combine them, let's play and see how creative we can be...
We all have a spectrum of intelligence that makes our unique talents, traits and challenges. We may We can also work any one we like and improve a perfect blend to help us achieve a goal, e.g. pairing spatial awareness with aesthetic will give us a perfect toolkit for graphic design that is appealing as art and functional.
Imagine the following scenarios:|
- You want to improve your artistic skills, say painting... but you feel like you totally suck at it and your 2nd year art teacher confirmed this (and you wont let that go).
Choice: Stay stuck in this 'I suck mindset'... or examine your lines of development (intelligence types) for a shake up and start practicing activities that will enhance your aesthetic (e.g. go to art gallery and look at 'great art' and wonder why), maybe also consider the spatial (play spatial games like Tetris or construction toys) and explore the affective emotional side by engaging with your own feelings about what my art is about.
- You might like to be a psychologist but the guidelines say you'll need to study statistics... and your maths is super crappola.
Choice: Don't apply and always wonder or.... do apply whilst engaging in up-levelling your logical/math line, maybe by playing with number games with your spouse, drawing our sacred geometry, building simple logic circuit boards (you can get these games for kids online!).
- Maybe you want to get close to nature but you are always getting stung by things or getting caught in the rain without a jacket/brolly/car...
Choice: Stay in and stay wanting or, look at how you can up your naturalism line AND your logic! Take to learning about weather patterns and animal behaviour, then observe the logical pattern of interaction between weather patterns and the animals' behaviour. Simple, right? Then begin to predict your need for attire and the presence or absence of certain species...
How might you now react to an ongoing issue or challenge in your life? How could you systematically up-level your life?
In the IF Crowd, we regularly design and plan out really fun personal and group activities for ourselves to do exactly this... to develop, to grow.