The Four Intelligences By Harry J.

Chong (Philosophy, Psychology) Chapter 1

Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, once said, “Your life is what your thoughts make
it.” That was almost 2,000 years ago! But does that phrase still hold true today? Absolutely. We, as human beings, are defined by our thoughts. It is what makes us different from others animals; we think, we contemplate, we ponder, and we strive on our capacity to reason. So, it is a duly statement to say that our intelligence is of the utmost important. Without our defining capability to utilize the mind, without science and without cognizance, we could not be where we are today. That is why, for success, it is critical to question one’s intellect—to improve, and to change. But how does one go about improving one’s intellect? There are ways: Reading, writing, engaging in the sciences. But, specifically, how does an individual go about improving overall intelligence? How does a person expand their mind? The first step is in identifying strengths and weaknesses. The first step is finding out where one excels and one lacks. Many school children today find that they are overwhelmed with information, and they believe that learning is difficult. They are unaware of why the struggle. The reason why they struggle is because they are not well rounded. Most people are only good at one thing, unfortunately. This often breeds a mind that believes it is inferior for not being able to grok/master a subject that is out of their realm. But the human brain is capable of doing nearly anything that requires deep thought, skill, and fortitude. Still, many people, especially in the education “business,” are aware of these problems. Teachers (see pedagogy for more about teaching) are aware of the ups and downs, and the pitfalls of teaching a variety of students. Each individual, each kid has their own set of problems. So, it is without surprise that modern and progressive schools employ several methods of teaching in order to “transfer” along information. This practice, however, does not ring true for most schools (public schools in particular). Teachers, or professors, tend to have one method. This is why children, and young adults, have a hard time digging their claws into a subject. They feel drowned, and left out. When a teacher resorts to a single way of teaching (a common example is oration), the student loses out. Anyone who is weak or lacking in that particular method of learning, which the teacher uses, is going to fall behind in a significant manner. So, is it your fault for being stupid? No. You are not stupid. The problem is schools are stretched for time, and do not have the resources to cater to all students, and their needs. Ideally, teaching and learning should be customized to an individuals needs, but they usually are not. Teachers have too many things to juggle, and too many kids to teach. It’s not their fault (or your fault) that you are not learning properly. Right. So, what to do about your dilemma? Well, you as an individual could either change the system to help address the needs of everyone around you—or you can simply adapt. You can strengthen your intelligence to help you excel academically or career-

wise. As mentioned earlier, the first part is identifying strengths and weaknesses in your intelligence. Well, first of all, what is intelligence? We all know when someone isn’t intelligent, but do we really know when someone is smart? That is a harder thing to identify. Yes. Someone may excel on an IQ test (intelligence quotient test), but that does not necessarily mean that they will succeed in their intended career/life choice. A lot of times people with lower IQs excel (monetarily) even when the paper results say they should fail. There is a paradox, or at least incongruence, between real life and abstract (school) life. Good in one. Bad in the other. …But why not be good in both areas? Why not be good, or at least competent, in everything you do? Is that not possible? Has the notion of the renaissance man/woman died? Well, a renaissance man/woman (or a well-rounded person) cannot exist if they do not identify (and correct) the strengths and weaknesses of their intellectual capabilities. That is why, in 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the idea of multiple intelligences in order to address this problem. He posited that there are different types of intelligences, and that traditional IQ tests do not measure a person’s overall, true intelligence. According to him, today, there are eight main types: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal and intrapersonal. These definitions of intelligence, however, are somewhat confusing. And in regards to academia, they do not address the issue of adaptation. How does a person skilled in music use his/her abilities to write a paper? How does a bodily kinesthetic individual do a math question? Society does not work in a way that’s suited to someone who thrives in a (seemingly) esoteric ability. Intelligence, by most counts, is traditionally defined. Hence, that is what this article addresses. How does one go about enhancing “traditional intelligence”? This may seem like taking a step backward, reducing the amount of intelligences by half, but it takes a broader sense of the issue, and simplifies the concept into something concrete which everyone should understand. You may have heard of the left-brain/right-brain theory. Well, the idea posits that the brain has two hemispheres (sections). There is the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain. The left side is stronger in areas concerning: reality, future and past, logic, details, facts, rules, language, math, science, pattern perception, and names. The right side specializes in: abstract concepts, the present, imagination, symbols, images, beliefs, spatial perception, object functions, and emotions. Now, how does this all fit in with what you’re presently reading? Well, in regards to the brain’s hemispheres, on each side are two intelligences each—making four in total. The four (broad) intelligences are: memory (left), logic (left), creative (right), and emotional (right). Combined, these make up what is found in traditional intelligence. Any person who has mastered all of these areas will be very successful (particularly in the academic arena). (The numbers assigned to each intelligence is for organization, and is not indicative of its importance. All are EQUALLY important.) 1. Memory – This is the most basic part of intelligence. It is simply your ability to recall what you have seen, heard, or experienced. Most schools stress having a good memory,

mostly by rote-learning. Memory, of course, encompasses and influences all intelligences. 2. Logic – This aids in solving puzzles and problems. It does not necessarily require memorization, but instead calls on the brain’s ability to reason, and to put the pieces together. 3. Creative – Further “down the line” is creativity. Creative is far removed from the intelligences memory and logic. While those require dealing with reality, creativity often calls upon what is not yet in existence. High creativity, as one would guess, is incredibly pertinent to the world of art. 4. Emotional – Most people don’t put any emphasis at all on emotional intelligence. They think it should just be there. But emotional intelligence, like any other intelligence, must be properly developed. Emotional intelligence deals with your interactions with others, and with yourself. Highly developed emotional intelligence confers the benefits of fortitude, discipline, and balance—which can further the other forms of intelligence. Have you ever met a really smart but lazy person? That is a person with low(er) emotional intelligence. If they, however, had high emotional intelligence, they would excel further with their natural abilities by being able to manage themselves in a proper manner. As you can see below (in figure 1.0), the four intelligences are represented in a “foursquare.” They are divided into left and right (corresponding with the brain’s hemispheres). On the left side you have memory and logic, both of which are complementary to each other. Then on the right, there is creative and emotional, which— like memory and logic together—also complement each other. And, as you may have noticed, the intelligences are also opposing one another (horizontally). While memory is the opposite of creativity, logic is the opposite of emotional. Figure 1.0 – Intelligence Foursquare (Left) (Right) --------------------------------------------- MEMORY | CREATIVE - LOGIC | EMOTIONAL --------------------------------------------Figure 1.1 – Further Clarification “Memory + Logic = Stronger (Intellect) Creative + Emotional = Stronger Memory + Creative = Weaker Logic + Emotional = Weaker

Memory + Logic = Neutral Logic + Creative = Neutral” Above (figure 1.1) you can see, clearer, how the intelligences interact. Now, of course, this isn’t written in stone. There are always exceptions to the rule, but, in general there, are positive and negative reactions depending on your intellectual strengths. Let’s first look at the conflicting ones. Why does memory work against creativity? Well, creativity requires a freeness of mind, and it also requires the creation of new things. When you are well learned, ironically, you are more prone to failing in the creativity department. Your memorization of the past, and all things before, stems your ability to stumble upon something new, because for the fact that you have been so heavily influenced. Then there is logic against emotions. Being emotionally strong (or being perceived as such) sometimes requires that you throw out logic. If you had a fight with a spouse or significant other for example, you would have to control your temper, be calm, be cool, and react in such a way that would be seen as mature (and emotionally intelligent)—even if you are right, and you know it, emotional intelligence may require that you go against what is correct for the sake of your relationship. Now, it’s not to say that you should roll over like a dog in relationship, it’s just to say that sometimes you have to pick and choose your battles, and always being right and logical won’t work all the time. So, you’re still wondering—how will this all help me? Success, of course, requires being balance in your life. And the best balance you can achieve is through your mental well being and intellect. This requires you to find your strengths and weaknesses. In which areas of intellect do you excel: Memory, logic, creative, or emotional. Once you find out which one (or two) or these need to be fixed, you can then go on to improving them and achieve a balance in your intelligence. Okay, before we move on, let’s briefly cover QUALITY of intelligence. There are three main factors here: SPEED and ABSORPTION and DURATION. (S.A.D.) This just means how fast you can learn something, how much of it you can absorb and for how long. Let’s look at the quality of memory intelligence through an anecdotal example: Alfred and Zoe are reading a novel of about 1,000 pages. Let’s call it “Twilight Potter.” Speed… -Alfred can read a page a minute -Zoe can read a page every half minute (30 seconds) Absorption… -Alfred remembers 75% of what he reads -Zoe remembers 50% of what she reads Duration… -Of what Alfred absorbs, he remembers it for about one year -Of what Zoe remembers, she remembers it for about two years NOW, let’s delve in further and do some calculations.

Speed… -It takes Alfred 1,000 minutes to read the novel its entirety -It takes Zoe 500 minutes to read the novel in its entirety. Absorption… -Alfred remembers 75% of what he reads (short-term) or 750 novel pages -Zoe remembers 50% or 500 novel pages Duration -After the initial period of reading, Alfred has a (long-term) duration of about a year or 365 days. -For Zoe it is 730 days (Note: Absorption and Duration are closely related—which causes some conflict and confusion. If, for example, you remembered 100% of something for a one second— would that really count as remembering it 100%? Probably not. Absorption, in our regard, pertains to short-term memory [but not micro-memory]! So, we must assume that a person remembers what they’ve absorbed for at least the day or ‘till the end of the activity. Duration is more in reference to LONG TERM memory. So, with the term absorption, it’s mandatory to assume some sort of “duration.” In this it will apply to short term memory.) Further calculations. Alfred 1,000 Minute Read Speed (of 1,000 page novel) 750 Page Absorption 365 Days Duration 750 divided by 1000 = 0.75 pages a minute (to remember 100%) Therefore 0.75 x 1000 (length of a novel) = True Read Speed of 750 minutes 750 divided by 365 = 2.05 Zoe 500 Minute Read Speed 500 Page Absorption 730 Days Duration 500 divided by 500 = 1.00 page a minute (to remember 100%) Therefore 1.00 x 1000 (length of a novel) = True Read Speed of 1,000 minutes 1,000 divided by 730 = 1.36 (Per Day Zoe can remember, per day, approximately—100%—1.36 pages.) Whew! Okay! So, now, which do you think is better? Well, one isn’t necessarily better than the other (depending on your goals), but a lower number is more ideal. Don’t worry

if you don’t understand this now. It is just an arbitrary formula for reading. There are other things to remember which are far less quantitative. Figure 2.0 – Quality of Intelligence Speed + Absorption + Duration = Quality Chapter 2

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