How intelligent are you?

Posted on September 13, 2011


How intelligent are you?

One obvious but incomplete answer is how high you score on an intelligence test – but that’s a narrow definition. You probably know people who have high IQs but are clumsy in social situations, or keep marrying the wrong person, or keep making dumb investments in the market, etc.

We like a different definition, which says that intelligent people are those who behave ‘appropriately’  in a wide variety of situations or at different times in the same situation. For instance someone may be a brilliant mathematician but a lousy father, or a great father when the kids are rested and healthy but useless when they are tired, or frightened or sick.

Tea Party + Jesus

So we’re proposing that an intelligent person is someone who has a large repertoire of models enabling them to deal appropriately with a variety of situations.

What does ‘appropriately’ mean? It means behaving in a way that meets the expectations – or models – of signficant others involved or judging the given situation.

We’re proposing that people share realities to the degree their models of reality overlap. For instance Tea-party members in the US appear to rely on highly similar models of political reality. Whereas the models of mainstream Republicans overlap those of Tea-party proponents on some ‘realities’ but not others. They may overlap on issues (models)  of the role of government, but differ on the role (model)  of religion in government affairs.

For a creative approach to perspectives (models) go to and check out Raghava KK. He creates childrens books for the Ipad which provides a variety of perspectives on child rearing, for instance those of a gay couple, a lesbian couple and a heterosexual couple. He recognizes that there is no way of seeing the world in a unbiased way,  but at least he wants his child to know that perspectives (models, biases) make all the difference. From our perspective, ‘intelligent’  people understand this.

But of course – if you buy  Hawking’s  ‘model dependant realism’ and Simon’s ‘bounded rationality’ you also understand that there’s no bias-free or ‘right way’ to see the world. So, like the rest of us,  very ‘intelligent’ people must sooner or later  stop and take a stand, must put doubts aside, must make life-shaping decisions based on emotionally anchored, personally constructed  and ‘realities’. Otherwise, intelligent or not, they sink into a disfunctionsl state of anxiety, indecision or depression.

Whatcha think?



Posted in: Sciencing