I is for…..Intelligence

I’m not smart enough to figure out the essence of intelligence but here’s a good thought by a note worthy fellow: “The test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” That’s John Holt’s (1923-1985) comment about the I subject. For sure, John, right on! I know to put out a fire when I see flames. Do you think he ever said, ‘if I’d only known’ and then ran like hell to get out of trouble? That, to me, seems pretty smart. Anyhow, somewhere along this rocky road of acquiring ‘intelligence’, small pebbles for me at that, I figured out the more I read, the smarter I felt. Feeling good counts for something, right? However, what difference does it make, though, if indeed I’m smarter after reading a good book, a dozen books? For qualifiers, no one has ever told me my IQ or asked for that specific number in a job interview. In fact, I don’t want to know mine or yours, either. Intelligence, it seems, isn’t something that serves a good purpose unless your in the habit of serving a good purposes. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it much more eloquently: “Intelligence–yes, but of what kind and aim? There is the intelligence of Socrates, and the intelligence of a thief or a forger.”  Aren’t we all glad he didn’t say ‘or politicians’? Oh, Ralph, you are so intelligent!  By the way, he’s not a relative of mine. (We share the same surname.) I wish he was then maybe some of his intelligence would have got through the filter of my gene pool. But let’s get back to John Holt. He finished his weighty thesis with the following: “Any situation, any activity, that puts before us real problems, that we have to solve for ourselves, problems for which there are no answers in any book, sharpens our intelligence.” Wow…I can relate to that. Time to get off my duff and fix that leaky toilet.


About wilaemerson

writer, golfer, traveler, food junkie, dieter--serious life: prescription drug advisor (RN/BSN)
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4 Responses to I is for…..Intelligence

  1. Stephen Tremp says:

    Ha! When we don’t know what to do is time to watch others give it a shot, fail, and learn from their mistakes. After we gather that knowledge, then we can take a shot at it.

  2. Interesting reflection.
    I’d love to hear your thoughts on artificial intelligence. 🙂

    Thanks for visiting my blog
    Happy A to Z’ing!
    Writer In Transit

    • wilaemerson says:

      Did Q work for you? I haven’t given much thought to artificial intelligence…however, I am astounded at what humans can do to make us thing artificial intelligence is really independent. Sherlock had a show about it a while back. I watched the first part….will get back to it soon. I record everything so I don’t have to watch the unintelligence—commercials. I loath commercials..they really make humans look stupid. Have fun…

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