On Our Converged Understanding of Intelligence

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

I read this article last week on TIME about the indicators/behaviors of people with high EQ. As I was reading through the sub-headers, I could not help but notice that a few of them link with one common skill: linguistics.

It is true that humans primarily communicate with one another by using words, sentences, adjectives, idiomatic expressions. As of now, it is the most direct method of conveying a person’s thoughts and feelings to another, so that is what we generally embrace as “the right way to communicate”. That assumption leads human development to highly focus on verbal communication, with rhetorics being taught in every chance possible in order to be able to sway listeners or readers to one direction. That is also why the education system emphasizes so much on vocabulary, sentence structure and diction. Linguistics is by far the easiest way to get our ideas across, so we try our very best to be eloquent.

Problem is, not everybody is adept at linguistics. The world should know by now that there are other forms of self-expression: artwork, pictorials, movements, melodies. However, these methods are not as widely-received as linguistics is, and so people do not pay much attention to these forms and tend to look down on them.

The article says, “All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur [by their robust emotional vocabulary].” So people have to be highly knowledgeable in terms of vocabulary to be emotionally intelligent? How does that make sense? Just because not everyone can understand a painting with splatters of dark color, it doesn’t mean that nobody will.

This article, for me, just proves how converged our idea of intelligence is. You even have to be a master at linguistics to be considered as a human who understands others’ feelings! Where’s the logic in that?

I sincerely hope that as we advance, we will understand more about other forms of communication other than linguistics. Sure, it happens to be something I have high interests in, but I really do want to see other forms of idea expression emerge and be just as widely accepted as linguistics is.

Blueaholic is listening to: BIGBANG – BAE BAE

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