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Post details: Eye Cue

Eye Cue

When you are in college, and the time is around 3am, you get to discuss all sorts of weird things. Especially if you've had too much of cheap Moravian wine that costs about a buck a bottle and should really be packaged with its own blindness liability waiver. But thanks to its power to lower the threshold for critical skepticism, I learned many completely useless pieces of trivia. I vaguely recollect, for instance, that according to some archaic Indian philosophy, life has four aspects: love, art, thinking and doing. If you think about it, it actually makes some sense: no matter what school of thought you subscribe to, objects on this planet are always either known (aka concrete, material, real, earthly), OR they are unknown (aka abstract, spiritual, imaginary, heavenly). With this division in mind, there are obviously four possible channels corresponding nicely to the said aspects of life: known-to-known (doing), known-to-unknown (art), unknown-to-known (thinking) and unknown-to-unknown (love).

Yesterday I had a dinner with a friend who happens to be an amateur psychologist and no sooner was an appetizer off the plate that I was confronted with the question of how many intelligencies there are. "About 5 billion", I fired back naively, for I do believe we all have our own. In return, I was instantaneously chastised by a condescending look that labeled me as a simpleton incapable of abstracting and categorizing. So on this subtle eye cue I gave the matter a slightly deeper thought. Finally putting my arcane college knowledge to some good use, I came up with these four types of intelligence.

1. LOVE intelligence - the part that enables us to connect with people, interact with them effectively, share their emotions; the manager of our social life and above all, the ultimate Indiana Jones of the neural jungle.

2. ART intelligence - the ability to create works of art, irrespective of the medium used; the knack for putting strange colors, words and tones where they shouldn't be and yet ending up with something that looks, reads or sounds familiar enough for people to like it

3. THINKING intelligence - this one is officially called "the analytic reasoning ability" and that's what kids are being force-fed at school; scientists then use it to study frogs, galaxies, ancient Greek's junk, soil, handwriting etc. in order to produce cats that won't make you sneeze

4. DOING intelligence - the subcontractor of our ability to change light bulbs; but seriously: mechanics, handymen, artisans and tinkerers of all sorts have this ability; I know that many "intellectuals" don't see mechanically inclined people as their peers, but I do; the ability to take things apart, figure out how they operate and at the end put them together is just as important and demanding as the ability to infer star masses from photos of the night sky.

I believe that all of these are distinct and independent to some extent. It also seems that everyone has three of these four, at least most of the people that I know have them, so in a sense we are defined not by the intelligence component that we have, but rather by the one that we are missing. And if your favorite psychologist is Carl Jung you may recognize a remarkable similarity to his four modes of perception: sensation (doing), intuition (art), thinking (thinking) and feeling (love).

I think my friend was reasonably satisfied with my categorization, so I suggested that next time we might perhaps tap into another fascinating if controversial vein of psychological research: the multifaceted enigma of human foolishness. She gleefully agreed, so I have about half a year of intense self-scrutiny to whip up The General Theory of Stupidity.

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