Phillip Schneider, Staff
“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.” – Albert Einstein
Think about when you were younger and would sit in class just wondering about the world you live in. Maybe you were thinking about the big questions in life. Who are we? Why are we here? Or maybe you were thinking about a book you were reading or a conversation you had with your friends. Maybe you were reflecting on the day or just absorbing the rhythm and melody of your favorite song.
Although you might have thought that you were simply daydreaming, this may be a key sign of intelligence.
Metaphorically speaking, most people view the intellect as nothing more than a basin, albeit a leaky one, waiting to be filled with the ideas of others. On the contrary, the true intellect is more personal. It is a unique gift that must be self-discovered for an individual to truly flourish.
In 1983, a developmental psychologist from Harvard University, Howard Earl Gardner, proposed a theory that will make you question the way you view intelligence, as well as the structure of our education system. He hypothesizes that intellect comes in nine different types, and that each person best expresses their own unique intelligence. However, we all possess each type on some level and can develop our skills in each category.
1. Musical-Rhythmic and Harmonic
The first type of intelligence is musicality, or the ability to recognize various tones, rhythms, notes and harmonies. These people tend to be the best musicians and can have a genius ability to compose music, play instruments or sing.
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo
Visual or spatial intelligence is the ability to visualize two or three-dimensional images with the mind’s eye. Those with spatial intelligence tend to be very successful in any area that requires this type of thinking, such as the artist or architect who can plan out works in their head, and then manifest them in three-dimensional reality.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein
The third type is linguistic intelligence. This type does best when dealing with words and language. Writers, story-tellers, poets, and translators all fall into this category. The ability to remember events associated with different dates on a timeline is also common for the linguistic type of intellect.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins
Fourth is the intelligence of reason, also known as logical or mathematical intelligence. This is the intelligence that deals with numbers, facts, and statistics. It is the type of mind that can be spectacular at picking apart the details of a problem, but not so great at seeing the bigger picture. Logic and critical-thinking are very important staples of the left brain and anyone with a strong logic-type intellect could be very successful with a career in computer science or engineering.
“As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists. – Albert Einstein
In other words, motor skills. This is the type of intelligence that can control the body’s motions and reactions. Athletes, dancers, actors and soldiers all express this type of intelligence as do musicians because of their ability to handle instruments with precision.
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
The interpersonal intellectual understands the emotions, motivations and thoughts of others. High social skills are present, as well as a great ability to work in groups or as part of a team. Inter-personals find it easy to communicate and empathize with others, sometimes making them misunderstood as extroverts or superficial.
“Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” – Muhammad Ali
The intrapersonal is the reflective type who can best relate to himself or herself. This type of intelligence deals with the ability to understand ones own uniqueness, strengths and weaknesses.
“The better you know yourself, the better your relationship with the rest of the world.” – Toni Collette
The naturalist is able to communicate on some level with the life-force of Earth. The recognition of flora and fauna, and the intuition to understand the natural world are expressions of the naturalistic intellect. Hunters, gatherers, and farmers fall into this category along with botanists and chefs. It is a sensitive intelligence type often with great cognitive ability to memorize plant species, rock, and mountain types. Naturalists best understand man’s role in the greater ecosystem of the planet.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
Existential intelligence, also known as spiritual intelligence, is the rarest. It encapsulates everything we do not see or hear, but is instead in tune with the knowledge of existence. It is the spiritualist, astrologer, and the psychic. This intelligence type understands that there is more to reality than what we can see and usually seeks fulfillment in alternative practices such as meditation or yoga, which others don’t always understand.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.” – Albert Einstein
Is the education system holding children back from proper development?
Is it possible that our current educational paradigm is not allowing children to develop their own intellectual abilities? It could be that the intense focus on math, science, and literature is actually stunting growth in many of the next generation’s children instead of helping each child become everything they can be. Perhaps the next generation of kids would be more in tune with their own unique gifts if the education system opened up to the concept of multiple intelligences and allowed for a more holistic approach to learning instead of always demanding intellectual conformity.