Intelligence and Self-Esteem

There are those who claim that the best indicator of higher-order intelligence is through the expression of art, while there is growing support for the inclusion of athletic ability in our consideration of aptitude. And then there are those who would judge intelligence using factors such as nature, music, numbers and reasoning.  In fact, there is growing support for the inclusion of existential intelligence. Apparently, one can be people smart, body smart, word smart, self smart, nature smart, animal smart and picture smart. (No one is talking about sexual performance aptitude, as far as I know.)

The word intelligence is frequently used to describe school performance, the capacity to comprehend or to profit from classroom experiences. This type of intelligence is believed (in the absence of disease or trauma) to be fixed, stable, unchanging over a lifetime. Some believe we are born with all the intellectual potential we will ever possess. There is, however, increasing discussion over the role desire and tenacity may have on improving intellectual competence.

Can we increase our intelligence through diligence and hard work?

Alas, because intelligence seems to be an arbitrary concept, made up of a number of unstable, evolving factors and ideas, most definitions of intelligence seem, ultimately, to alienate someone.

I can only attribute our passion for evolving the definition of intelligence to the ever-confounding variable: self-esteem.  Is intelligence related, somehow, to the concept of self-esteem?  Is it possible to possess good self-esteem without first measuring oneself as intellectually gifted?  Is it possible to be of average (or less than average) intelligence and still maintain a high value of oneself?

Because intelligence appears to play such an important role in our personal assessment of ourselves, we continue to fine tune, rework and manipulate the meaning of intelligence, increasing its parameters and boundaries, improving the odds that everyone will, some day, be able to claim their unique place among our ever-growing population of geniuses.


7 responses

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  2. Pingback: Intelligence is overrated. « Idigina

  3. Pingback: I Am Good Because I Am Smart |

  4. How about being treated decently as a human being? I went to a school where kids were supposedly “smart,” and there was more emotional abuse there than any other school I went to– because they find ways to blame the victim for lack of intelligence.

    • Thank you for your comment! Unfortunately people don’t share the same definition of how people should be treated. In fact, people will behave any way they please. It is best to appreciate that fact and prepare people (especially children) for this inevitability of life. People can be content, even though people behave foolishly, if they take control,of their thoughts in relation to the experiences they have. I can be content even though people act contrary to the way I think they should. If my happiness depends on how I am treated, rather than how I think about how I am being treated, then I will likely only be happy when people treat me the way I demand they treat me.

      Sent from my iPad


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