The Intelligence Of Science vis a vis the Science Of Intelligence
Anne has a PhD in Molecular Biology, has worked for several years as a postdoctoral
researcher in internationally renowned Biotech companies, and is currently teaching
in this subject at a college in Belgium.
In a society that is governed by science and technology, science education
is bound to be considered essential. Wherever we may find ourselves, virtually
nothing would exist without science and technology. Our clothes, the materials
used to build the room we are sitting in, the background music we may be listening
to... most of it would not be there without previous scientific discovery.
The current emphasis on science education is therefore not surprising at all,
every culture being naturally keen to pass on its heritage to the next generation.
Today, the scientifically trained mind is associated with particular qualities
such as observation, comparison and analysis, accurate repetition, logical deduction
and the ability to solve strategic problems. In the early twentieth century,
psychologists developed tests to measure and somehow quantify these particular
qualities. Before long, schoolchildren were performing so-called IQ tests in
order to determine their IQ or Intelligence Quotient.
And did you know that one of the much appreciated tools of modern times - the
computer - actually has a high IQ? In fact, most IQ tests in the world today
are generated and interpreted by computers.
Computers are designed to operate according to particular formulae (such as
multiplication, and geometrical resemblance) and they follow the rules meticulously
always, mostly without error, and usually much faster than we possibly can.
However, once outside of formulae, they are powerless.
And although most of us highly value the capacity and convenience of a computer,
no one would like to be considered equal to a computer. Instinctively we all
know that there is more to a human being and more to human intelligence, than
a computer can offer.
five years ago, Daniel Goleman introduced the concept of emotional intelligence
as being the ability to be aware of and understand one's own feelings and those
of others. It is an expression of our degree of compassion and empathy and of
our capacity to handle both pain and pleasure in an adequate way. The term "emotional
intelligence" is somewhat misleading, because the more emotionally intelligent
a person is, the less (s)he will be susceptible to all kinds of potentially
damaging emotions such as anger, envy, jealousy and the like.
I would like to broaden the scope of this ability beyond humans to take all
forms of life, animal and plant life into account. The term "soul intelligence"
seems more appropriate, providing we can agree to the fact that our feeling
and sensing of life is more a matter of the soul than a matter of our conscious
IQ reminds us of Newtonian determinism, where light or an electron are either
a wave OR a particle. Soul intelligence reminds us of the quantum worlds where
light or an electron are both wave AND particle.
IQ thinks, soul intelligence senses and feels. IQ is a conscious process of
analysis and discrimination, an OR/OR process that takes into account only what
we consciously realise. Soul intelligence is a semi-conscious AND/AND process,
taking everything into account, including the many signals that our brain registers
without us being aware of it. As an example, the brain registers everything
that goes on in our body every second of our life, but we are mostly unaware
repeats, extends and magnifies. Soul intelligence seeks harmony and balance
and will be alerted when something is out of equilibrium. IQ will stick to the
come what may, whilst soul intelligence is the very seat of our
IQ is deductive. Soul intelligence is clairvoyant - it knows. A meteorologist
predicting the weather using statistics is IQ at work. A farmer predicting the
weather whilst walking his land is soul intelligence at work. A police detective
trying to solve the puzzle by logic is IQ at work. A police force consulting
a clairvoyant to help solve the problem is a police force seeking to bring in
Another interesting feature is that for rational analysis and comparison (such
as the solving of some algebraic problem) to be successful, all the data needs
to be available (i.e. conscious), whilst in the case of soul intelligence this
is not necessarily so. Indeed, even if we see only 80% of a face, soul intelligence
will be able to recognise it. It can handle uncertainties whilst IQ can not.
From this perspective, parallel computers, one of the latest developments in
computer technology, can be considered in principle as having some small degree
of soul intelligence: they can recognise a post code for instance, even if it
is written in a thousand different types of handwriting, and it can learn and
update itself on the go. A serial computer is not able to do this. It can only
get new software installed. IQ relies upon what it knows from the past, whereas
soul intelligence operates in the now.
spite of all the differences though, rational intelligence (IQ) and soul or
emotional intelligence (EQ) are also integral and inter-dependent: they both
operate within the existing perimeters of everything that is already firmly
established. They rarely bother about the why of rules, formulae, situations
or imbalances. And they do not involve themselves with the question of whether
things could be approached differently.
Thus, to be truly creative requires yet another intelligence. It requires spiritual
intelligence (a term first introduced by Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall). Only
spiritual intelligence is able to transform a situation, to rise above the general
trend and reach out for new perception and revelation. It is born from the urge
to push back the perimeters of our current perception and to penetrate into
the (yet) unknown.
No doubt, Leonardo da Vinci, for instance, was gifted with a great spiritual
intelligence as he introduced new levels of art and scientific discovery into
the world. And likewise were Mozart and Beethoven, Galileo and Newton, Mendeliev
just to name a few.
Mendeliev, after years of research and labour, suddenly saw the Periodic Table
- which opened the door to all modern chemistry - in a dream. Einstein, generally
considered to have been a lazy and rather mediocre pupil, had the audacity to
question some important paradigms in physics that were current at that time,
and changed the face of the world forever with his Theory of Relativity.
All those people were haunted by one idea, by one desire that urged them on,
all fully absorbed in the quest of their own personal Holy Grail. And it was
the same for musicians like Mozart and Beethoven, writers such as William Shakespeare
and so on
bringing something into the world that had not been heard or
read before, fetching it from the unheard and the unseen.
of those geniuses were notorious for being difficult people. They probably lacked
the necessary soul intelligence to be able to keep the harmony, for a person
will not necessarily have developed all three to the same degree. Some people
may be primarily IQ oriented (rational comparison and analysis), others EQ (emotional
or soul intelligence) still others SQ (spiritual intelligence).
These new insights into the nature and scope of intelligence have far-reaching
consequences, for they compel us to re-evaluate current (science) education
and evaluation system, which is primarily IQ-oriented. To begin with it reveals
that a high IQ, so highly praised in our modern society, does not necessarily
guarantee that someone becomes a good scientist. Indeed, in the absence of some
soul intelligence, a person may well turn into an immoral scientist, whilst
in the absence of any spiritual intelligence (s)he will rarely be able to create
something new. It also shows that especially in science education, people who
are rather EQ- and/or SQ-inclined are often left out in the cold, although they
can significantly contribute to the scientific arena as an IQ-oriented education
system mostly calls for stereotyped answers, whilst EQ will deliver pragmatic
answers and SQ even totally unpredictable answers.
Therefore, in a world governed by science, it is a matter of both public and
individual interest that science education would take the trouble to realign
itself in the light of these new insights. Science education might wish to develop
fresh ways and means that will both recognise and stimulate all aspects of human
intelligence in an integrated way. Most probably not an easy task to perform,
but a task that the author of this article certainly would love to pioneer...
Anne Marmenout, Belgium