Sunday, November 20, 2005

Eight Intelligences

Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard, has proposed eight different types of intelligence, based on his theory of multiple intelligences he forwarded in 1983. Those 8 are:

1. Linguistic intelligence(word smart)
2. Logical/mathematical intelligence(number/reasoning smart)
3. Spatial intelligence(picture smart)
4. Bodily-kinisthetic intelligence(body smart)
5. Musical intelligence(music smart)
6. Interpersonal intelligence(people smart)
7. Interpersonal intelligence(self smart)
8. Naturalist intelligence(nature smart)

I find these interesting in light of some comments I read long ago in Will Durant's 10 volume set The Story of Civilization. In that set he described some of the necessary conditions for man to move beyond fear and insecurity to the place of social order which promotes cultural creation. The stage of fear and insecurity is that hunter gather stage where man is at the whims of the season in being able to provide food. When men began to come together, and provide commonly, then they began the process of laying up food for seasons non-conducive to farming.

But even in these early stages there were some of these intelligences present, to some extent depending on the individual. There would likely be some nature smart, some body smart, some picture smart, and to some extents, people and self smart. And as men came together to form communities, the common providing allowed for free time, the other intelligences began to flourish.

Hence we have the flourishing of society. The arts of the Renaissance seem to be a peak. Yet I see that as man has progressed, we have not really progressed. Today there is a dearth of nature smart. In many there is a lack of people smart, and even more so a self smart. In our world today the word smart and math smart have come to reign at the cost of the others. Today we have a culture that is quite proficient at killing each other, but still can't find the cure for cancer, or won't allow for it, as the stem cell issue shows us. We produce a lot of books and music, and so much of it is dreck. It is really an expression of what intelligences we do nurture. And that's a scary thought indeed.

It would follow then, that for us to really say we have progressed as humans, to be able as a people to say that we excel in all these intelligences. I would think that such a curriculum would be worthy of any school. We would be a society that is in touch with themselves, one another, able to reason out their problems rationally and intelligently, and able to create a beautiful culture that, like the Renaissance, would stand the test of time.


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