CAUTION! Intelligence at Work! CAUTION!

Intelligence, thinking, and reasoning are all difficult and complex concepts that impact our lives every day. As humans, we are constantly gauging our abilities. Intelligence is the most measured ability of all in our Western culture. Intelligence, as defined by psychologists, is the capacity to understand the world, think rationally, and use resources effectively when faced with challenges. With different theories of intelligence available, each giving a specific definition of what intelligence can be, there is clearly a lot of ambiguity in this area of study.

Divergent thinking versus convergent thinking, practical intelligence and emotional intelligence, and fluid and crystallized intelligence are all examples of the many theories and types of intelligences. How do we sort through these many different types of intelligences? Personally, I prefer Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences which includes eight different forms of intelligence, each holding a distinct area of expertise. The eight categories which Gardner defined show the assortment of talents and intelligences that God has given us as individuals. Though I may not be an intelligent linguist, musically I hold much talent from God. This intelligence theory appeals to me because of the great ease with which it sorts out all kinds of intelligence.

Other theories limit the definition of intelligence and restrict what can or cannot be intelligent. The information-processing approach of intelligence degrades so many aspects of intelligence which can be exhibited by people, which results in the degrading of those people. Our education system currently is set up in a fashion which models this diminishing attitude toward multiple kinds of intelligence. Standardized tests are the means by which we assess a student’s intelligence. These tests often undermine the greatest abilities of the student. Creativity is discouraged through our education evaluation. Creativity, which can be associated with divergent thinking, is a vital part in our intelligence, yet it is not considered on any standardized intelligence test or encouraged and developed in our schooling. Our very nature craves success, which is reinforced by test scores, compliments, and accomplishments in our skills and talents. A degrading test score deflates the self-esteem of an individual. The importance of supporting all sorts of intelligence is certainly commanding.

Having established that importance, the evaluation of intelligence tests is noteworthy. These tests, which are designed to quantify a person’s level of intelligence, need to take into consideration what intelligence is and how it then can compare with other types of intelligence. Is the test reliable and valid? Approaching the results of current intelligence tests should be approached with caution because of the possible reactions one can have. Intellectual disabilities or giftedness, as well as diversity in culture and ethnicity, may be reason for test scores to be interpreted in such a way as to diminish the individual who was scored. The many different kinds of intelligence that can be exhibited may not be tested or emphasized, making a person or race look unintelligent. Employers, educators, policy makers, politicians, and other authoritative figures may create discriminatory attitudes towards these people. This result needs to be avoided at all cost.

In America, race is a large issue, which gives rise to the concern for evaluating intelligence between these different races and cultures. Environment, and thus culture, is more of a factor when it comes to intelligence than genetics, however, race is still a stumbling block when assessing intelligence. In my life, I am surrounded by mostly white folks, but I have lots of experience with African American people as well. I have a number of friends who are African American, and I serve at His Place, an urban outreach project of the Pittsburgh area Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. As I work with the children in His Place, who are mostly African American, and as I associate with my friends, I need to be conscious of my views of intelligence. Being wary of the different types of intelligence one can exhibit is vital to my encouragement of these people and love of them. Jesus talks of this in Luke 10:25-37 with the parable of the Good Samaritan. We should not be like the priest or Levite, but the Samaritan who had mercy on the broken man. The second greatest commandment is love your neighbor as yourself. Approaching intelligence with caution, mercy, and an open mind is key in loving others and promoting Christ.

The complexity and diversity intelligence carries with it makes it a difficult load to carry, but with the support of all kinds of intelligence so as to encourage and love others, we can make the load a lot easier.

Creativity

Creativity, or the ability to bring about an original thought, expression, idea, and the like, is a gift from God to his children. This creativeness was a result of the Creator creating man and woman in His image, almost a reflection of Himself. Humans are naturally creative, as Sir Ken Robinson explained at a TED talk filmed in February, 20061. Robinson supported his thesis that creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. He reasoned that we are born with creativity as a part of ourselves and then we beat it out of our kids in the education system. A very illustrative story from his speech introduced a girl who would not pay attention in school until one class they had a drawing lesson. Robinson continues, “The teacher was fascinated and she went over to her and said, “What are you drawing?” And the girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” And the teacher said, “But nobody knows what God looks like.” And the girl said, “They will in a minute.” That creative imagination is ingrained into human beings’ heads. There are multiple creative aspects that reflect God wired in humans, including two specific examples—originality and intelligent design.

First, originality is commonly associated with creativity, but it was originally given to us from God when He used His creativity to create Adam and Eve. Humans and the world we live in, as well as the redemption story, are His great original work of art. When God created us, we were created in his image with creativity. That creativity allows each of us to formulate unique thoughts, art, projects, and ideas. Psalm 139:14a says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We each have good works that we are able to do because of our uniqueness as a result of God’s creativity. As humans, we have that ability to create original works of art. Just look at the many artists that are spread throughout time. From Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, to Claude Monet with his impressionist Water Lilies, to the pop art of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, the originality of artists is revealed through their works. Though, originality is not restricted to just art. Frank Lloyd Wright was a fantastic architect who created the intriguing home famously named Falling Water, which is located on top of a water fall. Even those who own businesses, lay out neighborhoods and cities, or design cars must have some level of creative originality in order to separate themselves from others who have similar skills. Originality was used when we were created, and we inherited that gift and should use it to serve the one who gave it to us. John Stuart Mill, a British philosopher from the 1800s, once said, “All good things which exist are the fruits of originality.”2

Secondly, intelligent design is a unique aspect that humans have that was inherited from God. We are constantly looking to the future and visualizing our lives as we want them, then making adjustments accordingly. As a high school student, I am creating what my future will look like with the choices I make. Such as my choice of college, major, friends, classes, even food sometimes. I have a design for my future that I am creating as the days pass by, and that design reveals me as a person. God had a plan when he created us. This plan would reveal God to us. A plan to show His love, compassion, and mercy, and He chose us to be a part of that plan. Jeremiah 29:11 illustrates this when God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We make plans for our lives all the time, but ultimately, God’s will shall prevail. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes His steps.” As a result we should, as Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” As we arrange our lives, we must realize we are working for our Creator, not ourselves. Intelligent design must be used in order to figure out what God’s will is for us and then act on that so that we may please Him.

In conclusion, we have many attributes of God involving creativity, including originality and intelligent design. We must use these attributes to serve our Creator according to His will. Personally, as I go further into deciding and arranging what I want to do with my life, I must find the originality that I carry and use it through my work for the Lord.

 

 

  1. “Transcript of “How Schools Kill Creativity”” Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity. TED Talks, Feb. 2006. Web. 29 Aug. 2014. <http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity/transcript?language=en#t-221000&gt;.

 

  1. John Stuart Mill. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved August 29, 2014, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_stuart_mill.html
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/citation/quotes/authors/j/john_stuart_mill.html#HxEdYbvH1fjfvDrr.99