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A definition of “intelligence“:

  • Intelligence – the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills

The well known IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is only one of many intelligences that have been proposed, see Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind – the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, 1983.  His nine intelligence’s (which I have categorised as to physical, emotional, mental or spiritual in the table below), are:

All intelligences

People with high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence excel at sports, dancing, acrobatics, etc.  We would expect athletes and sports people to excel in kinesthetic intelligence.

Interpersonal intelligence is similar to the popular EQ (Emotional Quotient) which is now recognised as being of equal or greater importance than IQ in determining ones success in life.  It measures how well we will interact with our family, friends and work colleagues.

Traditional IQ tests explore the mental abilities through logic, spatial and linguistic intelligences.  There is also a MQ (Musical Quotient) which you would expect musicians to excel at, and the naturalistic quotient which measures how one relates to their natural surroundings (an ecological sensitivity).

Spiritual Quotient (SQ)

Aspects of spiritual intelligence are measured through ones ability to be introspective, and existential intelligence is the ability to tackle questions about existence and the meaning of life.   Some people are able to do this much better than others.  Expanding further on the subject of Spiritual Quotient (SQ), Danah Zohar has defined 12 underlying aspects of spiritual intelligence by which a person’s spiritual development can be measured.  These are:

  • Self-awareness:  knowing what I believe in and value, and what deeply motivates me.
  • Spontaneity:  living in and being responsive to the moment.
  • Being vision- and value-led:  acting from principles and deep beliefs, and living accordingly.
  • Holism:  seeing larger patterns, relationships, and connections; having a sense of belonging.
  • Compassion:  having the quality of “feeling-with” and deep empathy.
  • Celebration of diversity:  valuing other people for their differences, not despite them.
  • Field independence:  standing against the crowd and having one’s own convictions.
  • Humility:  having the sense of being a player in a larger drama, of one’s true place in the world.
  • Tendency to ask fundamental “Why?” questions:  needing to understand things and get to the bottom of them.
  • Ability to reframe:  standing back from a situation or problem and seeing the bigger picture or wider context.
  • Positive use of adversity:  learning and growing from mistakes, setbacks, and suffering.
  • Sense of vocation:  feeling called upon to serve, to give something back.

Examination of these abilities will again reveal that they are highly dependent on how well the executive functions of the prefrontal cortex are being used.