What is intelligence

Intelligence in a world that doesn’t make sense

As a child at school my intelligence was measured, supposedly, on two occasions – IQ tests that included some mathematical questions, puzzles and logical problem solving that I recall presented no great difficulty. But many of the questions I couldn’t answer as they required prior learning of some specific information that I hadn’t learnt; questions akin to, for example, “what is the capital city of Botswana?”.

At the end of the second of those tests, I was left clearly feeling and knowing that neither test was an effective measure of my intelligence, as both went into areas that required only an ability to recall previously learned facts. At this point, with the knowing that came with what it definitely was not, I also understood from within me what intelligence was, and that these tests themselves were not intelligent enough to measure how much I had. With this realisation also, I felt no need to have my intelligence measured, even if it could be done accurately, as what purpose would it serve other than to compare my supposed intelligence to that of another?

During the years that followed, as a teenager and then a young man in my twenties, I observed much about the world of human society and found a great deal more that didn’t make sense. It was all too apparent that our world had long been and was in the simplest of terms a chaotic mess, and that despite outward appearances, nothing significant had ever changed, nor was changing.

It was clear to me that, despite the premise of our great intelligence, there was a deep dysfunction of some type in every area of human life, from relationships, family and work, to science, health, medicine, the environment, education, politics and even what the world calls religion. And as if stuck in the midst of all that dysfunction – evidenced globally by the pervasive inequity, conflict, contempt, abuse, violence, war, disagreement, divisiveness, disregard, disorder, disharmony and disease, all of which has characterised human society throughout history to this day, other than for some very brief and isolated exceptions – we not only clearly have no answers to our dysfunction, but we were and are not taking responsibility for our plight and not serious about sorting ourselves out.

I observed back then, and still do, that the prevailing intelligence of humanity says that if whatever we are doing clearly doesn’t work, just keep doing it until we get a different result. It’s as if we are blindly committed to the belief that something that has never worked before will eventually work, if we keep doing it long enough.

Now I suppose you can call this intelligence of a sort, but not an order of intelligence that makes sense when you observe it honestly. Surely, as meaningful intelligence would equip us with an ability to see and resolve our problems, if something we’re doing clearly is not working, with meaningful intelligence we would change our approach and proceed accordingly, and if it was working the world would be a very different place.

Observing our dysfunctional state for what it is eventually may lead all of us, as it led me, by seeking to understand it, to a point that offers the realisation that currently what we uphold as intelligence, and intelligent, must be drawn into question and gone beyond.  And in the face of our own dysfunction, given we have so many problems globally and no lasting solutions, and as we are not inquiring earnestly so that we might get to this point of realisation, then what does this say about the quality of our prevailing intelligence?

From my own process of inquiry I now understand that I have lived amidst and experienced a capping of intelligence that is evident in every sphere of human life, be it religion, science, philosophy, economics, politics, medicine, education, relationships, family or work.

Having walked this path, my relationship with intelligence now is to live from the foundation that—

no matter what our current intelligence is, be it flawed or already great, a greater intelligence is always possible.

And this points to the question: what order of intelligence is it that doesn’t recognise this simplest of truths, that there always is a greater order of intelligence possible and available to us, instead seeking a stasis, prolonging and even demanding investment in itself, pretending that no greater intelligence exists or is possible?

It is clear there is no limit to intelligence, and always a greater order of intelligence there to be accessed, but we have to know how to access it.  Implicitly then, it follows that it is only we who limit our access to greater intelligence and everything that could and would come with it.

As I have lived my own life, I now know intelligence, as it increases, to be a movement from the unknown to the known, implicitly exposing that whatever is unknown was/is always there to be known, and that anything is only unknown to us personally until at some point we come to know it. It is therefore we who move in relationship to what is there to be known, revealing that everything is knowable – it is just a matter of how we position ourselves in relationship with it.  Whatever our position in that relationship determines our intelligence – how much of all that is there to be known that we do access, versus the remainder that is unknown to us.

All that is unknown to us therefore requires a quality of intelligence that holds us in un-knowingness: open the Pandora’s box of beliefs, ideals, concepts and outright lies, the fabric of a dysfunctional human society needed to make this work.  As a movement, then, just as whatever we have come to know ceases to be unknown, if what is now known was/is always there and available to us, then there must have been some previous movement by which we ceased to know.

Our everyday language betrays the fact of such movement which was to un-know that which was known, the act by which we render it ‘unknown’. Thus to un-know and therefore whatever is unknown to us, if we are honest, we must accept is a wilful act by which we render ourselves ignorant, i.e. the act of ignoring what is there to be seen, aware of, known.

The irony is that it takes intelligence, a level of intelligence, to wilfully ignore any greater intelligence that is available and presenting itself. And the twist, observable and proven by the pervasive human disposition to keep doing ad infinitum that which is solidly proven to not work, is that, however much you might think and believe it to be otherwise, from that self-induced state of reduction, you cannot then think yourself to a greater order of intelligence – as it is firstly movement that determines whatever prevails upon us as our intelligence and forms our reality, and therefore only by changing our movements, the practicality and quality of our lived way, that we can shift our position potentially to access a greater intelligence.

If there was a foundational act of wilful ignorance, making possible the prevailing intelligence of humanity under which we are and have been in all our observable dysfunction since time immemorial, it was the act, a reduction in quality of movement, by which we rendered un-known to us our deepest selves, our essence – who we are and where we are from. This website, A Case of The Livingness, shares the practicality of everything it is to move and live in a way that undoes that first wilful act – the return to knowing through the quality of our movements what is simply a greater order of intelligence.

Accordingly, this article invites the reader to the possibility of a greater intelligence, as understood through a lived experience, of the author and many people he knows; an order of intelligence that is only what at some point previously we each had wilfully rendered unknown to ourselves. From this perspective, what is shared here is only a re-presentation to the reader of that which is there, and always has been, waiting to be re-known.