Moulton Lava

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Monday, May 20, 2013

The Ninth Intelligence

In Howard Gardner's evolving catalog of Multiple Intelligences, the Ninth Intelligence is the rarest of them all.

Monument to Plato, Academy at Athens
Gardner calls it Existential Intelligence. Other candidate names are Spiritual Intelligence, Theological Intelligence, Religious Intelligence, Priestly Intelligence, Prophetic Intelligence, Mystical Intelligence, Kabbalistic Intelligence, Transcendent Intelligence, Metaphysical Intelligence, Ethical Intelligence, Sustainability Intelligence, Cybernetic Intelligence, Pattern Thinking, and (my favorite) Systems Intelligence.

Other related terms include Intuition, Visionary Insight, Wisdom, and Enlightenment.

Of all these flavors of the Ninth Intelligence, I prefer Systems Intelligence because it expressly exhibits the System Models and the calculus of their solution for Ethical Best Practices under an express Value System.



An Ecology Of MindGregory Bateson

20 Comments:

Blogger Higs; said...

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11:24 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

My colleague, Barry Gelston, over on the comments of my Facebook post, shares your perspective. He also thinks Gardner's model hasn't lived up to its potential.

I'm actually a big fan of Howard Rheingold's "Tools for Thought" which I suppose is even less of a theory than Gardner's.

There are so bloody many methods of reasoning and techniques of information processing that it's not clear how to classify or model them all. What does appear to be the case is that some people become adept at some of these faculties, while other talents remain largely undeveloped.

Look at your computer or smartphone. It has multiple applications, each one specialized to perform some narrowly scoped variety of information processing well. To a first approximation, these narrowly scoped applications correspond to subjects one might study in school or college, where the subjects are similarly organized into divisions within the University Model.

In science, theories or models persist until someone comes along with a better one.

If you know a better model, by all means lay it on the table.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

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2:22 PM  
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2:46 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

The currently designed education assembly line is an unsustainable model.

That's the whole point of Existential Thinking (or Systems Thinking) — to diagnose and revise unsustainable models.

If the Theory of Multiple Intelligences is, itself, an unsustainable model, the Scientific Method will eventually overthrow it with something better.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

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8:21 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Scientific Method isn't what's being applied to it, though, or to any other among the educational initiatives that come and go.

Perhaps so in the government-funded public school system.

But I've tested my preferred models in venues like online communities and the Boston Museum of Science.

We also had a modest amount of NSF funding at MIT, Carnegie-Mellon, and the University of Memphis to test our models with greater rigor.

Twelve years ago, we won the Best Theory Paper Award for our models.

Since then, we've tested our theories and derivative practices in the laboratory and in the field, but it remains for others to independently replicate our work in accordance with the protocols of the Scientific Method.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Higs; said...

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12:18 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

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1:19 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Humans tend to mindlessly xerox their cultural models, generation after generation, until they become so dysfunctional, their socio-cultural structure collapses.

We are currently poised on the verge of epic malfunction.

That apocalyptic failure will reveal the lamentable consequence of crafting a culture without the benefit of guidance via the Ninth Intelligence (Systems Thinking).

12:42 AM  
Blogger Higs; said...

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9:03 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Temple Grandin has suggested yet another name for the Ninth Intelligence.

She proposes to call it Pattern Thinking.

Pattern Thinking corresponds to Pattern Recognition and/or Pattern Discovery in Artificial Intelligence. In technical (mathematical) terms, this amounts to divining the underlying Recursion Law for a recurring pattern.

A classical example of Pattern Analysis would be to take an audio recording of a piece of music and run an auto-correlation to identify the dominant recurring motif (e.g. the melody). Once the melodic structure is extracted from the audio sample, it's possible to "Name That Tune" by looking up the sequence of notes in the melody in a musical database. Today there are smartphone apps that reliable perform the function of "Name That Tune."

8:15 AM  
Blogger Higs; said...

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8:59 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

I also like terms like Insight, or Wisdom. Some have also proposed Intuition.

But for me, it needs to be grounded in a rigorously definable methodology, suitable for export to the field of Artificial Intelligence (or Artificial Insight/Intuition/Wisdom, if you prefer).

11:20 AM  
Blogger Higs; said...

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9:31 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Have you, by any chance, run across any of the following people ...

Monica Anderson

John Kellden

Wai H. Tsang

Rebecca McMillan

Scott Barry Kaufman

They are all active on Facebook, and/or Google+.

If you are on either Facebook or Google+, I think you'd enjoy joining in their conversations.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

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8:59 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Kaufman is on a roll. He has a new book out, and he's on the Scientific American Blogs.

Jung's work on character archetypes (and archetypal stories like 'The Fisher King' and 'The Handless Maiden') is of interest to me.

Those stories bridge the gap that Umberto Eco speaks of when he notes, "Whereof we cannot express a theory, we must narrate a story instead." That's my own frontier: Mapping technical theory to archetypal story.

I need to come up with a cast of characters (e.g. Sagredo, Simplicio, and Salviati) who can exemplify and enflesh a character manifesting the Ninth Intelligence, going up against a rule-bound bureaucrat, with someone like Sagredo caught in the middle.

10:10 AM  
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4:39 PM  
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4:39 PM  

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