In times past, intelligence was measured by the ability to accumulate facts, retrieve them at will, and apply them as needed (often enough, when it was not needed, too *cough* “know it alls”).
This worked for a really long time.
The velocity of information was much slower. We became specialists, developing deep knowledge in just one or two areas and being rewarded for this kind of narrow focus.
While all of this was underway, we also developed massive distribution systems that promised to set humanity free from the daily grind of gathering food, hauling water, and staying warm.
But … rather than claim the prize of collective abundance and freedom to exist together in a low-stress world, we drug our vestigial mindset of scarcity along.
Even with an undeniable embarrassment of riches, we kept behaving as if we are near starvation and must fight each other constantly to survive.
In recovery programs, you might hear addicts say, “My best thinking got me here.”
Looking around the world, I think that phrase is relevant: our best thinking got us here.
And that’s not a crack at our minds. It’s simply acknowledging that we all created a world together based on a very narrow interpretation of intelligence.
Now we begin to realize that intelligence includes the whole person, not just packing in facts for regurgitation.
This means that becoming the leaders we are all called to be in our own lives will require us to not simply think but to become deeply tuned to the rest of our beingness.
This is scary for a species that has prized one version of intelligence above the rest for so long.
And, it is precisely what is offered to us in this age.
My dear fellow humans, if we do not grasp the gift that we’ve been given and continue operating from the myopic, single meaning of intelligence, we will continue creating war, scarcity, and suffering.
Want to lead? Accept the challenge of becoming a Renaissance person.
Because the leaders we need most right now must be able to see large patterns of information and draw intuitive conclusions that go beyond the obvious glance.
A true leader for our times needs to be a master of empathy, have their ego under control, and understand the long-term nature of the choices we are making right now.
Can we back away from the edge of an abyss and do the intelligent things needed to heal our world?
That’s an open question for me.
It’s not a matter of “can we,” though.
This is a question of “will we”?
Toko-pa Turner is a Jungian writer I admire. In her book, Belonging – Remembering Ourselves Home, she wrote this powerful statement:
“I believe we have more than enough creativity to solve the problems of our times, but we have to make a perilous trek into the wilderness within to reclaim it. There is a stand of undeveloped jungle, a place of “indigeneity” within each of us that can never be domesticated. It is a borderless land, beyond personality and convention, even beyond thought; where pure creativity arises … Few make the trek into this creative wild because the path requires great vulnerability. To come into our true originality, we must surrender the layers of numbness we use to protect our hearts.”