The “Other” Intelligences We Need to Develop ASAP

Governor Pritzker speaking at Northwestern University commencement ceremony. Message of the year:
“How do you spot an idiot? Look for the person who is cruel. The kindest person in the room is often the smartest.” — Gov Pritzker

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.”

Jacob Nordby

Jacob Nordby

Jacob Nordby is the author of The Divine Arsonist: A Tale of Awakening, and Blessed Are the Weird – A Manifesto for Creatives. His third book, The Creative Cure, was released by Hierophant Publishing in 2021 with a foreword by Julia Cameron. He is the co-founder of The Institute for Creative Living and also a highly introverted person who can often be found working in the quietest corner of some Boise coffee shop.

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4 Responses

  1. This is so relevant. I had never heard Gov. Pritzker speak and his words are something all Americans need to hear. I’m glad you’re boosting this. It’s such a beautiful explanation of why we should always choose kindness. And kindness IS a choice, especially when you are new to it. It becomes a natural way of thinking and being the longer you practice kindness. In difficult situations where one is tempted to revert to rudeness or viciousness, it is again a more marked choice. I would add my own wisdom here and say we all need to learn and practice forgiveness in all things in order to have the kind of harmonious life we all need! Without forgiveness, we hold onto grievances and we become angry and hateful; the bitter root of unforgiveness binds us and we lose the ability to move freely through our world with love. It’s only through practicing forgiveness and kindness that we can experience true freedom.

    1. I agree! I think that he’s speaking big, clear truth – without resorting to the petty name-calling that has become the unfortunate norm.

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