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This past week I attended Science Forum South Africa conference.

Topics of discussion ranged from the State of Science in Africa, How to fund science research in Africa, 4th Industrial Revolution in Africa, gaps and opportunities.

So you have intellectuals, scientists, policy makers and academics in various breakaway sessions giving amazing presentations on important topics.

It was a conference of intellectuals.

Almost 90% of the presenters were Phds, Dr so and so who has done research in Deep Learning, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and so on and so forth.

Important smart people discussing important smart topics.

It felt like the pinnacle of intelligent people, geniuses.

And then I thought of Sir Ken Robinson thoughts on intelligence…

Intelligence is diverse. There is no one form of intelligence.

The question is not whether or not you are intelligent? This question pre-supposes that if you met a certain level, Phd, then you are intelligent, if you don’t meet that level, then you are not intelligent.

This is unfortunate thinking.

The right question to ask is: How intelligent are you?

This question assumes that there are various forms of intelligences.

You can be intelligent using your brain [IQ].

You can be intelligent using your hands [Scalptor, artist].

You can be intelligent using your body [dancer, ballet].

You can be intelligent using your words [poet, novelist].

You can be intelligent using your ears and hearing sound [music composer].

You can be intelligent using your eyes [photographer], etc

You can have a combination of these intelligences and not have a high IQ.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended one of Vuyani Dance Company’s amazing performance  called Rise, the dancers were amazing, they may not have Phds, but they are definetely intelligent dancers.

A week ago, we held TEDxJohannesburg, and Siphiwe Mhlambi, an amazing photographer shared his amazing story of childhood, he may not have a Phds, but he definitely a genius when it comes to photography.

I think you can see where I’m going with this…

The mistake we make is to always want to associate ourselves with smart people academically, we want to associate with Phds, we want to have MBAs, not because they will help us further our areas of intelligences, but because we want to appear intelligent, be in the room full of intelligent people and talk intelligent languages.

It has become more about intellectual materialism, and snobbishness.

A soccer player who stays behind to practice and perfect his free kicks is intelligent.

An artist who pours hours and hours on a painting is intelligent.

A graphic designer who spends time understanding the brief is intelligent.

A stay-at-home-dad who spends time helping kids with homework, doing house chores and making the house to be a home is intelligent.

The fact that they are not academic intelligent does not mean they are not genius or lack ambition.

Intelligence is not only confined to science conferences rooms, talk radio debates, presenting lectures, or doing academic researches.

Yes we need more Phd’s and scientists in Africa. Those are meant to pursue to that field, should do so and go all the way.

We don’t need to have academics and Phd’s as friends to feel like we are smart.

We don’t have to pursue academics purely because it makes us feel smart.

Do the best you can to achieve the highest levels required for your area of intelligence.

But there is no one form of intelligence.

There are different forms of intelligences.

It starts with knowing how intelligent you are.

Ps: Yes I will attend next year’s Science Forum Conference, but I will also attend other non academic conferences and events where people display their different forms of intelligences.

Photo: Vuyani Dance Company

 

 

One thought on “How intelligent are you?

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