The unintelligent idea of the many intelligences
The fanatical coaches of emotional intelligence claim to isolate certain behaviors, moving them from their natural environment, to introduce them in a technical and methodological context such as leadership, with which they have nothing to do. Empathy falls into the domain of morality.
It is in free moral activity and in its practical manifestation that man realizes his social nature. At the center are values, not a particular type of intelligence. We are interested in a rational leader, a person capable of carrying out the projects for which he has gathered a team around him. What we want to develop are the skills to manage the complexities of leadership, not to direct the moral choices of a leader. The moral values that inspire a leader come before his leadership and are the fruit of his very personal life path.
It is not difficult to imagine that a bad person will be a bad leader, but there are no ethical paradigms to guide the behavior of a leader. And, in any case, it is not a coach who can stimulate the inner search for the moral dimension of a leader. In theory, a charismatic leader does not need a set of moral values to express his natural leadership. Leadership can also express itself only through the natural ability to involve others, through the subtle techniques of persuasion. Indeed, empathy is one of the most suitable tools for perpetrating this type of subtle conditioning.
This is why our leader must first of all be logical and rational, to be technically prepared and neutral with respect to his own personal inclinations. Exercising one's intelligence is the only way to broaden its horizons and extend its potential, to the full advantage (also) of one's moral values. Our intelligence is not a "thing", it is an activity, a process. Our rationality manifests itself through the multiple forms object of our knowledge. It is our unifying capacity that leads the entire intellectual experience to be identified as "our intellectual experience".
None of us would ever say that he understood something with one of his intelligences, we would all just say that he understood or did not understand. The challenge is to distinguish an intelligent activity from another, conceiving them as an expression of a single intelligence. Yet, the twentieth century has had unexpected developments in this regard. There have been eminent personalities who have produced themselves in lists of types of intelligence (analytical, linguistic, emotional, etc.), without being able to agree whether to consider them independently or to correlate them in a single intelligence.
In 1904 Charles Spearman exposes his theory according to which he concedes that there are different types of intelligence, specifying, however, that in the same subject they are all correlated. In the tests he conducted, those who answered correctly to one type of test responded well to all the other types and, conversely, those who failed in one type of test also failed in all the others. In short, intelligence was (and is) one. Indeed, he identifies a common and general factor of intelligence, which he defines as the "g" factor, with some disturbing and unexpected involuntary analogy.
In 1983 Howard Gardner argues that intelligences are eight and that they are not related to each other, but they work independently. Therefore, if someone is gifted with emotional intelligence (note that this is mentioned more than ten years before Goleman's book), it does not mean that he also has analytical intelligence.
In 1985, Robert Sternberg proposes a model with three intelligences: analytical, creative and practical, also contesting the idea that the only measurable intelligence is that tested according to the IQ criteria. In short, it would seem that the intelligent function of the human being is to be attributed to several disjoint mechanisms, which operate separately and independently. This would explain why someone is able to understand something, but something else not. It has simply developed only one of its intelligent "mechanisms".
I confess that this approach raises many doubts. For example: if there are many intelligences, which of these are we using to distinguish the others? Because it is evident that at least one of the intelligences is more intelligent than the others, to the extent that it classifies and distinguishes them. And then, is there an intelligent definition of intelligence? Which of our many intelligences is entrusted with the task of defining it? The theme always remains the same, our intellectual activity is characterized by the synthesis that we make on a conscious level and cannot be dissected according to the different objects of study or interest.
Those who argue that there are different intelligences and bring arguments in favor of his thesis, are implementing a logical process that is ready to defend and demonstrate rationally, that is, arguing on the basis of data, analysis and related conclusions. We are saying that he would be forced to use the only intelligence that we all know and recognize. It is not by multiplying the number of intelligences that the infinite nuances of the higher activity of the human being are grasped, but by recognizing that moral activity and rationality are the evolutionary pillars of our species, and both are indissolubly intertwined in conscious self-perception. .
A fundamental characteristic of the human being is that of relating to physical reality and to his peers, always having two fundamental elements perfectly present: himself and the rest of the world. But there are not only two elements at stake, but three: the first is consciousness, that is, the perceiving ego, the second is the perceived self, and the third is made up of others and the rest of reality. Critically rethinking one's behaviors, according to the emotions that can cause them, is simply the critical function of the perceiving ego.
No emotional intelligence, just intelligence. Intelligence is one, but extraordinarily plastic and polyform. It is one because one is the subject who carries out the synthesis between intelligible and intellect. Not only with reference to external reality, but also with reference to the inner universe. The instincts and emotions that run through us innervate our personality, and their conscious and rational management helps us to grow as people and to become more and more intelligent. Intelligence is not a static datum, like that of a machine. In the human being it is a fluid, dynamic, never definitive state.
The expedient of fixing the activity of our brain by points is, in fact, a trick of our intelligence. We need to fix the dynamic continuity of reality to make it discontinuous and, therefore, understandable. There are not different intelligences, but different contexts in which and with which intelligence is measured.