What is intelligence?


A tiger only kills when it’s hungry and it kills and eats that much which satisfies its hunger – a deer never cuts grass and stores it – an elephant never makes a dam to store water – why?

Well you can say that they are not intelligent to do such things. Let’s then ask a question:

What is “Intelligence”?

  • Is it the ability to make lots of money?
  • Is it the ability to score more marks?
  • Is it the ability to make fool of someone?
  • Is it the ability to hoard more than what you need?

Dr. Howard Gardener, Professor of Education at Harvard University developed the Theory of Multiple Intelligence in 1983. He suggested eight different forms of intelligences to account for broader range of human capabilities.

But if you look through all these carefully I believe “Intelligence” is an ability to respond to life situations in a way that good for one (and hopefully all). We can categorize the situations as much as we want but at the end of the day they are nothing but situations. So when we sit in a math exam, quantitative intelligence is called into play; when we try learning sitar, our musical intelligence is called into play etc. etc. What we are doing is nothing but responding to a particular situation in life. Some people can respond to multiple situations and some to few. I don’t think the ability to respond to multiple situations is important but what’s more important is to be able to respond when called for. So I may have ability to play guitar very well but in an organization that may be never called for hence I am not “Intelligent” by organizational standards – but that does not mean I am not “Intelligent” in the first place.

If we look through this prism all animals are “Intelligent”. It’s not important for a deer to solve math problems – what’s important for the animal is to be able to “sense” the presence of tiger before its killed – and a deer has ample “Intelligence” – its seeing abilities, olfactory abilities, auditory abilities and above all running abilities are all tuned to respond to any danger. So in a jungle environment it’s more intelligent than a human being but if you transfer the same deer in a bank it will be a dumb animal.

Thus, Intelligence is nothing but an ability to respond to life situations in a way that’s good for you – intelligence is context specific. In that respect animals are as intelligent as human beings.

Stretching this further – does this not apply to children? Different children have different interests and inclinations and thus will develop different kinds of Intelligences if allowed to explore. Then why does humanity have this tendency to make every kid go through same standard classes/exams/subjects and then slot them into intelligent and stupid categories or as they say A and D grade. Our traditional notions of intelligence based on standardized IQ tests are very harmful for our kids.

 “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

– Albert Einstein

It’s time to look at Education differently. We must redefine Education by structuring it around its customers – the KIDS. Different kids have different intelligence – let’s give each one of them a chance to discover themselves.

About Us

DreamNobel is an education initiative to teach Science subjects to kids in a way that “original & independent” thinking becomes an integral part of their personality. We have developed a unique and revolutionary course whereby a kid can be taught broadly all the Science subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Biology & Geology) that she will learn during her entire schooling life, through a unique story and rationalization led pedagogy.


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