The five intelligences of the human being
If someone releases a phrase similar to "you are an animal!", We should not be offended. D We should feel comforted that he has perceived our energy and vital capacity and that they have realized that we do not belong to the vegetable kingdom or the mineral, the other two alternatives that Mother Nature offers us.
Another thing would be to qualify us as "bad animal" or "vermin", but belonging to the animal kingdom in the warm-blooded sub-kingdom is clearly a reason for satisfaction, a luck to celebrate.
If, on the other hand, they qualify us as "gorilla" or "orangutan", they are telling us that we have insufficient mental development; but if they call us "primate" they are positioning us correctly in the subspecies to which we belong.
A relative rationality
In my adolescence, the professors told us that man was the only rational and gifted animal soul , made in the likeness of God. Science has questioned this belief of clear religious origin, since there are many animals that show a similar level of rationality.
On the other hand, the rational capacity of humans does not guarantee, nor by far, that our behavior is always rational . And the explanation is very simple: we are not only rational. Our brain has been shaped by evolution in five stages of operation, inherited from our ancestors. Neurosciences and Evolutionary Psychology have shown that we possess instinctive abilities (such as primitive reptiles), emotional memory capacities (like the first mammals in evolution), intuitive rapid response capabilities (such as great primates), rational abilities ( inherited from the hominids that preceded us) and capacities for vision of future and planning, the true differential characteristic of homo sapiens.
The brain is built by evolutionary phases
Each stage of Darwinian evolution has left its anatomical constancy in a new brain growth zone . In addition, the human brain is the part of the human body that has grown most dramatically with evolution. As paleontologist Phillip V. Tobias wrote in 1995: "Man, in just a period of time of 2 to 3 million years, has increased brain weight from 500 grams to 1,400 grams. An increase of almost a kilo of brain ".
To the purely instinctive brain of the reptiles, the primitive mammals added the limbic system that allows them to keep memory of the emotions of pleasure or pain associated with their previous behaviors and, consequently, gives them the ability to rectify or ratify the instinctive reaction , that is: the control of the instincts, the ability to learn based on rewards and punishments. The primates acquired an added cerebral cortex that provides them with the ability to relate their past experiences to the current experience in thousandths of a second and to intuit whether it is convenient for them to reject or accept the food, the object or the company that is being offered to them.
According to paleontologists, the disappeared hominids developed the polarization of the left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex that allowed them to apply logic and deductive reasoning to the problems of their existence, with a response time tremendously inferior to the previous intuition, but with a wonderful and amazing ability to build tools and progress in the way of life. Language, art, culture and science are born thanks to this evolution of the neocortex.
The last stage of evolution has been the growth of the neocortex of homo sapiens to exceed the cranial capacity and spread through the forehead over the eyes and nose, the so-called prefrontal lobes. There lies our new and evolved superior capacity: the vision of the future, the ability to imagine before making a decision what the consequences can be derived from it, the ability to think long term and follow principles and norms, etc.
The executive brain
Neuroscientist Elkhonon Goldberg, disciple of the great neurologist Alexander Luria, calls executive brain to the prefrontal lobes because they have the function and ability to monitor and control the rest of the brain areas in evolution. It is like an orchestra conductor who with his baton is directing the different musicians who play together. But if we accept the metaphor of the orchestra, we will have to recognize that, too often, the music comes out of tune or broken.
The explanation is simple: every musician is a vedette impatient that he has a tendency to anticipate the director's baton . In more scientific words: the order of arrival of the external or internal stimuli to the different brain areas follows the same order of their appearance on the evolutionary scale and, consequently, each brain function receives the information when the previous zones have already begun to reply. It can only stop the reaction initiated or accelerate it, but for a few tenths of a second the own notes have already sounded, whether they agree to global harmony or not.
Five intelligences to adapt to the environment
If we call "intelligence" the ability to adapt to the stimuli of the existing environment to react in the way that offers the maximum benefit or minimize the damage (depending on the situation), we can affirm that the human brain is endowed with five intelligences , of increasing complexity and scope, following the evolutionary progression.
Instinctive intelligence is given to us by chromosomal inheritance. It allows us individual survival in the face of the dangers already internalized genetically and the collective survival at the level of the species. If a bee wants to drive its sting, our instinct makes us dodge it and try to eliminate it with a swipe. Reaction very beneficial on the street, but that can cause death by accident if we are driving a vehicle launched at high speed by a road.
Emotional intelligence: a new paradigm
The so-called emotional intelligence incorporates rationality and the foresight of the future to the control of emotions that, without this filter, can cause us to fall into highly damaging visceral reactions. The insult or the aggression that escapes us, not to mention the unfortunate crime of passion.
Intuitive intelligence allows us to make immediate decisions when there is no time to think rationally . It is based on the accumulation of previous experiences, it is the result of acquired experience. An automatic and fast contrast with the lived experiences gives us a clear reaction of acceptance or repulsion of the situation, object or person that is offered to us. It is not infallible because our statistics of lived events are never infinite, but it should be a very serious warning to be taken into account. Often, the evaluation carried out later by the rational intelligence makes us act wrongly against the intuitive warning. It is up to each person to better calibrate their intuition and decide when it is convenient to pay attention to them and when not.
Rational intelligence (also called analytical, logical, deductive or equivalent adjectives), with operation totally opposed to intuition, requires time and calm . It has been the one that has allowed us to create everything we call civilization and human progress, which has saved the pitfalls of nature, which has given us tools to overcome our biological inferiority evident in front of other animals. Also the one that has sometimes been put at the service of human evil, boosting to chilling extremes the ability to exploit and even take lives from other people, animals, wildlife, the climate, the entire planet. Which can cause real disasters when you lack the foresight of the future. So much has the human species admired this type of intelligence that for more than a century it was wanted to believe, wrongly, that it was the only intelligence that we possessed, the only one that was worth having. The famous IQ (IQ) in English was based on this idea.
The planning intelligence, the domain of the executive brain, is the current great slope of Psychology and, of course, of the teachings at all levels. Knowing how to coordinate all the musicians in the same symphony so that there are no discordant notes is the clear mission of the conductors.
Individually applying any of the five intelligences is not good or bad by itself. A musician can play a fantastic "solo" or detune to break our ears. But the clear objective of any orchestra is to interpret magnificent orchestral pieces in harmony and perfect coordination. You have to learn to play by following the conductor's baton.
Maybe we should say that evolution has given us an intelligence composed of five dimensions to harmonize . In any case, it is about reaching an effective intelligence that combines in the most appropriate way to our individual and social well-being the instincts, the emotions, the intuition, the reasoning and the planning capacity.
- Goldberg, E. (2002). The executive brain: frontal lobes and civilized mind. Review.
- Guilera, L. (2006). Beyond emotional intelligence: the five dimensions of the mind. Thomson Auditorium.
- Ledoux, J. (1999). The emotional brain Planet.