What is intelligence?
This may not be the most pressing political question on everyone’s mind, but, if you would please indulge me, I hope to make a case for why it, perhaps, ought to be at least a consideration.
Because it is part of our human nature that we consider ‘intelligent things’ – or, ‘things that posses intelligence’, or at least, ‘things that appear as though they possess intelligence’ – with much greater respect than those ‘things’ that do not.
This is true from simple organisms to individual human beings to whole cultures.
Perhaps we have not been accustomed to thinking of it in these terms, but, if you take a moment to reflect, I suspect you will agree that. in general, ‘humans’ treat things that appear to ‘behave with intelligence’ with greater respect than those which do not.
This post is not meant to tackle the philosophical roots thereof, nor the merits of this: rather, I would like to assert that for better or worse, this is the case – and then examine the implications of these assertions.
In order to do this, we need to try to define what ‘intelligence’ actually is.
This is not easy.
‘Intelligence’ is one of those elusive qualities: everybody knows what it is, but it is difficult to put that ‘knowledge’ into objective, quantifiable terms against which it could be measured.
Oh, sure, there are IQ tests, ’emotional intelligence’ tests and all that – but these are very narrow and necessarily flawed models which focus on only very narrow aspects of what we generally regard as ‘intelligence’.
So, we need to ask ourselves:
WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?
Many of our best thinkers have devoted much of their time and work to trying to define it (and, perhaps, reproduce it artificially), but it is not an easy task.
Perhaps it would be easier to approach the problem from a diametrically opposite direction: perhaps we should draw the circle around what ‘appears’ to be intelligence. Anything outside this circle can safely be considered to behave ‘without intelligence’ while all the things inside the circle would either ‘be’ intelligent or ‘appear to be’ intelligent (whether they actually are or not). Because, after all, in our limited human perceptions, ‘appearance of’ something is often treated as equivalent to ‘being’ something….
The beauty (or, intelligence) is in the eye (perception) of the beholder!
So, what are the ‘minimum requirements’ of an entity for us to regard it as ‘behaving with intelligence’?
Perhaps we could start with these: an intelligent entity ‘behaving with intelligence’ will
- recognize a problem when it encounters one (whether or not it has incountered this, or similar, problem before)
- break the problem down into sub-sections or individual tasks which are within its means to ‘tackle’ (solve)
- examine its memory for any potential ways to solve each ‘bit’ which it may have previously learned
- if it has not learned any potential solutions, it must be able to improvize or develop new ways of solving the problem
- accurately evaluate if/when the problem was successfully solved
Sure, this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a workable ‘minimum requirement’ for an entity to be considered to ‘behave with intelligence’.
In other words, we do not know if an entity that can do this IS intelligent, but we can conclude that an entity that cannot do this ‘does not behave with intelligence’. It may not be a true and accurate marker of what IS intelligent, but it does identify and separate out entities which definitely ARE NOT intelligent as they do not posses these qualities/behave in this manner.
I hope that thus far, I have not said anything controversial – that I have merely been re-stating in specific terms something that is part of the definition of the term ‘intelligence’/’behaving with intelligence’.
And I have previously made the general observation that we, humans, tend to have higher respect for entities that ‘behave with intelligence’ than for those that do not. Again, I hope that this is not a controversial assertion and that you are with me – so far.
Now, please, apply the ‘test’ (as presented in point form above) to the behaviour of various political/social/cultural entities/institutions.
From Muslim Brotherhood, to the EDL.
From ‘universal health care’ to ‘independent scientific research’.
To anything else you’d like to evaluate.
Now, please, apply it to Multiculturalism….
Take your time: consider it from both ends of the spectrum.
Presume that ‘Multiculturalism”s actual problems/goals are congruent with its stated problems/goals: is ‘multiculturalism’ (or, rather, the societal forces applying it) ‘behaving with intelligence’?
Is it therefore behaving in a way that ought to earn the respect of humans?
Now presume that ‘Multiculturalism’ (again, the government/societal forces applying it) IS ‘behaving intelligently’: for the conditions above to be satisfied, what does the ‘problem’ which ‘Multiculturalism’ is trying to ‘solve’ BE – and what is considered to be the desired outcome (solution to the problem)?
Are THOSE the goals what we, as a society, want?
What do YOU conclude?
I have concluded that ‘Multiculturalism’ is either not ‘behaving intelligently’ and does not deserve our respect, or, if it IS ‘behaving intelligently’, it is an evil doctorine which we must fight every step of the way!!!
Now, please, ask yourself: is it any wonder that people from other cultures have concluded that the ‘Multicultural West’ is not worthy of respect?