The method of measuring in numerical terms one’s intelligence and, thereafter, concluding that one has this amount of intelligence bears the fascinating name intelligence quotient (IQ). It is not the name that ought to be damned but the method; for the method presupposes that it has come out with a strikingly innovative way of determining the scope of a person’s intelligence through selective tests. The tests themselves should as well be mocked as, by their implications, they do not exhaust all the possible inventory of formal and informal subjects that candidates could be tested through or could get themselves emotionally and mentally ready to take.
For example, selective tests based on Math, Logic or Critical Thinking exclude many other subjects, formal and informal, that a candidate might be good at; nor does it necessarily mean that if a person failed particular subjects at a particular time, his/her intelligence is low compared to those who passed. In general, we might say that the candidate was not mentally and emotionally ready at that time to enable him/her to be successful the way it was required. But is the lack of the said readiness proof of the fixed numerical value of the candidate’s mental scope?
There are many factors that may contribute towards the passing or failing of IQ tests. Some may be cited here. How good were familial support to enable the candidate to be emotionally and mentally prepared in grasping desirable knowledge such as may enable him/her to pass IQ tests well? That is, how well were the candidate’s parents conditioned to provide the support systems necessary for the candidate to lead a desirable life partly through success in IQ tests? How good were the social environments that the candidate got himself/herself brought up in?
How competent were the candidate’s teachers? How good were the schools that the candidate happened to attend? As the past teaches, guides the present, one may ask too: how natural and steady has the candidate’s cultural history been to support his/her mental and emotional character for nurturing the structure of intelligence? Indeed, if the said character has been unstable, weak, distorted and in some cases, broken, it may readily influence the degree of preparedness of the candidate towards all kinds of tests including IQ tests.
Look at Mr. Q and Mrs. Y. They belong to two entirely different cultures. Mrs. Y has been brought up fully and well in the culture that she does an IQ test. Mr. Q, on the other hand, belongs to a culture that has very little in common with Mrs. Y’s culture but does the same IQ test at the same time in the same room with Mrs. Y and in Mrs. Y’s culture. Besides, Mr. Q was not as fortunate as Mrs. Y. His upbringing was far less than normal since his close-to-poor parents had very little to spare to let him finish his formal education. Life was tough for Mr. Q, and had it not been for his personal bountiful courage, he would have fallen on the rotten margins of society and become a social misfit.
Mr. Q didn’t give up despite all the setbacks. His hardened life is really an example worth copying; but in life hardly do people in a similar situation go through and out of such disquieting obstacles and achieve hard-won freedom and respectable integration into the society. But if this is freedom, it does not measure up to the range of free-flowing freedom that Mrs. Y has experienced – and experiences. She has all that it takes in terms of emotional and mental stability. These two categories are also advanced in cognitive content, which goes to confirm why Mrs. Y should – and does – excel should she do IQ tests or related tests at any given moment. No special, superior, natural traits are here to be allotted to Mrs. Y compared to Mr. Q in terms of intelligence.
What, therefore, I want to say is that the structure of intelligence is not fixed according to the corresponding structure and character of the brain or a brain-related organ. Let the individual get the chance to naturally and fully explore his/her ability, then intelligence will flourish in its pure form and bring the individual to the level of uniqueness that is manifested by his prized intelligence. Every individual has this trait unless unnatural, external pressures that come in social-cultural, economic, political, and other forms suppress it. Yet, there is a typical case of the unmeritorious hugging of the thesis of IQ by its proponents regarding, especially, its outcomes and its subsequent correlation to cultural forms. A paradox can here be detected.
Race-conscious advocates of the thesis of IQ consider candidates for IQ tests as merely individuals stripped of their respective cultural dresses. After taking IQ tests, outcomes are critically examined and then correlated with the respective cultures of the candidates. The preliminary conclusion is afterward drawn that Mrs. Y did much better than Mr. Q because people in Y’s culture tend, in general, to do much better than people in Q’s culture (regarding such tests).
What follows, as an ultimate conclusion, is that in terms of the level of intelligence, Ys in general have much higher of it than Qs. Bogus policies may be surreptitiously equated with levels of intelligence as well as general or specific acts that determine social-economic, political and other arrangements; these will show the ugly face of the thesis of IQ and pose danger to the sanity and stability of the culture in place.
Besides all that has been said, intelligence is itself a mental thing and is incapable of being measured with any iota of exactitude by a physical process. If, in any case, we should take different cultures seriously – which we should – we grasp essential threads of the general functioning of people’s respective intelligence.
Culture Y was left in peace; its naturalness was undisturbed. It had all the inducements to enable its inhabitants to have unimpeded experiences with the natural environment and carve, step by step, a mode of development that was as natural as the people’s flowing intelligence. Culture Q is a suppressed one. Having suffered from repeated invasions and meddling in its culture, it could not have developed naturally; nor could the intelligence of its citizenry develop steadily in the natural way.
It takes time for the people in Q to find a new cultural compass that is consistent with steady progress. Forms of social intelligence are distorted and also need time to straighten up. Whether we are dealing with mental or physical development, we ought to understand that both develop in relation to the given natural environment. Both the natural and the non-natural environments affect each other so well. Let the effect be other than the citizenry wanted or could have caused, then forms of social intelligence will develop in an unnatural path.
To say that one culture is more advanced than another because the former’s people do things in far more innovative ways than the latter is far more groundless than justified. The innovative spirit, while great, has also proved to lead to technological wastes and a threat to environmental health. On the other hand, the so-called undeveloped cultures could retain much of the primitiveness of the natural environment and, thereby, stabilize it.
I am not a fun of the unrestrained use of technology, nor am I a fun of the primitive lifestyle that retains the naturalness of the environment. I believe that both versions of life are unsustainable in cultures that seek to hold fast to them; but I think our respective intelligence ought to have moral sides to them. While advancing our respective intelligence, using it for admirable innovation and creativity, we also have to think about how it generates justice for all and bring about an environmental wellbeing that we can be proud of. Primitiveness is a foil to progress; but irresponsible mental creativity and unrestrained technological advancement are engines of cultural and environmental destructiveness.
Source by Stephen Ainsah-Mensah