Much have been said, written and discussed about intelligence, although this word has only served for many years to label and even segregate the intelligents from those who are not. Thus, when we accept the quote: “common sense is the least common of all the senses”, the next level is considering that intelligence is a rather scarce capacity, something in danger of extinction. So, when the smart ones are the least because they can do something for which others are incapacitated, we assume intelligence as a gift, immovable and segregationist. In the purest Binnet style.
Luckily, some years ago, other intelligence concepts have proliferated, such as the pretty famous Emotional Intelligence or Multiple Intelligences. These have come to save the reputation of those who, historically, have been considered less intelligent. But … beyond the probable existence of various types of intelligence, the truth is that most people continue to value the others and themselves according to the ancient canons of the intellect.
However, what is intelligence? What does it mean to be an intelligent person? Paradoxically, the answers can be quite different because historically the concept of intelligence has been related to the school environment, to knowledge. Being intelligent is associated with success, with the possibility of succeed and be easily inserted into society.
Anyway, everything is relative. We already know it. Perhaps intelligence is also relative and contextualized. The story is full of examples of great people who were exceptional in some fields of science and simply a disaster in many others. Is it clever who makes a scientific discovery or the plumber who finds a diverse solution to the problem with pipes? I would say they have diverse social recognitions, perhaps varying degrees of creativity but … intelligence …
In short, that there is no intelligence in a vacuum, as an abstraction; there is intelligence for something for which we are all intelligent, only in different things. In every human being there are capacities that make him useful and necessary for other human beings. So, I would say that intelligence is knowing what we are smart for.