Notes on Intelligence

Artist: Linda Apple

A man stares at a fork in the road and retreats. Day after day he returns, without a decision. One day he arrives with a woman who will not let him retreat. He faces the fork, and notices that beyond the apex to the right are more flowers to pick for the woman. He leads her toward them, and they follow the path marked by rose bushes…

Intelligence (as defined by Google/New Oxford American Dictionary): 1) the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

Not only must you be able to gain information, you must be able to use it. 

One may need to establish its use before seeking it out. I’m sure one may be in a position to gain information first, but without any necessity, the information is as good as a handoff in football that doesn’t gain any yards.

Taking a look at the philosophy of information, one may hypothesize; “all information has a purpose.” Sure, one can peruse information for no use at all. This is called browsing. Therefore a purpose is necessary if the information is indeed to be used and the above definition of intelligence is fulfilled. Therefore, intelligence is double sided. Much like a coin with “information” on one side, and “purpose” on the other. Yet this metaphor is not absolutely accurate. It is more like a balancing act. The measure of information may increase to a level that provokes action. Action to levels that provoke inquiry. 

Acquisition of information without need of any of the facts one gains is a waste of that person’s time, an injury to their sense of logic, and a wound to their ability to do work (their energy).

It makes sense that they crave purpose. A reason. A chain of logical next moves. Their information is useless. For this reason alone, one must empty their cup before filling it. Previously gained information may be unused as they physically decay starving for activation.

A coach tells his team how much potential they have and immediately puts their skills to use on the playing field. A stocker doesn’t unload a truck to let product sit at the dock— he stocks the shelves.

You cannot simply possess information. You must be ready to use it. Otherwise you will find resentment for your source. 

Intelligence is a machine. It is not a rock. But is not heaven, nor is it hell. It is the awareness of the option to act in favor of one option or another during the moment a choice is required. It is, in a word: Discernment.

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