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Opinion

The Measure of Intelligence, Redeeming Nigeria from Moral Precipice

Intelligence is often measured by way of standardized IQ tests which in a sense, is parochial. I bring up this argument in my recently published book, The Code: A Simple Story about Raising Great Women. And while I broach the subject of how we measure intelligence from a broader perspective; as a means truly understanding the strengths of our girl-children in order to harness it, my underlying premise aligns with the popular quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein which says:

‘Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’

How true! In my book, I devote a chapter to the eight original intelligences as described by Harvard professor, Howard Gardener in his book, Frames of Mind, adapting them to parenting; how moms and dads share the responsibility of understanding which of the eight their children have high quotients in, as means of helping these kids develop until they reach some sort of genius.

The eight intelligences, more popularly referred to as the Theory of Multiple Intelligence include;

  • Linguistic intelligence (word smartness)
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence (number/reasoning smartness)
  • Spatial intelligence (picture smartness)
  • Bodily-Kinaesthetic intelligence (body smartness)
  • Musical intelligence (music smartness)
  • Interpersonal intelligence (people smartness)
  • Intrapersonal intelligence (self-smartness)
  • Naturalist intelligence (nature smartness)

If you look very closely at the quick definitions I put in parenthesis beside the eight intelligences, you may agree with me as to the veracity of my argument. Simply put, people are smart differently and standardizing the measure of intelligence in form of IQ tests is nothing short of an anomaly. We just aren’t smart the same way. Some people are word smart and others are music smart. Even music maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti alluded in part to this phenomenon when he said;

‘Book sense different from belly sense’

That said, I have been studying a rare form of intelligence, called Moral Intelligence; a smartness of right from wrong. And while this article makes no judgement as to political views or religious leanings, a recent piece of legislation regarding granting amnesty to economic saboteurs in Nigeria perturbed me into writing this piece and raises the question as to whether there are morally intelligent people in the country’s political leadership.

As with all intelligences, I hypothesize that moral intelligence is both inborn and can be honed. And that in creating a society that is morally intelligent, the government, by way of its education and national orientation policies can emphasize moral instruction as a means of improving the overall moral intelligence average of the country.

Without doubt, some people are morally smarter, without the input of any religious or moral instruction while others aren’t. We have all come across the truthful hedonist and degenerate religious leader who fails to practice what he preaches. People can in character lead a double life based on their moral smartness. And so policy makers, in public and private sectors, have the onus of looking for ways to funnel these moral intelligent people into the country’s leadership by way of educational policy.

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Nehikhare Omotayo Igbinijesu is an Economist, Poet, and Social Entrepreneur. 'He is the author of The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Great Women' and 'Marriage: 12 Questions You Need To Ask Before You Say, “I Do”'. He lives in Lagos with his wife, Akudo and two sons. He is Co-founder of Stuffsilos.com, a motivational resources company based in Lagos. You can email him via nehijesu [at] yahoo.co.uk

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