Re: What is intelligence (Was Re: neuro mods.....)

From: Robert Owen (
Date: Thu Feb 24 2000 - 14:43:25 MST

Zero Powers wrote:

> Seems pretty obvious to me that you don't have to be very intelligent to
> experience emotion, laughter and fun. Monkeys seem to experience all three,
> not to mention human idiots. Although creativity certainly takes some
> degree of intelligence, it could be argued that creativity is simply the
> ability to solve a problem in a unique way.

Whitehead says somewhere that laughing at an accepted theoretical
statement is the first sign that something radically new is about to
emerge. I doubt that any species other than our own "laughs" as we
do -- this prompted Aristotle to toy with the definition of man as
"homo risibilis". This presumes there is an actual difference between
the simian, or canine, baring of teeth which resembles a grin, and
that human response to cognitive dissonance called "laughter".

Before problem-solving behavior occurs, in other words, there has to
be a conceived problem, just as it is generally believed that the real
intellectual feat is asking a new question, or reforming an old one, in
such a way that it is answerable in one way or another.

Thus the adequate description of a problem or formulation of some
valid question presupposes "intelligence"; both seem to require
"emotional" motivation and "ironical laughter at contradiction". And
both imply novelty and innovation, hence "creativity". So it does
seem to me that problem-solving, a subset of which is question-
answering, implies the integral application of these four processes.


Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA

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