"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. In effect, the people who change our lives the most begin to sing to us while we are still in darkness. If we listen to their song, we will see the dawning of a new part of ourselves."
Existential Intelligence is the sensitivity and capacity to engage questions about human existence – how we got here, whether we have a purpose, and whether there is meaning in Life. Existential intelligence embraces the exploration of aesthetics, philosophy, religion and values like beauty, truth, and goodness. A strong existential intelligence allows human beings to see their place in the big picture, be it in the classroom, community, world, or universe.
First proposed by Howard Gardner, existential intelligence is one of nine theorized intelligences and is considered to be amoral – that is, it and the other eight categories of human intelligence can be used either constructively or destructively.
Friday, July 2, 2010
The Power of Memes
Memes are like genes in the sense that they evolve by being passed from one human generation to the next. We inherit memes just as we inherit genes. But memes are not like genes where it really counts. Your genetic code isn’t easily altered. Your memetic code, on the other hand, can be rejected or accepted. Taking a look at your personal memes can reveal surprising realities about how you think and respond to the world, because as theorists point out, “The memes that replicate effectively spread the farthest and fastest, and some memes may replicate effectively even when they prove detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.”
Detrimental to the welfare of their hosts! In case anyone is wondering, that means some of the ideas you grew up with are bad for you. I have a feeling an inventory of memes related to creativity would read something like this:
I don’t have a creative bone in my body.
I was never any good at (fill in the blank) drawing, painting, singing, writing...
I’m not really an artist.
Men are better artists than women.
I just play around; I don’t really make art.
Artists can’t make a living in this society/city/world.
Quilting isn’t really art; it’s a craft.
Art is more important than craft.
Musicians never make any money.
I am not that creative; anyone could do this.
Sound familiar or do you have your own personalized versions of creativity memes?
You may not be able to change your genetic make-up. But you can recognize the negative energy embedded in the above list of cultural memes and rebuke them. Christiane Northrup calls for an open conversation and confrontation of memes – and suggests that talking about hurtful, limiting memes is the equivalent of vaccinating participants against them. Naming is power. Recognizing a meme as the psychological limitation it represents is the first step in dismantling it.
So I am calling for an open conversation and confrontation of the memes that play out in our sacred creative spaces. An inventory of your outdated, subliminal, and hurtful memes is in order! Make a list and dismiss any idea that doesn’t serve your creative growth. Just because you thought it doesn’t make it true. Get a fresh take and breathe some new creative air. Clarity is good.