"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.
Monday, March 21, 2011
An apology. I never meant to imply that the books I have written are not useful. I am proud of my books. I consider the time and money extended by anyone who has honored me by purchasing one or more of them, well spent. I am sorry if I offended anyone by linking my doubt about being blog-worthy to your good sense about reading and learning from me. Please forgive me.
So I will keep writing, and I thank you for your expressions of concern and also your hard knocks on the head. I don’t think what I felt was cynicism; more like a sort of despair about where Art and making fit in. About relevancy. Your comments buoyed and surprised me, and since I am a big girl, I will pull away from any sort of poor me mentality that might have infected my thoughts and my writing. Caroline Myss wrote something to this effect – if you avoid the news, world events, and don’t engage actively with others, you aren’t being who you were meant to be. You aren’t fulfilling your potential.
My potential includes community building. That’s what counts and that’s what we’re doing here. And we’re good at it – as your many comments prove.
Revelations come in unexpected forms. I was listening to NPR and Scott Simon told a story about two dog companions found in the rubble aftermath of the earthquake. One dog refused to leave the other until humans rescued them together. He tied this to the story of a puppy just sold to a private buyer in China for over a million dollars. The breeder called the puppy a perfect specimen. Simon queried, “Of the dogs in the two stories, which really was the perfect specimen?”
Next came a forwarded letter from my friend Edie. I asker her permission to share the letter here and it follows in its entirety, for your consideration:
Today I received an email with this enclosed letter from a Japanese student of Zen now back in her home country. Thought you would appreciate it.
Hello My Lovely Family and Friends,
First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am very touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all. But it seems the best way at the moment to get my message to you.
Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend's home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.
During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line-up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their home, they put out sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.
Utterly amazingly where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, "Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another."
Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.
We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on.
But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.
There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun.
People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.
Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled.
The mountains of Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.
And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.
They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend's husband came in from the country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.
Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don't. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent. Thank you again for your care and Love of me.
With Love in return, to you all.”
Gifts in unexpected packaging. Opportunities to become perfect specimens.
Thank you for being there.