"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.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
What's Trite? What's Not?
Here’s what I found:
Boring, not fresh or original.
Synonym: stereotyped, lacking the freshness that evokes attention or interest. Worn out by overuse so as to become dull and meaningless.
Life is so packed with paradox. I get what trite means in the dictionary sense. Overused phrases, tired sitcom themes, saccharin color schemes that remind me of social occasions - like holidays. Let’s not even get started on the downward spiral holiday memories are capable of evoking. Nothing about that little piece of collective unconscious is fresh or original.
But where does daily practice fit? I’ve spent ten years trying to stay in present time. Chopping wood. Carrying water. Keeping it simple. Living in the moment. Not jumping. What an interesting list of trite phrases. You might begin to think my life is boring. Not fresh or original.
And there’s the paradox. The activities that keep me centered, authentic, and real could easily be dismissed as trite. It’s all phrasing and context. How much outside influence have you bought into lately?
I propose that trite is a word so imbued with fear-based power it actually keeps us from engaging authentically with ideas, and by association, with right living. Heaven forbid something I think or write be dismissed as trite. Or that my life be judged uninteresting or boring. Not fresh or original.
What about the phrase new age? Remember how fresh and original new age used to be? On the brink of something. Open to creative thinking and an engaged approach to spirit. But somewhere along the line the meaning of new age shifted. No more fresh possibility. Only disdain for a phrase now considered the epitome of trite.
Which is why a healthy dose of skepticism is a valuable asset. When we hear words but never stop to think about them, we buy into a collective branding of our unique take on reality. When a whole set of deceptively simple ideas is dismissed as trite because advertising has the nerve to co-opt the veneer of a deep idea and drop it into a TV commercial, then we lose an important connection to the original profound thought.
It’s a challenge to stay in present time and keep analyzing the world and words around us. You have to embrace a little bit of rebel archetype - someone who is never afraid to say, “Oh yeah?”
And that’s what I’m choosing to do. Live my simple life and keep working on my authentic self – trite as it may sound. If I can live through the paradoxes of my own life then I can decide for myself what trite is. I don’t want to take thinking for granted. That’s the best trite-avoidance behavior I can engage in. I highly recommend it.