Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Intelligence as a style of life

“By intelligence we mean a style of life, a way of behaving in various situations, and particularly
in new, strange, and perplexing situations. The true test of intelligence is not how much we
know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do. The intelligent person,
young or old, meeting a new situation or problem, opens himself up to it; he tries to take in with
mind and senses everything he can about it; he thinks about it, instead of about himself or what it might cause to happen to him; he grapples with it boldly, imaginatively, resourcefully, and if not confidently at least hopefully; if he fails to master it, he looks without shame or fear at his
mistakes and learns what he can from them. Clearly its roots lie in a certain feeling about life,
and one's self with respect to life. Just as clearly, unintelligence is not what most psychologists
seem to suppose, the same thing as intelligence only less of it. It is an entirely different style of
behavior, arising out of an entirely different set of attitudes." (Holt, 1964, p. 165 Beginnings and Beyond)

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