Thursday, June 15, 2006

An Infuriating Thought Experiment on the War for Hearts and Minds

For the first two thirds of the last century, the dominant American notion of intelligence, promoted by Binet, Terman, Wechsler, Thorndike, and Spearman, that there is a "single entity" that can be called "intelligence," was seriously challenged only once, by Thurstone, who claimed there were seven "primary mental abilities"—verbal comprehension, verbal fluency, number, spatial visualization, inductive reasoning, memory, and perceptual speed. Then, in 1967, Guilford suddenly announced 120 forms of intelligence, then 150. In 1971 Cattell claimed conventional IQ tests revealed only "crystallized intelligence," which was a culture-bound construct underlain by "fluid intelligence." Theorists incredulous of IQ results showing that American Blacks score lower than Whites on IQ tests have made tests on which Whites score lower than Blacks. Others claimed conventional IQ tests showed only "convergent intelligence," which they supposed to be less significant than "divergent intelligence," something more indicative of creativity. Some now claim that "emotional intelligence" is more important to success in living than IQ. In the early 1970's, MENSA, an organization for which membership had originally been restricted to people with IQ scores in the top 2% of the population, retested its members with crystallized and fluid intelligence tests, and found that the majority who passed one failed the other. This created a crisis for MENSA and for intelligence testers, so for some time test after test was invented.

My own favorite pithy critique of IQ is Michio Kaku's: he asserted that IQ tests merely measure "White male clerical skills." Liam Hudson argued on sociological evidence that modern intelligence tests has been created by a cult of psychological testers who had been told upon university entrance that they had high IQ's and so equated whatever they happened to do best with intelligence itself. Stephen Jay Gould made two connected arguments. His historical argument is that IQ tests developed because the French government was persuaded that phrenology and skull size were inadequate methods for tracking students, but that there was no principle behind the selection of the 18 IQ subtests. His mathematical argument, a variant of Thurstone's challenge to the factor analysis Spearman used to prove a single entity exists, is that the single entity theory is an inherently unprovable assumption for analyzing data that can equally well be analyzed on the assumption that there are any number of such entities. Such criticisms have opened the door to a wide variety of alternative tests.

The most prominent liberal advocate of new ways to assess intelligence is Howard Gardner. In 1983 he argued, like Thurstone, that there are seven forms of intelligence, but gave a new list: linguistic, logico-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. This new list has been adopted by advocates of special treatment for gifted children. The 1970's debates began to die down intellectually because Gardner had offered a way to avoid the need to decide on any single crucial number.

The timing of the intelligence debates may be socially and politically significant. 1967 was the peak of the political success of the Civil Rights Movement, which began to lose hope with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in April, 1968. 1971 was the last year the Supreme Court strengthened precedents favoring expansion of egalitarian principles, San Antonio v Rodriguez marking the beginning of the backlash that gained its clear racial color in Bakke in 1978. Reagan's structural adjustment policies, supporting the right of corporations to terminate employees without cause, and therefore to hire and fire on the basis of how well an employee "fit the corporate image," caused massive unemployment in 1981-2. So by 1983, US citizens knew that hopes for substantial social reform were dead and that careers were at stake in non-conformist debates about social issues. Arguments leading to the pronouncement of seven forms of intelligence thus took place during the years that hopes for social reform was fighting for their life, and by 1983 the educational interests of gifted children and Blacks were politically opposed, the first being permissible, the second not, though an isolated rear guard action of reform continued in Black areas of large American cities.

In 1994 the single entity theory returned with a vengeance in Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve. The Republican form of multinational dominance had been growing steadily for fourteen years, so the argument that Blacks were genetically inferior to Whites in intelligence was a welcome addition to the Republican arsenal of rationales for cutting welfare as a waste of money. In the furor, the search for multiple intelligences was eclipsed: the public issue became not whether or not the single entity theory was true, but whether intelligence was genetic. The US debate ground its gears and shifted back to the issues thought relevant in the 1920's, when social change was also thought impossible. Domestically, Gardner's position became relegated to issues of gifted children. But it grows internationally. Internationally it is useful, for it shows no hint of the flagrant racism that, since the 1950's, has limited the international intellectual respectability of the US. American racism is to be packaged in euphemisms and marked "for domestic consumption only." Gardner's doctrine is good for the New World Order.

Gardner's position reveals some of the ideological workings of "social science." Gardner has neglected many abilities that can purport to be forms of intelligence, and his psychological and social analyses suffer as a result. Imagining some of them puts his position in perspective.

Let us say that "HIQ" purports to measure "hallucinatory intelligence." The ability to create images so vivid that the perceiver finds them at least as impressive as sensory perception is clearly a powerful form of mental activity. David Hume, the founder of British Empiricism, was an HIQ moron who asserted that "external" sense perception was vivid whereas "internal" ideas were pale and fleeting. The oppression of HIQ genius that originated in empiricism has spread throughout the Western world. When the HIQ's of the population are measured, we find that most of the scorers at the high end of the bell curve are confined to mental institutions, while among HIQ retardates we find accountants, who are given substantial responsibilities. That institutions isolate HIQ geniuses from the rest of society, depriving society of their benefits, while promoting HIQ idiots, shows that American society is very sick. It has rejected the very people who have been thought among the most important creators and founders of other cultures and cultural movements, such as Gautama Siddhartha, Martin Luther, Ezekial, Crazy Horse, William Blake, Vivekenanda, and Jesus of Nazareth. HIQ MENSA argues that empiricism is a hypocritical epistemology because its proponents, openly confessing that their ideas have no vigor, must lack any important reason to believe in their truth. HIQ MENSA has petitioned ECOSOC under the Freedom of Thought provisions of Human Rights Covenants, charging that the American Psychiatric Association has abused administrative legal procedure in order to allow people without ideas to incarcerate those who have them. HIQ MENSA presents massive evidence of collusion between the sister organizations of the APA and the legal systems of the G8 countries to use arbitrary rules to suppress ideation in order to replace it with mass media imagery. The petition includes unimpeachable allegations falling under the Convention against Torture, showing that its members are tortured with electric shock, mutilation misleadingly called "lobotomies," and mind-damaging drugs such as insulin and Thorazine. ECOSOC, of course, is prevented by rules of sovereignty from taking any action.

HSQ is the "horse sense quotient." Like the IQ test, the HSQ "Dolittle test" has verbal and operational subscores, but is more difficult to administer. Among the verbal tasks are the paraphrase of wolf howls, cat and mockingbird vocalizations, moose calls, and lobster squeaks. Among the operational tasks are tracking kangaroos through heavy brush, teaching the common octopus to unscrew the lids of Skippy peanutbutter jars containing shrimp, hypnotizing poison dart frogs, persuading Doberman pinschers to behave like lapdogs, catching lionfish bare-handed, and extracting honeycomb from African honeybee hives. The differences in scores are more extreme than on any other test. The Inuit, the Hourani, the Bantu, Zen monks, and animal trainers have obtained scores over 250. Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson scored below 10. The American population as a whole averages 120 in the 5-12 age group but only 55 in the 35-50 age group. HSQ theorists argue that ecological and environmental collapse ultimately are caused by the extreme cultural bias against HSQ. Finding only 11% of the population watches the Animal Channel more than one hour a week, HSQ devotees have lobbied to have Lassie and Rin Tin Tin refilmed in order to build popular support for biodiversity, but have had no success. HSQ geniuses now find themselves isolated even in the Environmental Movement, and since 1981 their suicide rate has gone up by 43%.

RQ is the "ruminative quotient," which has no correlation with IQ. Even-toed ungulates and Soren Kierkegaard were found to have equally high scores. Upper caste Indians score higher in RQ than any other cultural group, and theorists conjecture that the actual function of the deification of cows has been to maintain high RQ scores in Indian society. Americans are RQ sub-normals, scoring far below Europeans and the Japanese. RQ has some association with creativity and a high correlation with tolerance of boredom. In generational studies from 1945 to 2000, researchers found a reciprocal relationship between television viewing and RQ, and that RQ declined by 62% in the American population during that time. RQ theorists have found that waste, compulsive consumption, and environmental deterioration are also inversely correlated with RQ. RQ theorists called into multinational treaty negotiations have argued on behalf of India that environmental law should not be applied to India unless the American government takes measures in national educational policy to raise the average American RQ. The Indian government points to the disgraceful treatment to which the US government subjected Osho, an RQ genius, and asserts that until America learns respect for RQ, negotiations on a wide range of environmental and trade issues are pointless.

The Japanese language has the concept of "amai," which means the ability of a dependent to control the actions of the person depended upon. American testers, typically unsentimental toward the Japanese conception, purport to have measured amai by the SUQ, the "suck-up quotient." Some young SUQ geniuses, like Shirley Temple, Micky Rooney, and Horatio Alger, have had success in later life, while some SUQ retardates, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bob Dylan, Thomas Edison, and Howard Hughes, have been equally successful. SUQ therefore is a scale orthogonal to the emotional intelligence scale. American psychiatry, in its systematic prejudice against dependency, is bigotted against SUQ geniuses, yet is not entirely supportive of SUQ morons, who are sometimes regarded as anti-social. The American Psychological Association's official position favors SUQ imbecility, but close textual analysis reveals a preference for SUQ mediocrity.

MQ is the manipulation quotient. In the psychiatric literature, MQ geniuses are frequently designated as psychopaths and high scorers as sociopaths, but in the political science literature, their genius is recognized without reservation. MQ morons, like Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assissi, achieve recognition only in currently unusual institutional contexts, so there is now a high correlation between MQ, corporate power, financial success, and a moderate correlation with fame. MQ is popularly mistaken for HQ, discussed below, but in fact is more highly correlated with SUQ. While the HQ genius acts out fantasies, the MQ genius is tactical. High MQ targets people and manipulates them to reach particular goals. The SUQ genius does not seek dominance, but support, and complies to achieve it. The MQ genius complies tacticly in order to misdirect and subvert the plans of others, then asserts dominance. The MQ genius regards social life as a set of chess games in which the opponents do not fully understand the rules, and, like a blindfolded chess master, can play a number of opponents at once. The covert connection between SUQ and MQ is that the MQ genius is actually just as dependent as the SUQ genius, but is dependent on a shifting configuration of opponents rather than on any one of them. The MQ genius never sincerely admits dependency, whereas the SUQ genius makes dependency so conspicuous that the designated caretaker risks complete social ostracism if he does not give in.

Addictive capacity is measured by the ACQ. Advocates of globalization regard ACQ as the form of intelligence most needed to establish a stable consumer market. ACQ geniuses have a special combination of multiple intelligences that allows them simultaneously to serve the urgent needs of the tobacco, pharmaceutical, alcohol, gambling, restaurant, and prostitution industries, as well as advancing the sales of new cars, the growth of administrative power, speculation on the futures market, and corporate take-overs. Mulinationals therefore regard ACQ as essential to expansion of GNP, and continually lobby the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO to promote educational programs around the world to develop ACQ in the general population.

IdQ measures the Ideological Quotient. IdQ idiots, like Atticus, Diogenes, and Einstein, don't have a clue what say if they gain power. IdQ geniuses like Adolph Hitler, Kim Il Sung, Papa Doc, Rupert Murdoch, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher, like draftsmen, exhibit a form of intelligence inversely correlated with analytical abilities. Conventional IQ tests were heavily biased against them, and so were biased against one of greatest needs of the contemporary state, the need to train people to ignore reality in order to pursue policies systematically designed to advance the interests of investors and the politicians they control. IdQ advocates argue that IQ is essentially anti-social in its bias against IdQ, recommend the re-education of IQ testers, and, in cases of incorrigibility, incarceration, so IQ testers cannot continue to harm society. IdQ testers are most alarmed by the growth of divergent and fluid intelligence, and recommend that high scorers on those tests should be surgically removed from society in the same way any other tumor is.

HQ measures hysterical capacity, the ability to dramatize emotions one does not have. The Education Ministries of eleven countries have declared HQ as a national human resource because it is necessary to the development of other abilities needed in the modern world, such as IdQ and ACQ, with which it is positively correlated. HQ testers find that HQ is the "leading edge" of IdQ and ACQ; when HQ rises, IdQ and ACQ rise within 15 to 30 years; when it declines, they decline rapidly. Unlike most forms of intelligence, HQ does not follow a bell curve; instead, its graph looks like the top half of a camel, with a large head at the right end of the scale, a gap between 135 and 110, the midline at the shoulder, and a large hump to the left of the midline. This failure to follow the normal distribution, of course, indicates that HQ is a composite of at least two different abilities, and it is hypothesized that the interfering factor might be designated as "will power." Sociologists find that HQ geniuses, who may have HQ plus "will power," are suprisingly common, highly successful, and prominent; HQ has a far higher correlation with success than IQ has. There is, in fact, a high concentration of the highest IQ scorers at the extreme left, just below the tail of the camel, as it were, in the range of HQ imbecility, at scores of 15 to 20. HQ advocates consider such people to be human vegetables, totally incapable of expressing emotion unless absolutely compelled to by obscure internal forces that the advocates claim are innately anti-social.

The flexibility the advocates of gifted children are demanding of the American school system is, of course, a good, though its restriction to 3 to 5% of American children is not. Of course, the US educational system, which used to attract the most brilliant women in the country before women could get other jobs, and used to have fine mathematics and science teachers before corporations stole most of them away, is no longer capable of teaching more than 10% of its students on the Deweyan principles that made some public schools great before the 1970's. This is particularly true because corporate publicity campaigns for 50 years have made people mistrust all government institutions and because corporate opinion regard for the "real world of business" which is supposed to be responsible for the creation of everything has trickled down to make public school teaching scorned and humiliating work.

The operative legal concept in the transformation has been "need" : once the handicapped were protected, the gifted could be proclaimed to have special needs also. The question, "Need for what?" wasn't asked; the handicapped need what they need to approach normality; the gifted need what they need to become supernormal. The majority of the population resentfully accepted the legislative and court mandate the handicapped because they had to recognize that exclusion from the mainstream was oppressive. They now seem to accept special treatment for the gifted because it is claimed to be in the national interest. San Antonio v Rodriguez put a federal ceiling on the need that poor and even average communities could claim for their children: all arguments for the needs of "normal" people, that is, for nearly everyone, have spend decades going through state courts and legislatures. Those courts and legislatures are free to make the fraudulent claim that they hold "community control" of education in such high esteem that, even when they require standard curricula, community independence is being served by having one school district spend as much as 69 times as much money per student as another. (That was the ratio of the property tax per student in Quogue and Cattaragus Counties in New York in 1980.) Of course, some community independence is being served: that of the communities with the highest property values. It takes some cleverness to mask plutocracy in democratic legal language. But the means of disguise are constitutional: though the Declaration of Independence says we combined to protect "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the Constitution says our reason was to protect "life, liberty, and property," and was signed by the richest men in the country. The Supremes take a proper interest in the distinction.

The overall effect on the system is the relative educational impoverishment of over 90% of the students. A democratic gloss is put on this: the principle is supposed to be that the system is serving all the students, but equivocates on all questions of quality and funding of the vast majority. Parents withdraw their children from the public schools in droves—a process Milton Friedman calls "voting with one's feet." The foot vote seems to evince the opinion that the schools are not democratic, and may even mean no one even wants them to be any more.

Now, with acceptance of the gifted child routine, the system has accepted the basic principle that, to those who have, more should be given, while, to those who have not, mediocrity and mindless repetition are acceptable, though loss, of course, may be preferable, because, though what the majority consume individually is paltry, their collective consumption reduces what is left for the uniquely deserving and needy elite. 95 to 97% of any population, after all, can take quite a chunk out of the possessions of the beleaguered 3 to 5%, no matter how assiduously they are protected. This resolute devotion to the nascient elite shows a strong correlation with Republican funding guidelines, which in turn derive from Trilateral Commission principles designed to secure the interests of investors, who need the elite to advance intellectual property rights, the primary source of wealth in the corporate world.

Back to the thought experiment. When the scores of the eight forms of intelligence above are calculated, let us imagine, 32% of American children are found to have genius in at least one dimension. When other high scores from the full Puerile Intelligence Test Battery (PITB) are included, such as the MDQ (manual dexterity quotient), the CCQ (class clown quotient)—the puerile form of the adult IPQ (Incongruity Perception Quotient)—and the DOVRUDIQ (the diversionary obfuscation via redundantly unnecessary dubious information quotient), 50% of American children show genius. The result of ignoring such tests is not negligible. The DOVRUDIQ and CCQ scores, for instance, have high correlations with adult creativity test scores. The 50% who do not show genius on the PITB, moreover, on the average have scores over 130 in two or more dimensions.

The restriction of giftedness to 3 to 5% of the population is a tendentious result based on a selection of indices that, rather than following any general principle, is merely the intersect of traditional academic preferences and perceived corporate need. The academic establishment is adjusting itself to corporate pressure to recognize a wider range of abilities than the clerical skills the IQ test measured.

The ideological compromise by which giftedness is recognized derives from Professor Gardner's immense prestige as a wage slave of the Harvard Board of Trustees, an elite servility to which nearly all academics aspire, as highly regarded as the position of manse servant used to be among field slaves.

The "intelligences" Professor Gardner has chosen are a fusion of those valued in polite academic American society and those valued by corporate America. What Professor Gardner calls "linguistic" intelligence is what the 9 verbal subtests of the IQ test measure; "logico-mathematical" intelligence is what the 9 operational subtests measure. Spatial intelligence is a composite of artistic, architectural, geometrical, and imaging skills framed on Thurstone's original model. Draftsmanship, a skill in commercial demand, was once found to have an inverse relationship to IQ. Professor Gardner saves its esteem by including it among an array of valued spatial skills. Esteem for logico-mathematical, linguistic, and spatial intelligences are, thus, for the most part, shared by academia and the corporate world.

More tension vibrates around the other four "intelligences." The residual humanistic element of academic society values musical and intrapersonal intelligences too highly to allow corporations to reject them out of hand, as they wish to. Corporations and politicians put so high a premium on kinesthetic-bodily and interpersonal intelligences that academia cannot afford to scorn them.

Now let's compare the thought experiment to Gardner. Why claim just seven intelligences? MQ, ACQ, IdQ, and HQ are also highly regarded and promoted by American corporate society, but Howard Gardner does not advocate their recognition because polite academics don't regard them as humane skills. HIQ, SUQ, and HSQ are not valued in American society, and Howard Gardner, like other Americans, disregards them.

America generally does not value RQ either. RQ is closest to what Gardner calls intrapersonal (or introspective) intelligence, which he finds Virginia Woolf epitomized. Virginia Woolf is an exemplar valuable for this argument because academic humanists, feminists, and Anglophiles hold her in high esteem, enabling Gardner to elicit the support of the wives of executives and politicians to prevent self-knowledge from being peremptorily thrown out of the hallowed halls. Professor Gardner does not contemplate the implications of epitomizing self-knowledge with a woman who committed suicide, but perhaps suicide is the appropriate course for a bearer of self-knowledge in the modern world. This kindly argument on behalf of self-knowledge, generous in that it seems not to be Professor Gardner's own forte, is yet his most courageous effort to reform corporate power a bit, but he would not reform it toward Osho, Kierkegaard, Brahminism, or Zen Buddhism—let alone, say, Sufism or Voodoo, which also have highly developed contemplative practices.

Professor Gardner's interpersonal intelligence can be construed as a composite of SUQ and MQ, but he does not wish to regard social intelligence as an ability that is used according to one's social position: when one is dependent, it registers as SUQ, but, when one commands or competes, as MQ. Nor would corporate sentiment allow him to regard it as in any way mercenary or egocentric. To Professor Gardner, society is a peaceful, liberal place, like the Harvard campus, and so he fails to perceive the effect of social position on the multiple intelligences. For interpersonal intelligence to have a separate status is a coup for executives and politicians, for they make their living on the basis of their assessment of others. Children identified as gifted in interpersonal intelligence become the commodities on the labor market more highly valued even than those gifted in logico-mathematical intelligence, for they are "management material." Managers who have long tried to conceal their poor academic records can now blame the system for having failed to recognize their genius before graduation.

Professor Gardner has also had to do some footwork, for instance, by including one of Mozart's scores in an appendix, to keep musical intelligence in the corpus. But the intellectual devotion to classical music, the size of the market for popular music, and the corporate use of Muzak to mesmerize employees and customers, have allowed him to escape corporate censure for its inclusion.

It's a good idea to include kinesthetic-bodily intelligence among the other six necessary because that kind of brilliance is needed for what Bertram Gross calls corporate America's "friendly fascist" portrayal of itself to the public. Through their commitment to athletics, multinationals persuade a majority of US voters that corporations share their values. The desire of some sequestered academics not to regard athletics as a form of intelligence must yield to the corporate need to solidify its political and social domestic support. Therefore, the kinesthetic-bodily must be regarded as a form of intelligence based on what Michael Polanyi calls "tacit knowledge."

Professor Gardner, trained in neurology, which detects neural activity when people run around and talk to each other, has some reason to tell academics to reconsider their views on kinesthetic-bodily and interpersonal intelligences: "Try them, you'll like them, Manja." Even though the academics would rather sit in their offices and read than run around and talk, academic budget lines partially funded by collegiate football and basketball make university administrators think Professor Gardner's conclusion erudite. So in conferences administrators suggest that the old Oxford don types are really a little stuffy and anachronistic and need to join the modern world, an enlightened place in need of the substantial contributions of the unique forms of intelligence of athletes and ad men. The old dons nod their heads and say, "Ah yes, people do things outside our offices, we can see them throwing frisbees and gossiping on the Quad. Some kind of intelligence in that, what, eh?" All along the football and basketball coaches have been unrecognized geniuses in both interpersonal and kinesthetic-bodily intelligence, so the old dons mumble apologies, give them honorary degrees, and shut their office doors.

Professor Gardner himself seems to be kindly soul, but his IdQ seems marginally higher than his IQ score—which, of course, doesn't mean that much. It is understandable that IdQ should be his highest score. Harvard, for all its liberality, puts a high social premium on IQ, and so creates the desire in people unsatisfied with their scores to enhance others' perception of themselves. Because, in general our servility, we believe judges and assessors are superior to defendants and objects of study, assuming the role of assessing genius is a sure method of enhancing reputation. Though Professor Gardner's IdQ is not as high as Spearman's, it is far higher than Stephen Jay Gould's. Gould shows signs of contentment with his IQ. With the exception of 1848, when Karl Marx's IdQ score experienced a sudden growth spurt associated with contemporary revolutions, Professor Gardner's IdQ score may even be higher than Marx's, though surely it cannot touch Engels', let alone Stalin's, which was as high as Thatcher's and Reagan's. But, because Professor Gardner stands steadfast in the midst of established academic power, with the kind of stance Adlai Stevenson and JFK had, pretending to represent democracy while serving an elite, this peculiarity of "social science" goes unnoticed. In the noon sunlight of public regard for "social science," Professor Gardner's own small candle of ideology is only as visible as the flame of a cigarette lighter—good, perhaps, for igniting the grade report of a school-spirited basketball star or an amiable scion whose genius has been overlooked.

Generous soul that he is, Professor Gardner wants his vision to extend to the whole world. People everywhere should be able to develop all seven intelligences freely. But folks like Mr. Covey, who has discovered seven habits of highly effective people, have more clout with the interpersonal geniuses, the managers. The managers know that what you're supposed to be effective at is increasing profits; why else would US law require that any shareholder shall recover losses from any CEO who cannot prove in court that his own decision was reasonably designed to maximize profit? So the managers see a happy fit: if we all use our seven intelligences guided by our seven effective habits, profit will be maximized! Adam Smith told us what to do with our factories, now we know what to do with our human resources—that is, the ones who come to our Refresher Courses, who can pass it on to the folks in the factories, who can pass it on to their unemployed relatives. The managers see a straight line of decent from Aristotle's Rational Man to Smith's Rational Actor in the Market to Betham's Rational Investor to Covey's Highly Effective Person to Gardner's Multiply Intelligent Person to Universal Pursuit of Happiness through Property. To the managers it's all the same thing. If Dr. Sen quibbles in vector spaces about Rational Fools, ascetics, the handicapped, and presentable clothes, let him have a Nobel Prize for proving that" economists" have consciences too, but don't disturb the other economists, just pretend they're all like Sen.

So the great vision emanating from Harvard first has to pass through the managerial filter, then through the filter of ruling elites, who are a tad more peremptory, before it can reach Bangladesh, East Timor, and Angola, and it has to maximize profits at every step. So it becomes the trickle-down theory of education. At least one of the intelligences does in fact sometimes trickle down. The manual dexterity component of kinesthetic-bodily intelligence increases when people in Bangladesh maximize profits by stitching shirts for a dollar a day in Bangladesh, though their musical intelligence deteriorates a little because they have to miss their village festivals. East Timorese, escaping helicopter gunships flown by profit-maximizing Indonesians, increase their kinesthetic-bodily intelligence by learning to survive in the surrounding jungle, and though their interpersonal intelligence may suffer a little in isolation, their intrapersonal intelligence might actually increase—though, because paper is unavailable there, they can't leave the kind of record of it Virginia Woolf left. But the benefits aren't universal. Angolans, though surely grateful to have a military government properly impressed by the emulative ideal of exterminating non-profit-maximizing communists, find even their kinesthetic-bodily intelligence declines when soldiers burn their crops and homes, and that the surrounding desert does not replenish it as they starve to death.

Ah, Education! Enlightenment! Professor Gardner, in sharing John Dewey's basic view of it, is quite right: education is not a creature of schools, but of experience itself, particularly social experience. Too bad educators don't control social experience. All they can do is appeal to other teachers, and to parents, and the parents Professor Gardner speaks to are the parents of gifted children, the children profit-maximizers keep their eye on, the young princes and princesses in line for the corporate crowns. The old dons can look out their windows and feel secure that, after they retire, the new princes and princesses will be throwing frisbees and gossiping on the Quad.

Any personality trait can be regarded as an ability, and any ability can be regarded as a form of intelligence. Take two extreme cases, verbal retardation with perseveration and incapacitating depression. The first can be mimicked intentionally, or normal people under the influence of alcohol can fall into it. But no one who is not retarded can perseverate as some of the truly retarded can because the normal are hindered in their perseverative proficiency by memory and self-consciousness. What is to prevent us from defining retarded perseveration as the capacity to say the same thing thousands of times, thereby simultaneously alienating others through boredom, receiving support from them, and avoiding self-consciousness? For some people, for example, the anxious unemployed, who feel in all human contact devastating humiliation, retarded perseveration may be a valuable ability they cannot acquire, even though lack of it may drive them to suicide or starvation. Therefore it can be regarded as a distinctly valuable ability. Once regarded as an ability, retarded perseveration can be construed as a form of intelligence. One can construct a retarded perseveration test, measuring the RPQ. Any response which is not identical to the previous response will be scored negatively. One will then find that the scores of the population follow a bell curve, with retarded perseverators at the extreme right, followed by some alcoholics, the Mickey Mouse Club, and Barnie the stuffed Tyrannosaurus. Because many perseverating alcholics have high IQ's, and many retarded people do not perseverate, RPQ will not be a mere inversion of IQ, but will have its own distinctive dimension. Consequently its score will not be commensurable with any other, and it can be regarded as a unique form of intelligence.

Consider psychotic depression. We can regard its examplars as possessors of a unique ability, the ability to conserve energy. Testing the conservation of energy quotient, CEQ, will reveal that the profoundly depressed, yoga adepts, catatonics, ant lions, hibernating bears, and oysters at low tide all have extraordinarily high CEQ scores. The hyperactive, the manic, certain athletes, commandos, and hard rock singers, will have extremely low scores. The parents of a hyperactive child and the relatives of the vigorously manic search desperately to find some way to increase the CEQ scores of their afflicted relatives. They can point to Galapagos tortoises and people with high scores and say, "Why can't you be like that?" But the hyperactive and the manic can't manage it. Their CEQ capacities are just too low. Professor Gardner can discover that CEQ is a positive ability, he can write a chapter about CEQ geniuses, the relatives can come to him admiringly and ask whether that intelligence can be taught or intentionally increased, and psychologists can set up clinics to raise CEQ scores and restore family tranquility.

A hundred years ago, when the prestige of phrenology was collapsing, though Cesare Lombroso had found that the brain pans of some criminals were far larger than average, it was then found that White brain pans were, on the average, a tiny bit larger than Black brain pans, and that male brains were larger than female brains, so White Male Brains ignored the criminal brains and concluded that Intelligence depends on Brain Size. In the 1920's, however, the average Oriental brain pan was found to be larger than the White. Millions of average-sized White Brains grimly imagined being overrun by Yellow Hordes of millions of larger Chinese Brains. In 1921 Anatole France received the Nobel Prize for literature and, when he died in 1924, was found to have the smallest normal male brain on record. White Brains suddenly thought it very significant that Anatole France's Tiny Brain kept making him say things that appeared Very intelligent, and concluded that Puritan Cromwell's and risqué Byron's Gigantic Brains produced memorable words was Very insignificant. (After all, those Huge-Brain words revealed contradictory puritanical views and un-family-value desires, both unacceptable to 20th Century Polite Reasonable White Men, and therefore could not be indicative of Intelligence; and White Men couldn't remember any huge-brain Chinese words, which they therefore assumed must be similar to huge-brain unmemorable idiot-savant words.) White Male Brains had three choices: they could have maintained that their large brains were smart at the cost of admitting that middle-class hating criminals, monarch-hating folk like Cromwell and Byron, and Orientals were smarter, and that idiot-savants were more savant than idiot, and then had the satisfaction of believing that women, Blacks, and Anatole France were inferior. Or they could have apologized to women and Blacks and elevated Anatole France to intellectual sainthood, classified Cromwell, Byron, and Orientals as criminals, and presented themselves as the Golden Mean. Or they could drop the matter. They dropped the matter.

Something much more exciting had been discovered. When IQ scores from tests written in English were administered to immigrants, Italians, Slavs, Poles, and Jews at Ellis Island scored in the retarded range! IQ tests saved the day by proving the appropriateness of immigrants' submergence at the bottom of the True WASP Meritocracy. And the scores kept Blacks right where the White Men wanted them. So long as one maintained that IQ was innate and hence did not reflect education, experience, or environment, then one could say that low Black scores reflected not lack or education, paucity of experience, or a restricted environment, but "innate inferiority" or "incorrigibility," thereby saving the public purse a goodly sum.

The only remaining problems were Women and Orientals. Women could outscore Men on the verbal half, but so long as the Men could keep the Women out of mathematical training, the Men could keep winning on the operational half. The Orientals could outscore Whites on the operational material, but so long as they didn't learn English, Whites could keep winning on the verbal half. So IQ was Perfect. It showed Innate Intelligence!

Professor Gardner has brushed up the image of meritocracy. He has saved a place for introverts who give evidence of their thoughts and for musicians and artists. He has made a new place for athletes, political tacticians, and persuaders. The new elite can allow the athletes, musicians, and persuaders to make it popular, the persuaders, tacticians, analysts and those talented with language to make it successful, and the introverts to put a gloss of culture on it. Voila! A mentality for rulers of the New World Order, the New Roman Order, the New American Order. Professor Gardner's theory is already in use in elite schools in India; the rest of the world will have it too. The study of genius will be regarded as an act of genius, not as ideology, for only losers are accused of ideology. Let the other 95 to 97% of us lucky Americans scramble for a bit of the boredom, Pepsi, and peanuts left over around the pretzel man's cart while on the 63 rd floor the decisions are made by the multiply intelligent smart guys having coffee and Danishes over the mahogany table in the Boardroom.

In 1945 the US had 50% of the world's wealth. Now it has just 28% of it, and barring nuclear war, environmental collapse, plague, and famine, all more likely to affect the rest of the world than it, its percentage has to keep declining while China's and India's have to keep rising. When one adjusts for purchasing power parity, China is now the world's second largest economy; Japan is third, India fourth. But so many people are required to produce China's and India's wealth, and it is divided up among so many people, that little is left over to affect the rest of the world, so they will continue to appear weak internationally compared to Europe and Japan. Despite the G8 countries' oppression of them through such devices as currency exchange rates, the Bretton Woods Institutions, and the "brain drain" so essential for intellectual property right superiority, China's and India's impact on the world must grow, and with it, their impact on our ways of thinking of ourselves must grow.

Right now a majority of educated people find it sensible to believe that all kinds of ways people do things depend on their intelligence. I guess it will be at least a hundred years before a majority of educated people come to believe that measured of intelligence are just a faulty way of measuring chi, the Chinese concept of the flow of energy. Then, if India's impact on the world comes to exceed China's, I suppose in another hundred years, a majority of educated people may believe that atman is what underlies chi, and the concept of intelligence will be regarded as a bit of history as silly as phrenology and the humors are regarded to be now. By then, I imagine, Africa will be united, and with such a huge continent and such great resources at its command, I imagine African ways of viewing the world will overtake Chinese and Indian ways, and in five hundred or a thousand years, some concept like ahura will be found more vital than humors, phrenology, intelligence, chi, or atman, and will be held to explain much more. So much for White Supremacy and the great white mystery of intelligence.

But who knows? Maybe the Chinese will decide chi is indicative of something more important than intelligence, even if there are seven flavors of intelligence to chose from. Chi might turn out to have more flavors than Baskin Robbins. That would be wonderful: then the teachers wouldn't be able to line their classes up by rank any more, or at least they'd have to change the ranking for every occasion. But I have a hunch chi will turn out to have something to do with family position, and that first sons will be found to have more of it than second sons, and so on. The Indians might find atman so inexpressibly superior to what chi expresses, that when ahura comes to reign supreme, the difference could be literally incalculable. But I suspect atman will turn out to have something to do with caste, and that the most inexpressible difference will turn out to be between the upper castes and the lower castes, whom many Brahmins from time immemorial have thought were retarded. And while IQ has only has ranks from about 10 to 200 or so, I wouldn't be surprised if atman turned out to have as many ranks as "jatis" (the local units of caste): 6,000. So I guess the poor school kids will have to line up again, look up and down the line, or peek into the gradebook, estimate their chances in life, and resign themselves. I'm sure, though, that the difference ahura will be found to make will be available on the beautiful dark something or other that will have replaced paper by then, but I don't know what it will say. Of course, by that time, all cultures might have changed a bit, and, if we work hard enough at it, the structure of power might change too, so that we might make a fairly happy world in which people are content to be themselves yet try to understand each other, and the idiotic idea of ranking, by one score or seven, has become unintelligible. Perhaps parents will start to respect their kids a little, even if they're not among the top 3 to 5% American institutions think the outer limit of people worthy of respect.

Meanwhile the current White World Order will have to plod along with its stupid numbers arranged to turn everything into ranked and rows, like the tombstones at Arlington Cemetery, where the dead soldiers lie ready to ascend together to heaven to fight in ranks and get mowed down again for the glory of their commanders and the profit of their country's investors. We like rows of numbers. They look good on the white papers ambassadors like to hold when they talk.

But why this desire to construe human attributes as intelligence in the first place? Since the Industrial Revolution it has been easier to persuade us that the world is run by intelligent adaptation to "necessity," and that the best way to live is by intelligent calculation, than to persuade us that the world is run morally, kindly, justly, beautifully, or well, and that we should give more than lip service to those virtues. If it were not so, after all, wouldn't someone now be trying to persuade us that interpersonal skill isn't a form of intelligence, but that it is really a species of kindness, goodness, or justice? Wouldn't we, for the last hundred years, have had our "moral beauty quotients" tested, and wouldn't some Professor Gardener have been persuading us that athletics, like music and art, is a form of moral beauty that also belongs in the Zen garden of our minds? Or wouldn't we have grown up with our "egalitarian justice quotients," and been asked now to believe that the draftsmen of designs for skyscrapers have their own form of egalitarian justice? Or wouldn't we have learned that Francis of Assisi had the highest "kindness quotient," KQ, of all time, but that now kind-feeling people agree that fellows like Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken and the officers of Enron also have a special variety of kindness, as shown by their kindly observance of the rule that "ignorance is bliss" while they manipulate the value of everything we own to their own advantage?

Or wouldn't we, as children, have worried about our "goodness quotients," but then, as adults, been enlightened that the making of anti-personnel weapons and toy bombs are also a form of goodness because such worthy labor smooths out investment policy, stabilizing the economy—and, surely, all goodness depends on the stability of the economy? This would appear as the only reasonable conclusion, for we would all have been convinced previously that investment is evidence of the prime moral virtue. We would feel we know that, of course, because the only way to understand the essential goodness of the world order would be to realize that when people starve on wages less than a dollar a day, the reason they deserve their fate is that they are profligate with their wealth.

So even if some other quality than intelligence were supposed to be at stake, we can know that we would be asked to accommodate our conception of that quality to the needs of the powerful. For what is at stake in theories of human qualities is not the qualities themselves, but power over those qualities and, through our conception of them, us. Excuse me for overgeneralizing, but I see not only "intelligence" tests, but even the vast bulk of "social science" as just another battleground in the War for Hearts and Minds.