Our most sophisticated technology does not possess the complexities of organic systems. Computers and machines can do many things for us but they will never be able to feel for us. The realm of emotion is central and unique to our human experience yet it is only now starting to be recognized as a valuable form of intelligence. This is commonly known as emotional intelligence. For instance, machines and computers don’t have emotions that drive social needs like empathy, curiosity, or a  desire for learning, acceptance, and accomplishment. This research highlights the kinds of intelligence that set us apart from our technology while providing inspiration for new realms of exploration and discovery.

According to Multiple Intelligences Theory, what we know might not be as important as understanding the ways that we learn. What kind of learner are you?

  • Musical-Rhythmic and Harmonic
  • Visual-Spatial
  • Verbal-Linguistic
  • Logical-Mathematical
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Naturalistic

Emotional Intelligence Theory says that having lots of knowledge may not lead to success if you do not have good interpersonal and social skills. The ability to accommodate new information requires a certain level of mental flexibility which amounts to personal character. For example, learning to laugh at ourselves a little while delving into difficult emotions… or making room for possibilities beyond our our currently held beliefs will allow us to adapt to any situation.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.” -Andrew Coleman A Dictionary of Psychology

A Lust for Learning

Emotions motivate or suppress our behaviors. For instance, depression may make you stay in bed all day and not give a crap about anything, whereas curiosity may cause you to read ten books. Exercise, good diet, meditation, and yoga will help you have greater self-awareness. In turn this will increase your creative muscle. The ability to perceive, use, and manage our  emotions is crucial to working in groups towards problem-solving, collaboration, and other forms of success.

We are not Meant to Work Like Machines… We are Meant to Live like Humans.

Mechanized inventions can do manual work for us which gives us an unprecedented opportunity to do other kinds of internal “work” and discovery. Our ancestors had very little time to explore what being human meant beyond survival. Since we are social beings, this is connection with our emotions and the emotions of others deserves a closer look.

Emotional intelligence is most often expressed through each person’s unique character. A person who is considered bland or  emotionally-disconnected, like a machine, may lack animating characteristics that are important for social development. Meanwhile the overly dramatic or socially-needy person may lack the clarity to think coherently. If passion is the wind in your sails and reason is the rudder then you will need both to navigate your boat across the open seas. Those who have mastered this dance between passion and reason often make great leaders.

Building Character

Tiffany Shlain and Let it Ripple have a series of films that articulate this ongoing inquiry called Character Day This international campaign attempts to tackle the complexities of human intelligence and the ways it is expressed socially. Let It Ripple uses interactive films, discussion materials, as well as live and virtual events to engage people in conversations around complicated subjects like this. They crowdsource ideas to make films (cloud-filmmaking) is a beautiful expression of inclusivity and collaboration. Certainly there are more creative uses of social media than arguing about politics!

(above) The Adaptable Mind by the Moxie Institute
Emotional Self-Awareness

Having an honest relationship, even a friendship with your full emotional spectrum is very important. Though we have social norms that require us to not show certain forms of anger, sorrow, jealousy and other shadow-emotions, it is still very important for us to express these in constructive ways. The ability to tune in to what another person is feeling and reflect that back to them with compassion is a very powerful and deep way to create connection. This can help you at work, and at home with your family.

Our emotional realms are complex and beautiful if we are willing to explore them in a safe space. We have the ability to create that safe space for ourselves and others by listening from the heart, not judging, and allowing stories to be told. This expression can also come in the form of art, music, poetry, it is a way to bring unconscious wounds out into the open. The end result is empowerment, healing, clarity, increased creativity, compassion, and productivity.

Artificial Intelligence will never be able to have feelings like humans do but humans may not be able to compete when it comes to computing data. Though machine learning and automation may be able to do many of the jobs that humans once did, it will never have complex emotions or character. Take some time to dig deep into your own character and embrace the emotional rainbow that is unique to you. An adaptable brain may be more important than having one that is full of knowledge…

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Jacob Devaney

Jacob blogs for Huffington Post and others in addition to Culture Collective. He specializes in social media, and cross-platform (or trans-media) content and campaigns. Meditation, playing piano, exploring nature, seeing live music, and going to Hopi Dances are some of his passions. As a co-founder of unify.org, Jacob lives for community and believes that we are all interconnected with our own special gift to offer the world.

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