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Emotional intelligence is the quality that enables us to confront with patience, insight
and, imagination the many problems that we face in our affective relationship with ourselves
and with other people. The term "emotional intelligence" may sound odd. We are used to referring
to intelligence as a general quality, without unpicking a particular variety a person might
possess – and therefore we don't tend to highlight the value of a distinctive sort
of intelligence which currently does not enjoy the prestige it should.
Every sort of intelligence signals an ability to navigate well around a particular set of
challenges: mathematical, linguistic, technical, commercial… When we say that someone is
clever but add that they have made a mess of their personal lives; or that they have
acquired a fortune but are restless and sad or that they are powerful but intolerant and
unimaginative, we are pointing to a deficit in what deserves to be called “emotional intelligence."
In social life, we can feel the presence of emotional intelligence in a sensitivity to
the moods of others and in a readiness to grasp the surprising things that may be going
on for other people beneath the surface. Emotional intelligence recognises a role for interpretation
and knows that, for example, a fiery outburst might be a disguised plea for help, or that a long political
rant may be provoked by hunger, or that concealed within a forceful jolliness may be a sorrow
that has been sentimentally disavowed. In relation to ourselves, emotional intelligence
shows up in a scepticism around our emotions, especially those of love, desire, anger, envy,
anxiety and professional ambition. The emotionally intelligent refuse to trust their first impulses
or the wisdom of their feelings. They know that hatred may mask love, that anger may
be a cover for sadness and that we are prone to huge and costly inaccuracies around whom we
desire and what we want. Emotional intelligence is also what distinguishes
those who are crushed by failure from those who know how to greet the troubles of existence
with a melancholy and at points darkly humorous resilience. The emotionally intelligent appreciate
the role of well-handled pessimism within the overall economy of a good life.
Emotional intelligence isn't an inborn talent. It's always the result of education, specifically
education in how to interpret ourselves, in where our emotions arise from, in how our childhoods influence us
and in how we might best navigate our fears and our wishes. In the ideal society, it would be routine
to be taught emotional intelligence from the youngest age, before we had had the opportunity
to make too many mistakes. It is because we have—until now—not taken
emotional education seriously enough that our species has grown ever more technically
adept while retaining the level of wisdom of our earliest days—with catastrophic results.
We are now evolved monkeys with nuclear weapons. It appears that fate of civilisation now
depends on our capacity to master the mechanisms of emotional education before it is too late.
An emotional education means something far beyond formal education as we have conceived of it to date.
Though it should ideally include courses in every year of school or college,
emotional education is more than something that should just take place in classrooms at the
hands of teachers and come to a halt around the age of twenty-one.
The central vehicle for the transfer of emotional intelligence is culture, from its highest
to its most popular level. Culture is the field that can ritualise and consistently
promote the absorption of emotional intelligence. The 'lessons' might be embedded in a tragedy
or a TV series, a pop song or a novel, a work of architecture or a YouTube film. We can
envisage the entire apparatus of culture as a subtle mechanism designed to point us towards
greater emotional intelligence. We will never progress as a species, and will
indeed grow into ever greater technologically-armed menaces to ourselves, until we have accepted
the challenges and opportunities of properly educating our selves in emotional intelligence.
Our technical intelligence is great of course. It's led us to tame nature and conquer this planet. But a wiser, saner
future for the race must depend on a capacity to master and then seductively teach the rudiments
of emotional intelligence—while there is still time.
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What is Emotional Intelligence?

1511 タグ追加 保存
Ken Song 2017 年 11 月 26 日 に公開
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