Following last post’s funny comment on qualification and intelligence here’s a story about a gateway!
I call it gateway but there is no longer a gate – it’s been trashed again. It was completely destroyed. The wooden bars smashed through as if someone had rammed it with a vehicle, the cross pieces jagged and splintered and most of it lying on the floor. It must have taken a lot of effort to do it – it was no thin gate but a sturdy five-bar one, needing posts as thick as railway sleepers to hang it.
There was no reason for this that I could see, other than vandalism. It could hardly be the work of militant ramblers as there’s a completely adequate stile for us to cross so we can continue along the footpath. And it’s not a particularly well used footpath, just one the locals and dog walkers know that runs between the cultivated land and out onto the marshland pasture where the cows graze. Land that is owned by farmers trying to make a living, allowing access to others to enjoy it, yet having to foot the costs of this damage.
They’d put some wire across the opening after the destruction of the gate to keep the cattle in, but that’s been vandalised and cut too, so they’ve put a concrete block there now.
It’s probably vandalised by the same ignorant people who leave their beer bottles, take away packets and shitty bits of tissue after their evening’s activities.
I say ignorant because that’s what it is; it’s ignorance that makes people choose to behave like this. People who don’t have the intelligence to make other choices or see the bigger picture beyond their own selfish pursuits.
Many generally think that intelligence is to do with schooling and how many exam passes and grades and degrees you have. But that is only a small part of intelligence. Academic prowess is not a guarantee of intelligence, although often a sign of it. And ignorance is not measured by a lack of it but by a lack of something else; a lack of connectedness.
It is connectedness, the way you connect with all things other than you and consequently the way you choose to behave, that is a sure sign of intelligence beyond academic qualification.
The person who smashed this gate may have qualifications, forced on them by schooling no doubt. Yet still they act in ignorant ways. For what they don’t have is the intelligence to see the connection between their act and its consequences. They don’t have the intelligence to feel the emotional consequence their actions will be creating in others just because they have no connetedness to those others, only to their own indulgences.
True intelligence is relative surely. Human intelligence anyway, that part of our human brain that enables us to have empathy, acquire understanding, to feel, to think, to choose reactions other than those driven by base instinct. The intelligence to engage with others and see beyond our own egocentric little worlds.
This is the kind of intelligence that needs developing alongside the academic. The kind of intelligence that is being neglected by prescriptive schooling solely focused on grades, and parenting that neglects to give time to making human connections, humane connections.
Which do we value most? We can make choices.
Ignorance is never solely academic. It is about our humane intelligent ability to know and also to use what we know in our relations with others. That is as vital a part of our children’s education as anything academic.