On the various kinds of intelligence

Einstein or Frankenstein? A person’s IQ represents their intelligence – or so you’d think. But the term “quotient” betrays the fact that it is merely a mathematical value. And there are variants which are perhaps more important …

What difference can it make whether he is a duke or a groom so long as he has spirit and a heart?

Marcel Proust

IQ – What you don’t necessarily own even if you have it

In a once famous German newspaper questionnaire, several celebs answered the question as to who they thought was the most intelligent person by stating “Einstein” or “Goethe”. Regarding the question of the “biggest military achievement”, they struggled with what that could be. The Battle of Leipzig? The Roman Empire? Or maybe the War of Independence after all? One humorous reply: “My marriage.”

Others named their grandfather, a good friend or their partner as the most intelligent person they knew. The same people often responded that the biggest military achievement was: “None.”

Some think about which answer is right or wrong. Others think about what’s meaningful to them. Some calculate; others ponder.

So there is something not quite right with “intelligence” as a term. Or people just have different ideas about it. First and foremost, intelligence means the ability to rationally process information, a kind of “memory training”, if you will. That’s exactly what they mean by “IQ”, in which the educated elite in Ivy League universities place such stock: a measure that uses numbers and data for orientation. It certainly denotes well educated people, but not ones who want to get out of the sphere of their own ego. Without reflection, such people make "careers" in training grounds for new cadres, over the top of their true dreams. They may then end up resembling one another the same way eggs do, with the same golf games, sportscars and the like.

Individuals for whom the grandfather ranks higher than Einstein and for whom military achievements aren’t really achievements at all have got a problem: their IQ does not necessarily score very highly, although they obviously have an intellectual edge … at least our education systems are still based to a great degree on memorizing quantitative “knowledge”, which, unlike other kinds of intelligence, is easy to grade, rate and compare. Most people will later get stuck in these parameters of comparison. Then all that matters is who outperforms whom instead of a holistic assessment of the individual’s personality. So-called emotional intelligence (EQ) is also part of this. Of all things, memorization is called "to learn by heart" in English - which would mean just the opposite in our culture.

Thoughts without content are empty,
views without concepts are blind.


EQ – Everybody has it, but in varying degrees

What’s missing in the IQ calculation are an individual’s human qualities. Formerly, people referred to universal education; the Romanticists then called it the “education of heart”. This second category is what Immanuel Kant meant when he talked about “thinking”: enlightenment in the sense of thinking for yourself. This “way of thinking” (Kant) is based on an individual achievement of reflection. It involves integrating other’s perspectives in one’s own thinking in order to think in a way which is as generally valid as possible, as opposed to brooding on a subject. But this only works with empathy, “wholeheartedly” feeling for others.

For Kant, thinking cannot begin until the five senses come together with reason. Today, we would probably speak of “intuition”. In an ideal process, e.g. coming up with a solution, you trust in your own immediate intuition and examine how you arrived at this intuition. This is what Kant calls a “conception”: the realization of an idea. It works by referring to your own emotional intelligence, which involves listening inwardly.

Seminar participants who are accustomed to IQ often arrive with the expectation of ready-made solutions. They often want answers, rushing to grab the result sheets or pushing for advice regarding a current problem. The case is similar in their PowerPoint presentations. To make a long story short: they get only one solution, and this solution is one which only suits every individual. In a management seminar, for instance, the leader once asked what they would do with an ailing organ that is ceasing to function. The unanimous answer: “Get rid of it!”. Others gave it a thumbs-down, others grinned at each other.

The actual learning process began with the question as to whether an attempt shouldn’t be made to save the organ – the leader was, after all, a physician – since it was after all a part of the organism. The result: you should try to save the organ by having other organs join forces to support it so that the body can regain its strength. A body is able to do this in the case of many organs. Thus the managers learned – slowly, but surely –that it is more useful for the whole to support each other rather than persist in the ego and „taking no prisoners“. Emotional intelligence is exactly what Kant meant: listening inwardly, listening to others and deferring to others. Intuition, empathy, social intelligence.

Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence in his bestseller of the same name as the ability to integrate feelings into decisions and develop empathy. A person’s EQ is not measured, but is meanwhile often given a higher ranking than a person’s IQ. Those who are experts in EQ can rely on themselves.

In particular, the way a person treats others’ feelings is decisive when it comes to leadership qualities and thus their own appreciation and popularity. It has long been the case that team players are more desirable and have more career options. Emotional intelligence therefore ranks more highly in an evolution process. It is only by means of empathy that it is possible to empower others, to grow as teams and to treat each other in a respectful and positive way.

CQ – Creates greed because you want to know more about yourself

Wonder and bafflement are emotional reactions to something unexpected. The “curiosity factor”, or “curiosity quotient”, was coined by Martin Sage as an antipode to Freud’s past-driven experiences of pain and personal shortcomings. After decades of psychology focused on investigating these negative factors of consciousness, the curiosity quotient has evolved into the only way to look ahead to a pleasant uncertainty instead of to a dark unconsciousness.

In Spielberger’s and Maslow’s conception of “humanistic psychology”, curiosity is the key to liberation from ego and towards self- actualization under truly positive conditions: “freedom to” instead “freedom from”, away from run-of-the-mill careers, embracing the reality of the self: our leadership seminars are built on curiosity. No fixed targets or strategies; no results cast in stone. No one person determines where the journey is headed. But Sonja Becker, as a modern-day Socrates, knows what direction the questions should take. She provides answers to unasked questions.

Sonja Becker has a very special aura. When she enters a room, the atmosphere changes. Her seminars start with a surprise. Those who turn to the “package insert” hoping to learn how to proceed, like getting a “healing” injection at the doctor’s, begin a process of self-healing which they barely realize is happening. Just like the questioning Socrates, Sonja Becker makes use of curiosity, and is effective on another level than the one with clear-cut results: the drug-free “happy pill” already takes effect while the IQ- programmed continue to wait for the prick of the syringe. Becker encourages people to be curious about themselves; they want to know what comes next or what lies behind things.

Becker’s “radar” releases aspects in a personal system which people might never have thought of otherwise. She recognizes people’s neuralgic points of suffering, which very often have other sources than one might think. Just like Sokrates’ definition of “idea” in the metaphor of captive people who, only seeing others’ shadows, mistake these shadows for real people. Becker therefore manages to go places which you might not have planned previously (but the Aladdin rule always applies in coaching: “Never go where you are not invited.”

If curiosity breaks through, most people fly into a whole new orbit. IQ and EQ then enter a third dimension. Sonja Becker is curious and kindles curiosity in others.
Because the elements of surprise are always new and present differently in every individual, there is no blueprint, no patent recipe, no solutions that you can put in a summary when it comes to this kind of coaching.

It’s Sokrates’ “maeutics”, the art of giving birth by asking questions, which not only drives others out of their ego comfort zone, but also advances on to their original, often unconscious, desires and goals. In order to arrive at their own curiosity, the personal “system” is reorganized with every realignment, revealing new potentials and perspectives.

All enquiry begins in a state of wonder and bafflement.



Are you curious and want to learn more?
We’d be happy to provide you with profound information about our offerings, with no obligation.