Just what is intelligence—and what does it have to do with our deepest desire and the words we use every day? Read the great, urgently needed answers in “Intelligence, Words, & Our Largest Hope,” the new issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by editor Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
We are serializing the lecture Intelligence Is You and More, which Eli Siegel gave fifty years ago and which is new and definitive now. In it, with depth and kindness, great intellect and humor, he is explaining what intelligence truly is. There have been so much pain, cruelty, and confusion around this subject. There have been noxious feelings of superiority, and also of inferiority, and often the same person has both.
This lecture is a rich illustration of the central principle of Aesthetic Realism: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” Intelligence, Mr. Siegel is showing, always has to be fair to two opposed things. For instance, it has to be practical, deal efficiently with a problem before one—and also care for the largeness, the majesty, even the mystery of the world. Real intelligence, too, is both logical and daring. And it is care for self at one with generosity.
The Friendliness of Words
A very affecting matter recently in the press has to do with the meaning of intelligence. A headline in the New York Times (June 24) describes it this way: “Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children from Birth.” The article notes: “Reading…is viewed as important in increasing the number of words that children hear in the earliest years of their lives.”
Words and reading, of course, are immensely related to intelligence. But the question is: how and why? According to the Times, the reason the American Academy of Pediatrics gives for its recommendation is that “reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important communication skills” and will “help children succeed once they get to school.” That may be true. But there is a much bigger, more beautiful, also more urgent reason why a person, young or older, should feel what words are, care for them, see reading and books as friends. >> Read more