ET Question #3- Implications for Educators

How might the addition of Existential Intelligence to the curriculum work for students? Positive, negatively? Might ET be misconstrued as belief or faith?

What is the answer to that final question on the Existential test??? aack…

4 thoughts on “ET Question #3- Implications for Educators”

  1. Actually, I have thought alot about this question. Existential intelligence correlates with an awareness of paradox and attempts to resolve the opposite poles such as male/female, good/evil, etc. It is not looking for a belief about the paradox as much as seeing a connection between them, the proverbial “2 sides to the same coin.” This is critical thinking, the ability to view subject matter or events from multiple viewpoints. Kids do it all the time mostly to critique the world around them. Adults do it when conflict requires a generative solution, such as the greatest good for the greatest number. The best example in education is testing with right or wrong answers. Every student wants to be right but they learn by eliminating or screening out possible mistakes.

  2. Hi Marlene,
    Thank you for your very interesting thoughts about Existential intelligence. It is obvious that you’ve thought deeply about these issues. Very cool.

    I like this careful reasoning about the distinction between spiritual and existential thought. It is a fuzzy relationship.

    I agree that the addition of existential questions / discussions can add much to engage students. But, on the other hand, I worry that it might be misused and give license to schools to preach and impose “beliefs” rather than facilitating existential reasoning. IMHO. I like your description of existential critical thinking.

    I think for teenagers taking art classes that to provoke visual thinking addressing existential issues would be naturally engaging and motivating. Plus, honoring by listening and viewing their works could be life changing.

  3. Dear Branton,
    Thank you for posing the issue of existential intelligence. I re-read what Howard means when he proposed existential intelligence. He wants to avoid religious intelligence and spiritual intelligence. These could be subjective and highly controversial. On the other hand, he saw very young children asking ‘big questions’, so he speculates the possibility of an existential intelligence. But he is conservative and can only grant half (50%) status to it.

    Howard is quite open-minded: it is possible that existential intelligence is the manifestation of the combination of linguistic and logico-mathematical intelligence. He leaves future researchers to study, validate, or disconfirm it.

    I am a bit conservative about existential intelligence though I always think of human nature, human condition and human existence.

  4. Hi Rex,
    Thanks for you comments. I appreciate a conservative approach esp. so MI does not fall in the “fad” or “pop psychology’ category. We’ve all worked for too long and too hard to let that happen so changes must be carefully weighed. I think that Howard took a big chance when he tackled the subject of Spiritual Intelligence vs. MI as a scientific theory. Tricky business. I think his explanation of the distinctions works and is a good guide for people who conflate them. I am now looking more closely at the “higher level” cognitive abilities that Gardner describes in the back of Frames of Mind. Do you kn0ow them? My latest thinking is that fitting Existential Reasoning (ER) into these categories along with Wisdom and Common Sense, might be the best solution.

    I look forward to hearing more how you see ER working within a school, classroom and curriculum. What are the rewards? What are the risks and pitfalls? I surveyed a group of public school teachers about ER and they did NOT want to see it introduced because it can be too easily confused and corrupted in indoctrination into a prescribed set of beliefs.


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