Openness and Intelligence

I think a good definition for the range of capacities we call intelligence would be openness.

Let’s say that intelligence is the capacity to assimilate new information; to learn facts and understand lots of different things.

If we define intelligence as that then openness is certainly synonymous with intelligence; or rather you might be able to say that “all intelligence is openness but not all openness is intelligence” though I’m uncertain about that proposition.

But intelligence also includes the ability to solve puzzles and this seems to me to be a different phenomena from the intelligence I characterized above.

But let us say that intelligence is the capacity to solve puzzles.

This would include engineering, physics and mathematics.

Really all that engineering is is the activity of solving puzzles; you have a set of objects (rubber, petrol, cogs etc) and a function you want to perform without man-power (the solution to the puzzle).

In this sense computer-programming is engineering.

Even this kind of intelligence requires an openness.

I think the idiom used to convey this openness is “thinking outside the box”.

The person approaches a problem that requires a solution and the more open they are the more likely they are to spot the solution.

Whereas if they rigidly stick to their pre-conceptions about the problem and if these pre-conceptions are wrong or not conducive to solving the problem the less likely they are to solve the problem.

So I would say that openness is at the least a defining feature of both these definitions of intelligence.


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