It started with a conversation to define what is intelligence. We agreed that being an intelligent person doesn’t mean having a educational degrees. So we pushed ourselves a bit further to define what is our own definition of intelligence.
Is it the capacity to read between lines?
Is it the humbleness that one realises the less intelligent he is the more he learns?
Tears burst out to finalise the conversation. That tears belonged to a Swiss girl of Indonesian origin. Her mum moved to Switzerland for having married with a Swiss Caucasian. Her darkened skin always has brought up somewhat curiousness and judgement from the town. She and her mum have faced constant racist words from the society where all other around think them to have the best education. But those educated people were the ones who asked the two females whether they came to Switzerland as a prostitute and managed to marry with an innocent Swiss white male.
If I were in question, I’d reply that her father married to a non-swiss female not to bear a racist child just as the one questioned whose both parents are Swiss born. But even this sarcastic reply would he understand properly, now that we know of his educational level that dares to be racist without shame?
The insecurity of being judged by the current paradigm of intelligence isn’t her fault. We occasionally link the intelligence with higher education. Mostly for this reason, intelligence also links to racism for that many immigrants don’t hold a tertiary education degree as to point out the fact.
But shouldn’t this precisely be why more immigrants involve in the discurso to define what is intelligence, for them to confront the current disadvantagous paradigm that oppress them?
Now we have diverse discourses about intelligence; as such a multiple intelligence theory that got spotlighted few years ago. This theory broadens intelligence into 9 different categories, and an individual tends to develop one of those 9 intelligences whereas the traditional society tends to validate only one of these 9 intelligences as the sole measurement of intelligence.
For example, an immigrant who traumatised during the border crossing, might develop how to perceive the environment and how to survive in a jungle rather than developing mathematical and logical way of thinking. This person is like Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games. We still would say that she is the intelligent one, but will it be because she is still a Caucasian figure? An indigenous woman surviving in a jungle would be barbaric instead of being intelligent, wouldn’t she?
Intelligence is a western paradigm, so?
She went to tattoo her skin today. This is the act to involve in such discourse in a symbolic way: to mark the present that remains for the future. Not interactive way rather personal, she tries to mark her story on her body. Sadly, that will remain for the rest of her life, and so as to the rest of our lives.
This also made me think to get a new tattoo as a symbolic gesture of brotherhood and companionship. My burden to live this society shall be lighter than hers; we both bare racism and sexism in this white-male-dominant world, but I still remain in the periphery of male diagram, whereas she is totally bounced off.
Last night then I did some sketches to figure out how to symbolise this kind of intelligence, constant suffering of peripheral population and education. Turtle, peacock and owl have come to my mind and I tried to merge them as in a harmony. Turtle as of longevity and its slowness of flying in the ocean which represents confronting paradigm in which we dwell, peacock for the superficial beauty for attraction and owl for inner peace and observation that howls in the most silent moments. Well truly, it maybe got off from the first intention of representing the heterodox intelligence away from its dominating western paradigm, but still represents some of the fragmentation of wisdom, I would say.