Avalon again 2005

Avalon again 2005

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

"Emotional Intelligence" or "Know yourself"!

Today’s session with Shameen Naidu was extremely insightful presentation into the notion of “emotional intelligence”. In fact, this issue has been one of my favourite topics for quite a while and fortunately enough I had the chance to hear more about this issue today.
As a definition, the term “emotional intelligence” seems to be contradictory. On the one hand, we are talking about our inner world or about our feelings, emotional status and dreams. On the other side of the debate, we have the notion of “intelligence”, which refers to the line and direction of our thinking, the intellectual capacity we possess and the tool that drives and regulates our actions and behaviour. In fact, the separation of these two terms in meaning dates only since the era of post-modernism”. In other words, I believe it is rather a post-modernist invention.
During antiquity and in modern times, scientists, philosophers and thinkers have not indeed separated the world of thought (and actions) and the world of your emotions (your inner world). The first philosopher who draws the connection between the two is the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. His most famous motto is a popular phrase that we often use today (“Know yourself” or “Get to know yourself!”). In fact, when he was asked to elaborate on this, he explained that what drives you in life is a combination of your feelings, your values, your principles and goals-all developed through the interaction of your mind with your inner world (soul).
Firstly, he explained that our feelings are in fact an expression of our relationship to the things we find worthwhile in life. In fact, the way we relate to somebody or something is a product of our perceptions of good or bad or right and wrong-categories which we have learned to deal with throughout our lives through experience. Later on, these feelings (or perceptions) actually become values and they regulate the choices we make in life and thus define the things that we strive for in our lives. From values then they become principles (and ethical norms) and they largely define the course of our actions, our behavior and our relationship to others. Thus they become driven by our own rationality and justify the choices for our actions and behaviour.
Indeed, according to Socrates, this was a picture of all the stages of personality development of humans. He stated that this was a process in which the inner world (your feelings, perceptions and dreams) and your rationality and mind (principles, norms and ethics) come into co-existence and they both influence one another.
Once again, your feelings teach you about the things you find worthwhile in life and they define the ways you relate to those things. Then they become values and define our perceptions of what is good and bad or right and wrong. When they have been selected by our mind, then they become justified by our own rationality and drive us in our choices, actions and behaviour. As a result, then they become our principles and goals or simply our objectives in life.
In fact, this is what according to Socrates, constituted your “persona” or your “personality”-or in other words “yourself”-the process in which you develop your self-awareness, self-motivation and self-regulation (as what Shameen talked to us about today). Ultimately, this perspective of self-rediscovery and self-awareness becomes the root and value of your relationship to others and to the world at large. In other words, it becomes the sense and meaning of your life.
Put simply, “emotional intelligence” is the root, the means and the imperative that drives people in their lives-the link between feeling, thought and action. Once again, in order to know the world around you, you firstly need to know yourself and this should be the starting point in your quest for knowledge and purpose in life. In fact, this is what Socrates told his students long time ago and yet his wisdom reflects the meaning and purpose of human existence in a very truthful way.


Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

It is all very well to theorise about these things. My question to Shameen was, how do you re-educate yourself after many years of an up-bringing dictated by culture and traditions. She agreed that it was really difficult but counselling helped. In most African cultures however, counselling is not common practice, it is predominantly associated with Western culture.

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Nice photo by the way!!

Thomas Blaser said...

Wise words, wise words! Ah, the pleasures of philosophy...

Susan Arthur said...

thanks for this background from Socrates- I found it informative and it built on what you mentioned in the session about his philosophy. Emotional intelligence may be a buzzword, but it's been around for a long time!

I like your photo but I think it's maybe too casual for this blog, also you can't really see your face (I'm thinking of prospective employers/ people who have spoken to us on the course).

Adam N. Mukendi said...

Hi Mr Stallion,
I wish you Know yourself. Personaly I have learnt alot from this programme and have realise how different I am. It is just strange to see how new concepts take place. I look forward to learn about the VQ ( virtual Intelligence).

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Valentin, thank you for your insightful and provocative comments on my blog. It has been a wonderful experience being part of the group. I will tell you that you are one of my favorite people in the team besides Susan A, Temi, Thomas, Adam, Susan M and Themba. But be sure that I'll keep in touch. I would like to know how your internship and life generally is going, so make sure that YOU keep in touch as well.