Shallow Spelunking into Social Intelligence
It occurred to me, in the course of reading Daniel Goleman’s latest, Social Intelligence, that I’ve spent a good deal of my “idle process” time trying to understand the world, other humans, attempting to validate my perceptions of both, and to understand their perceptions of me. One observation that I’ve long come to terms with is that I’m clearly not within the center 1/3 of the bell curve with respect to human cognitive experience. This has resulted in a lifelong sense of relative alienation, and consequent efforts to somehow accomplish or contribute something of sufficient utility and value to the rest of the humans, that I would somehow, eventually, “fit in.” Of course, the efforts to “fit in” only began after a couple decades of “fuck you if I don’t fit in” in my earlier years of muddling through the experience.
Today, two things occurred to me. First, my basic understanding of human neuro anatomy is woefully lacking. While Goleman provides a very accessible introduction to this curriculum, his writing has prompted me to find out more. To this end, I’ve discovered the wonderful Whole Brain Atlas by Keith A. Johnson and J. Alex Becker of Harvard Medical School. The atlas provides amazing MRI/PET “fly-throughs” of the brain, a neuro imaging primer, and dozens of other amazing views into neuro anatomy. It’s a great place to spend some idle process time and is a great complement to the timeless Gray’s Anatomy, which is where I actually need to spend the majority of my time in order to learn what interests me at the moment. The $185.00 for the 1600 page online edition is an absolute bargain. BTW, I have no affiliation with Elsevier or Churchill Livingstone, so if you feel even the slightest animosity toward people or sites that link to affiliate programs, feel free to dismiss such distractions and move on. :)
The second thing I realized is that if I feel that I do not fit into the center 1/3 of the bell curve of human cognitive experience, then 2/3 of humans under that curve potentially feel the same way that I do, to some degree, or another! We, “the outliers” are far from alone and need not apologize or seek the acceptance of the “centrists” to any degree beyond that which any human subgroup might seek mutual recognition. Despite this beta impression, I am still curious about the similarities between the experience of cultural and racial minorities and the experience of cognitive minorities. Oftentimes, it appears to me that the two find themselves in the same room at the same time far more than pure chance would predict. It’s a completely anecdotal observation, but one that, for me, carries a fairly heavy weight of commonsense accuracy. More research is required.
The third of two things that occurred to me during the course of this relatively shallow spelunking into the caverns of social intelligence, and my historical lack thereof; shall remain unwritten in this space, for possible inclusion in a wider ranging work, which I hope to complete sometime before decade’s end. The determining factor in reaching that goal is closely tied to whether or not I can extract myself from the wage-slave ranks; if not permanently, at least for a sufficient amount of time to complete the work. See Chris Carlsson’s work, for more on that tangential predicament. <blockquote></blockquote>