Wednesday, July 26, 2017

--- Intelligence 4 ---

Francine Coss' offering, "Developing and Assessing the Intelligence of a Kindergartner: A Practical Approach" is an interesting read, but it doesn't have much for the adventurer - unless you have a kindergarten age child.

But the next time you're in a grocery store, pick up a 3 pound bag of something. That's about the weight of an adult human brain. Somehow, that three pound mass of tissue creates your world for you.

Linda Baker's section has some interesting experiences. Oriented toward children and groups, the exercises are pretty easily adapted to adults either alone or in groups. There is an old book called Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space by Robert Masters and Jean Houston (2nd ed. 1998. Quest Books) may be more appropriate for adults and I have put it to good use, but I would suggest being selective. There are some "opening" exercises in there that provide a guided exercise involving opening up to external entities. I, personally, consider that dangerous. Some folks think it's trivial because such entities (they think) are just psychological constructs. Others think it's okay because the universe is good and nothing is going to hurt you. I've had too much experience with entities that are "out there" and will hurt you. Be forewarned.

It's interesting that this comes up at a time that I'm specifically looking at the contemplative groups in the area. Typically, I'm not too comfortable with New Age philosophies but there is something to say for contemplative practises. It's pretty well established that meditation and similar practices do improve cognitive functions and I have written before on the practice of walking meditation to enhance learning on the trail. Also, there's no question that stretching and breathing exercises are great tools for hikers.

Although Ms. Baker talks about avoiding New Age practices in public school settings, even this section is a little too New Agey for me. For instance, I seriously question that "Love is all there is." Love is a lot of it - but you gotta eat sometime.

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