What is identity, what is that presence I call me? This age-old question has kept the philosopher in business for millennia! Our Greek forefathers engraved a sign atop the entry of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi that simply read, “Know Thyself” (an important topic for them). During the Enlightenment era philosophers like Descartes proclaimed, “I think, therefore I am” as he attempted to make meaning of identity and presence. The Bard (William Shakespeare) expressed this as; “We know what we are, but not what we may be.” Perhaps we moderns have lost something by moving the discussion from asking questions, to an obsession with answers!
Is the existential search for meaning at the root of personal and social turbulence today, more so than ever? The question of identity might sound like metaphysical trivia, but it’s actually relevant to us more so now than ever. So much of who and what we believe our self and life to be is largely shaped by our environment, starting with conditions set by our upbringing and further shaped by modern media influence.
So, how do we begin facilitating our own meaning-making process to reclaim the promise of an original life that perhaps we once had? One area that we can begin immediately examining (in journal work) is with what we call intelligence. Much has been written about intelligence over the past 50 years, notably by Harvard professor Howard Gardner in his ground breaking Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences released in 1982.