Concepts Of Intelligence
Written By Thomas J. Hally
Reviewed By Bill Frayer
Have you ever wondered why some people are very intelligent and why others are, well, not so much? What do we mean by intelligence? What’s the difference between creative genius and psychosis? Does our gender, our birth order, or even our physical attractiveness affect our intelligence? Are night owls more creative than those of us who do our best work in the morning?
These, and many other aspects of the nature of intelligence are addressed in the first part of Tom Hally’s new book Concepts of Intelligence. Tom is a good fit with this subject. He has been an active member of American Mensa since the 1980s and in 2007, became the regular feature writer for Mensa international Journal. From 2007 to 2010, Tom was the editor of Telicom, the magazine of the American Society for Philosophical Enquiry. He has traveled extensively and publishes his poetry in both English and Spanish.
The twenty-one essays which address the nature of intelligence in the book are well-written and easy to read. Many contain references noting the relevant research. Many of these articles had been published previously in the Mensa International Journal.
As a poet myself, I was both pleased and alarmed to read the following: “Poetry is, undeniably, one of the highest forms of creative art, and some of the most creative poets are the ones which exhibit the most signs of psychoses.” The article points out the disturbing correlation between creativity and mental illness.
Some of the most interesting aspects of Tom’s essays deal with the nature of intelligence itself. He discusses Gardiner’s theory that we actually have multiple intelligences, mathematical-logical, musical, spatial, linguistic, etc. Educators have realized this for many years and have developed tools for addressing students’ unique intelligences. Of course any serious discussion of intelligence brings up the issue of how one defines and measures intelligence. After all, I have known people with supposedly very high IQ’s who seemed to struggle through life. I was glad to read in one of his early essays that Tom put the IQ issue into clear perspective. “Several studies have indicated that personality traits such as consciousness and openness to experience are up to ten times more important than IQ.
Although the essays on intelligence are the largest, and I think the most interesting part of the book, the second section includes a number of autobiographical essays, poetry (in Spanish and English) and fiction. The interesting life Tom had led is reflected most prominently in this section of the book.
Some of the chapters seem either out of order or out of place. For instance, in the first section, there is, among all the wonderful essays about intelligence, an odd chapter addressing how to set up an WiFi network. Another essay, more technical than any other in the volume addressed the subject of neural networks. These might better be included at the end of the section or omitted altogether.
Tom’s an interesting man, and his eclectic life is well reflected in this collection. The book is at: The Bookstore Plaza Bugambilias, Ajijic, Diane Pearl Collections, Colón #1 Ajijic, Galería Mexixic, Calle Colón, Ajijic, Galería Di Paola, Calle Colón, Ajijic, Casa Blanca Bed and Breakfast, 16 de Septiembre, Ajijic.