It is so abhorrent to some people that anyone should be deemed to be more intelligent than anyone else, that they seek to distort the entire concept of intelligence and render it utterly meaningless. One way in which they do this is by describing all sorts of dubious ‘qualities’ as ‘forms of intelligence.’

It’s offensive, apparently, to suggest that any particular person might be less intelligent than anyone else. So, when someone is clearly not intelligent in any sort of traditional way, they are described as being ‘intelligent’ in some other way. They are assigned a made-up form of intelligence so that they don’t feel left out.

A person with musical talents might be described as having ‘musical intelligence.’ It’s a marvellous sort of talent to have, but why can’t we just call them ‘musical’? Why do they have to have ‘musical intelligence’?

And does it mean anything to say that someone has ‘artistic intelligence’? They might be able to conjure up a remarkable likeness of my Aunt Harriet, using nothing but a blunt piece of charcoal and a scrap of paper, but does that really make them intelligent? What’s wrong with just being a ‘talented artist’?

Even when a person has no discernible talents, qualities or usefulness whatsoever, they can still be intelligent, apparently! They might, for example, be – and this is the most damning of all forms of intelligence – ’emotionally intelligent.’

Admittedly, it can be difficult to define what exactly intelligence is. It might be variously described as an ability to think rationally, to make logical deductions, to make rational decisions based on a coherent set of values and principles or as an ability to conceptualise and solve problems – but what it fucking-well isn’t is a tendency to obsess about your own or other people’s feelings, pander to other people’s sensitivities and fret about fitting in! Neither is it about being skilled in toadying up to people or having a desperate need to manipulate people into liking you. There is no such fucking thing as ’emotional intelligence’!

– The little speech above comes from the fictional narrator of An Intelligent Life.