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  • Emotional intelligence is the quality that enables us to confront with patience, insight

  • and, imagination the many problems that we face in our affective relationship with ourselves

  • and with other people. The term "emotional intelligence" may sound odd. We are used to referring

  • to intelligence as a general quality, without unpicking a particular variety a person might

  • possessand therefore we don't tend to highlight the value of a distinctive sort

  • of intelligence which currently does not enjoy the prestige it should.

  • Every sort of intelligence signals an ability to navigate well around a particular set of

  • challenges: mathematical, linguistic, technical, commercialWhen we say that someone is

  • clever but add that they have made a mess of their personal lives; or that they have

  • acquired a fortune but are restless and sad or that they are powerful but intolerant and

  • unimaginative, we are pointing to a deficit in what deserves to be calledemotional intelligence."

  • In social life, we can feel the presence of emotional intelligence in a sensitivity to

  • the moods of others and in a readiness to grasp the surprising things that may be going

  • on for other people beneath the surface. Emotional intelligence recognises a role for interpretation

  • and knows that, for example, a fiery outburst might be a disguised plea for help, or that a long political

  • rant may be provoked by hunger, or that concealed within a forceful jolliness may be a sorrow

  • that has been sentimentally disavowed. In relation to ourselves, emotional intelligence

  • shows up in a scepticism around our emotions, especially those of love, desire, anger, envy,

  • anxiety and professional ambition. The emotionally intelligent refuse to trust their first impulses

  • or the wisdom of their feelings. They know that hatred may mask love, that anger may

  • be a cover for sadness and that we are prone to huge and costly inaccuracies around whom we

  • desire and what we want. Emotional intelligence is also what distinguishes

  • those who are crushed by failure from those who know how to greet the troubles of existence

  • with a melancholy and at points darkly humorous resilience. The emotionally intelligent appreciate

  • the role of well-handled pessimism within the overall economy of a good life.

  • Emotional intelligence isn't an inborn talent. It's always the result of education, specifically

  • education in how to interpret ourselves, in where our emotions arise from, in how our childhoods influence us

  • and in how we might best navigate our fears and our wishes. In the ideal society, it would be routine

  • to be taught emotional intelligence from the youngest age, before we had had the opportunity

  • to make too many mistakes. It is because we haveuntil nownot taken

  • emotional education seriously enough that our species has grown ever more technically

  • adept while retaining the level of wisdom of our earliest dayswith catastrophic results.

  • We are now evolved monkeys with nuclear weapons. It appears that fate of civilisation now

  • depends on our capacity to master the mechanisms of emotional education before it is too late.

  • An emotional education means something far beyond formal education as we have conceived of it to date.

  • Though it should ideally include courses in every year of school or college,

  • emotional education is more than something that should just take place in classrooms at the

  • hands of teachers and come to a halt around the age of twenty-one.

  • The central vehicle for the transfer of emotional intelligence is culture, from its highest

  • to its most popular level. Culture is the field that can ritualise and consistently

  • promote the absorption of emotional intelligence. The 'lessons' might be embedded in a tragedy

  • or a TV series, a pop song or a novel, a work of architecture or a YouTube film. We can

  • envisage the entire apparatus of culture as a subtle mechanism designed to point us towards

  • greater emotional intelligence. We will never progress as a species, and will

  • indeed grow into ever greater technologically-armed menaces to ourselves, until we have accepted

  • the challenges and opportunities of properly educating our selves in emotional intelligence.

  • Our technical intelligence is great of course. It's led us to tame nature and conquer this planet. But a wiser, saner

  • future for the race must depend on a capacity to master and then seductively teach the rudiments

  • of emotional intelligencewhile there is still time.

  • Thank you for watching, liking, and subscribing.

  • If you want more, why not visit us in person and attend a class? Or take a look at our shop at the link on your screen now?

Emotional intelligence is the quality that enables us to confront with patience, insight

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What is Emotional Intelligence?

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    Ken Song posted on 2017/09/16
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