Criticism of the so-called emotional intelligence tests
This is something I started back in October of 2004. I never finished it. But as I was thinking about David Caruso and Dan Goleman and the whole "field" of EI, I decided to dig it up. I am going to post it just as I started it, even though I am not completely happy with it. I started writing it after I read what David Caruso wrote on the Six Seconds page and after I found a recent article about what Jack and David etc. are calling a test of emotional intelligence, the MSCEIT.
January 24, 2005
Trying to stop my pain by having a little fun
One of the ways I learned to stop the pain of my boredom in school when I was young was to laugh at how stupid it all was. To laugh at the stupid teachers and to make jokes that would get the others laughing. So I guess this was the most "effective" way for me to stop my pain, since I was legally forced to go to the brainwashing places, which I now resent so much. I put "effective" in quotes because I want to draw attention to the word. I don't like the word. I might almost say I don't like people who use the word, but how can I blame French people for speaking French or Spanish people for speaking Spanish or people with PhDs for speaking Phidish (or business people for speaking biztalk.)
But wait, people with PhD's are supposed to be smart. So I guess I expect a little more from them. But if I expect something, I feel frustrated or discouraged when reality doesn't match my expectations, (or my needs).
I was going to start making fun of the so-called experts and leaders in the so-called field of EI, then I started getting a little more serious...
What do we really need? And who knows what we need?
Maybe one of the most important parts of being "smart" is to be able to figure out what is needed. Let's go way back in time, when people were living in Africa, assuming that is where human life began. Let's say that your family was being killed by lions and tigers. So you might decide you need to kill the lions and tigers before they kill your family. And since you knew you needed to eat, you decided to try eating the lions and tigers. So you made a plan and organized people to go out with you to hunt lions and tigers. So this makes you what we call today a "leader" or "manager." But let's say that hunting the lions and tigers and killing them and eating them proved to be a pretty hard thing to do. Let's say the lions and tigers kept killing the hunters who went out with you. What would a smart person do? And how would we know that this was a smart person? It might be fair to say we would know he is a smart person by watching the things he did, or maybe by studying his way of thinking and seeing what ideas he came up with.
Now let's take three tribes on three different parts of the continent.
Let's say one tribe leader thinks about the problem and decides to try new ways to capture and kill the lions and tigers. He starts inventing weapons, traps etc.
Another tribe leader starts building houses that are lion and tiger proof, and also starts building a very high fence around his village.
And the third tribe leader decides to take his tribe on a little trip to see if they might find a place where there are no lions and tigers.
So which one of these is the smartest? Or do we have enough information to know? Or is it possible that each one is smart in his own way?
Now let's look at what the tribe leaders start teaching the children in their respective tribes.
In Tribe A, where the leader is trying to capture and kill the lions and tigers, he starts a little class on capturing and killing lions and tigers. He starts to give good grades to the students who do things the way he teaches them and who think like he does.
Then in Tribe B, where the leader decided to build a fence, he starts a little class on fence building. Like the first tribe leader, he gives good grades for those who do what he tells them to do and who think like he does.
And in Tribe C, the leader is teaching the children how to travel and he rewards those who help him in the pursuit of his goal of traveling to a place where they don't have lions and tigers.
After a few years the people in Tribe C learn a lot about nature and where the lions and tigers like to live and where they don't like to live. And the people in that tribe have finally made it to a place where they don't have to live in fear of lions and tigers. And they all learn to eat food which doesn't involve killing animals. Along the way they have seen a lot of interesting things and learned more than they would have ever learned if they had stayed in the same place trying to fight off the lions and tigers. It was so interesting in fact, and they learned so much, that some of them decided to keep traveling. To this day, some of them are still traveling in fact. They are still learning new things and having new experiences. They have found that the world is a very big, very interesting place.
The people in Tribe B learned how to build pretty good fences. Every once in a while a lion or tiger gets in, and sometimes someone gets killed when they go out to look for food or just to have a look around, but basically the people in Tribe B are pretty satisfied. They just tell their children not to go outside the fence and that if they do they might get killed by lions and tigers.
People in Tribe A are very proud of their of their tribe. (The concept of pride is explained more below...) They are proud of their tribe because every once in a while they kill or capture a lion or tiger. Of course, a lot of the people in their tribe are still being killed, but they have a big tribe and actually even people from other tribes want to come live with them because the people in Tribe A are good at marketing and they tell people they know how to keep the world safe from lions and tigers. So the people in Tribe A aren't too worried about the people that are being killed, since more people are coming to live with them and they are putting these people to work making weapons, which they also sell to people in other parts of the world.
Soon the people in the tribe started getting a reputation for being able to kill and capture lions and tigers. And people in other tribes were impressed. Of course, a lot of people were still being killed in Tribe A, but they were very good at marketing their tribe.
And the leader of the tribe is smart enough to never get close to a lion or tiger himself. He just sits inside and tells people what to do. And he keeps reassuring the tribe members that if they just build more and better weapons and traps, they will be "successful" one day. Since he is so convincing, the others in the tribe go along with him. Oh, yes, and he also kills anyone who disagrees with him.
Well, he doesn't actually kill them. He just uses them for bait. He tells the people that he feels bad that he has to "put them in harms way" but that they are doing something heroic for the tribe and even for the entire world. So everyone honors the people who get killed by the lions and tigers, and they start to have special celebrations to remember them. When the leader sees how well this works, he starts having celebrations for the men who come back withoug arms and legs when they go out to hunt lions and tigers. He calls them "brave" and "courageous."
Soon children actually want to become tiger bait, and they willingly volunteer to go out and hunt the tigers and lions because they really believe it is a noble thing to do. The leader came up with this word, "noble" by the way. He also came up with the words "hero" and "brave" and "courageous". He needed a way to get people to do things for him which they wouldn't normally do. So he came up with this idea of using words to manipulate them. And he found it worked very well. Then later he came up with telling people that it was their "duty" to "serve their tribe." The later he came up with the idea of "loyalty" and "patriotism".
He also noticed something in people which he decided to call pride. Then he decided to use this concept to create the idea of being "proud" of your tribe, so he started telling people in his tribe that they needed to be "proud" of their tribe.
Then later, someone decides to start testing children on how "smart" they are. Let's say someone from Tribe A is the one who comes up with the test. But he doesn't just give it to the children in his own tribe, one day he meets children from the other tribes and he gives them the test too. So now all of a sudden, the children who are good at making weapons and traps are the ones who are called the "smartest."
The people in Tribe A are very convincing and they convince the leaders of the other tribes that their test really is a test of intelligence for all the children of all tribes. They use a lot of numbers and as we learned from reading "The Little Prince, " adults like numbers. So soon lots of tribes start measuring their children against the scores they get on this tribe's test.
So eventually people in Tribe B and Tribe C start to want their kids to do well on Tribe A's test. So they start teaching them how to hunt and kill lions and tigers so they will score better on Tribe A's test.
This, my friends, is pretty much how I see the MSCEIT test, and the United States, where the MSCEIT test was developed. It is also pretty much how I see the other so-called tests of emotional intelligence. I feel very, very skeptical these days.
Here are more notes from this unfinished draft...
My parents were too afraid of the people with power
and my parents were too afraid of the people with power in the stupid little city I grew up in called Fort Wayne, Indiana to let me stay home, even though it was more than obvious I hated school with a passion. My mother brainwashed my sister to make her believe it was important for me to go to school, so my sister, Patti, would literally drag me there. I remember one time along the way I simply refused to go any further and I turned around and went back home. Looking back now I realize my feelings about school were "appropriate" to use a David Caruso term. lol.
By the way, I like David Caruso. I like him a lot. That is why I am just having fun witih him today. He might not think it is funny, because he is a little insecure, but then again he might laugh, because he is not that insecure, and he probably feels liked by me if not loved. He is like a little kid to me in a lot of ways, and like a brother to me at times and at times like a father, and at times like a professional colleague. (and at times like a son) But today I feel like making fun of him so I will. I am a little afraid of his reaction, he might feel hurt, he might not trust me in the future, so I will listen to this feeling, maybe, and send him a copy of this before I post it. Maybe. lol. I feel a little regret for letting him kind of veto something I sent to him earlier this year on EI tests. I have a lot of things I want to say about EI tests, but after I sent him what I wrote, I lost motivation to say what I wanted to say.
Anyhow, I am thinking about David a lot lately. I looked at his web site a couple weeks ago and he has changed it all around. One one of his EI links pages he has left my site off, and I felt hurt and resentful and offended by that. But I haven't written him to tell him how I feel. And I looked at his site again yesterday trying to find a quote about how our feelings tell us what is imporant to think about, or slt (something like that).
Then I found that he had a copy of an article that he and his buds wrote. (buds is short for buddies, or amigos, friends etc. - see you will learn a little Spanish if you read my web sites, lol - ah if you didn't know what lol is it means laugh out loud, and if I have to tell you that then you need to be spending more time chatting with teenagers on the Internet. See I just deliberately told you what you "need" to do, just for the hell of it, or let's say for the fun of it, because I am feeling in a playful, provocative, mischeivieous mood this morning, so let's see now, what would Mr. Emotional Intelligence tell me I :"should" do if I want to prolong that mood. He never seems to stop and think about what moods or what feelings are "good" for humanity. Like he never seems to stop and think about what goals a business "should" be pursuing. Or a society. Or the human species as a whole. He seems to just accept the values, and goals that were brainwashed into him by living in the USA and being rasied as a Catholic. Now he has converted to being Jewish, or that is what he told me when I saw him last a couple years ago. Maybe by now he has become enlightened and converted to being a human instead of some subset of it.
I don't like this...(what I am writing I mean)
So I will change it.
Do I change it to... I have a friend...
and that is where I left it....
What's bothering me...
The website without my link.
2. The six seconds article
3. The article on the new MSCEIT
more unfinished notes from that day....
I don't like people who covernt to Buddhism.
I understand that they convert because they want and need a new belief system. The beliefs they were raised with caused them too much pain. But if they are so fucking smart, like Daniel Goleman is, or is supposed to be according to the intelligence geniuses who let him into Harvard, why don't they think up their own belief system?
How can someone be smart enough to get into Harvard, yet not be able to make up their own belief system?!
You can see mine on the home page of my personal site, by the way. http://stevehein.com
My changing moods. I felt playful. Then I felt afraid. Now I feel motivationless.
It is hard for me to get something done because what I want to do depends on how I feel, and my feelings change so quickly.
I head out side to go to the Internet cafe to post something and I get depressed by seeing the children and teenagers in their uniforms, marching off for another day's brainwashing session. And I can't walk anymore. My body slows down. It stops. I can't even stand up. I have to sit down. The other day I was laying on doorstep of some building that was closed. Sometimes I have so much trouble walking that I appear drunk. I have to hold myself up against the walls and I reach out to grab a hold of the metal bars on the windows to keep me from falling down.
Let's have a little fun with Jack Mayer, David Caruso and the "APA" - The American Psychological Association."
I started writing something that day in October. I decided to follow up today and write a bit more about the APA and their "guidelines" today. Here is what I wrote.
I also wrote this note to psychology students and anyone who thinks they might want to study psychology in a university