The Failed Intelligence

The Failed Intelligence is a book of the spanish philosopher José Antonio Marina, who affirms that intelligence is our main salvation, and the stupidity is a great menace. According with Marina’s intelligence theory, he tries to answer some questions we often make: Why do we always make the same mistakes? Why do we spend so much time spoiling our lives? And, why do intelligent people often behave so stupidly?

But, when can we say intelligence is failing? The failure of intelligence happens when it’s incampable of adjusting to reality. The main goal of intelligence is happiness, that’s why failure it’s related to misery. As well, Marina makes a distinction between the failed intelligence and damaged intelligence.

Seven chapters explain Marina’s theory:

CHAPTER 1: The Spoilt Intelligence

A very smart person can spoilt his life because of a stupid behaviour. So, the key of intelligence succes is how to direct correctly our conduct. This is why Marina’s divides two intelligence strata: 1) The Intelectual Capacity, in wich is all our basic or structural intelligence that can be messure by tests; and 2) the use of our Intelectual Capacity, wich refers to the intelligence in action.

This distinguish between being intelligent, and behaving intelligently. The stupidity in this case takes action because the person might have inadequated mental models, inefficiency of the Excecutive Intelligence andor a mistaken hierarchy in the referential frames or moral values.

CHAPTER 2: The Cognitive Failures

These are:

  • Mistakes: Making mistakes is a grave intelligence failure; but we can recognize the mistake and learn from it.
  • Prejudice: It’s to be absolutely certain about something without in fact knowing.
  • Superstition: It’s the survival of a dead and unjustifiable belief, but that we still try to justify.
  • Dogmatism: It’s keeping a previous belief.
  • Fanatism: It’s al lthe above but taken into the practice… to actions.
  • Mental cysts: Obsessions.
  • Toxic beliefs: Are conclusions of great firmness that do not rely on evidences that tsupport them. They value an experience because of a specific detail or in the excessive generalization.
  • Credulity: It’s to easily believe in anything.

CHAPTER 3: The Affective Failures

They’re not the main cause of intelligence failure, but these kind of failures happens when we can’t recognize what we feel (feelings, fury, love, hypocondria, nerve crisis) and when they take over the human mind.

CHAPTER 4: The Failed Languages

Even if we don’t believe it so, women and men communicate in different ways, we event communicate differently with ourselves, this might lead to several errors in communications, specially in love relationships.

CHAPTER 5: The Failure of the Will

The Will is the intelligently directed motivation; makes a balance between the desires and the actions, and helps in the decission making process. The failures of the will are:

  • Procastination: It’s leaving something for tomorrow, it’s abandonment.
  • Indecision: The disability of making desicions out of the fear of mistaking or fear of the new.
  • Routine: What is always done it might not be adecuate to certain new ocassions.
  • Obstinacy or stubbornness.
  • Addictions: Who is addicted to something has lost his freedom.

CHAPTER 6: Goal Choices

Choosing goals fail because:

  • The wrong goal was chosen. It was impossible, unrealistic, contradictory.
  • The chosen goal can’t be coordinated with the ones imposed by society.
  • The goal can’t be coordinated with somebody else’s goals.

CHAPTER 7:  Intelligent Societies and Stupid Societies

Smart groups get information in a better way, they adjust to reality ad percibe problems sooner, create effective solutions and put then into practice. In the other hand, stupid societies create problems they don’t know how to solve so they live in chaos and conffusion.

When do we know when a society has failed?

  • When the current beliefs, the way of settling conflicts, the evaluation forms and styles of living decrease the posibilities of private intelligences.
  • When the shared intelligence doesn’t increase everybody’s capacities.
  • When certain private beliefs are kept, such as: prejudments, superstisms, dogmatisms and fanatisms.
  • When there is no goodness or kindness. A person is good or kind when knows the better solution for a problem that affects society and puts it into action.
  • When the affectiveness is mainly about hate agressiveness, arrogance, envy, helpessness divert the course of the society.
  • When the society make a mistake choosing its goals.

APILOGUE: Praise of the triumphant intelligence

In the private sphere, the itelligence succes is the achievment of happines. In the public life or politic sphere it’s the achievment of justice.


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