Emotional Intelligence: Accumulated, Unarticulated Knowledge

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In the documentary, ‘Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?’ Noam Chomsky mentions how farm yields dropped in Liberia after the latest in scientific agriculture was introduced. After much investigation it was found that this new technology had failed to take into account the extensive, detailed local lore about planting passed on from mother to daughter for thousands of years; a lore that gave very high yields in not very productive soil.

Chomsky called this knowledge passed from one generation to the next “a repository of endless tradition … accumulated, unarticulated knowledge.”

This is a great analogy for the development of emotional intelligence for every culture on earth- not an instinct, but rather culturally-specific lore. In the past a bad interaction with another person could have as deadly a consequence as a poor yield (i.e. death), so it makes sense that humans would try to develop the best strategies for dealing not only with their emotions but that of others- as time went on we got better and better at it, thus creating and developing this accumulated, unarticulated knowledge we have today.

However, in the 21st century, where parents are spending an average of 95 minutes with their children every day (an hour with Mum, 35 minutes with Dad) (Sevilla 2014), is it any surprise that the responsibility to transmit the ever-expanding lore of emotional literacy is slowly shifting to school rather than home?

What this phenomenon allows educational scholars to do for the first time in history is investigate what an emotional literacy curriculum looks like (at least, its secular version), how the role of teachers is changing and whether lores taught from culture to culture differ to a great extent.

What do you think it means to be emotionally intelligent?

Do you think this should be taught at home, at school or a mix of both?

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