Every living thing develops from one state to another in order to support the props of life. Humans, in particular, demonstrate this trait so clearly. Once we grow, both physically and mentally, development gets wedded to growth. Development is a more sophisticated human trait compared to growth. Generally, we regard growth as a change in size of a structure – from a smaller to a larger structure; but development has to do with a progress to a new level of advancement of a structure, an advancement that shows that the structure in question has – for better, not for worse – attained a glorious sophistication. Humans, therefore, develop to affirm this point.
It appears that since development is a natural necessity of every human, the collective human development is doubtless. Once we are all developing, life will be more sophisticated, advanced, better, cherished in all corners of the world. Moreover, any bestial instincts in humans will be progressively expunged and replaced by the rational instincts of peace and love. But the principle of development is not a fixed principle; it is varied within the context of an equally varied culture. In this sense, development ought to be viewed as culturally instructed. For this reason, any attack by one culture on another culture on the basis that the aggressor’s culture is the best neglects the two important questions that exercise the conscience of humans, as stated above. The neglect indicates a surge in arrogance, and, perhaps, ignorance.
Development need not push aside the cultural paradigm and stress on the atomistic individual as the route to development. An individualized culture, meaning a culture that is projected in countless ways by the distinctive doings of every person, presupposes the mastery of one’s self in any number of ways to face the challenges of life. By mastering the self, by advancing mental effort, the course of an individual’s action is expected to be largely mind-dependent; emotional endeavour gets sidelined, so too the idea of sharing. The creative instincts of a person, his/her ability to coordinate a definite consequence, are chiefly judged to emanate from an antecedent mental reflection. Herein lies the notion of an individualized culture.
But in order to pursue wants, in order to live according to personal tastes, individual minds have to deliberate differently. And since individual wants are very different from one another, it stands to reason that an individualized culture is undefined in content. Whatever pleases the self, the ego, much as it doesn’t conflict with other individuals’ mind-determined pursuits, is good for contributing towards the individualized culture. An individualized culture is full of self-determination though it is also full of confrontations with nature.
If to advance in life means a kind of mental reflection that enables one to attain a high level of personal development, then the secrets of nature, in whichever way it is humanly understood, have to submit to humans’ will. The difficulty in this lifestyle is that it does not limit the cognitive ability of humans face-to-face with nature. It prompts mental ingenuity to overrule the acts of nature. The search for the secrets of nature becomes a restless ambition. Morality, social responsibility, are judged within the scope of self-determination, not the mystic workings of nature.
What may have eluded the conscience is that nature is there for all time; and cognitive ability – or to use the more popular word, intelligence – has many faces to it. An obvious failing of the theses of intelligence inheres in the application of psychometry to judge a person’s level of intelligence. Psychometry insults the moral and spiritual basis of intelligence within either an individualized or a cooperative culture. Psychometry presumes that humans are encased in a mental powerhouse, a powerhouse that can be statistically measured, a powerhouse that is personal, that is a biological privilege; yet psychometry fails to reckon the gracious alliance that ought to exist between a person and the natural environment.
John is privileged in mental acumen because his biological structure has the advanced features that, by necessity, yield a high intelligence quotient (IQ), proponents of psychometric intelligence are prepared to argue. To see the immediate flaw in this contention, one has to understand that even with the genuine requirements of an individualized culture, self-determination, the will to conquer the secrets of nature, could take any number of ways in connection with any constructive direction that the mind commissions the agent in question. Should my mind direct me to engage in competitive sports and excel in this area instead of engaging in complex mathematical computations or logical analysis, then I am professing intelligence within the limits of an individualized culture. Am I, for goodness sake, expected to prove my intellectual insight by subscribing to the bogus tenets of psychometry? A similar argument can be advanced to explain the spirited intellectual pursuits of an agent in the area of science, the arts, any kind of entertainment, or any kind of morally right pursuit. One needs to respect and admit all such pursuits, and, thus, rid intelligence of any bias, any narrow definitions.