Spiritual and Emotional Intelligence
see also Spirituality as Spirituality as Embodied Cognition: Living from the Depths
and Spirituality and the Embodied Mind: Whitehead and Mark Johnson
One aim of education is to help people grow in spiritual and emotional intelligence. Being "spiritually and emotionally intelligent" is best understood as a skill or capacity rather than a trait. The 12 principles of spiritual intelligence identified by Dinah Zohar (see below) along with the work in emotional intelligence done by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence provide helpful paramaters for thinking about emotional/spiritual intelligence. This kind of intelligence is creative, compassionate, practical, and wise: enabling a person to reframe ideas in new ways, face adversity with courage, sense connections, and to love others as they love themselves. Such intelligence is tremendously important in our troubled time; happily, it is available to people who are religious and non-religious, and to the vast majority who are somewhere in between. It can be and should an aim of education both formal and informal, secular and religious. The purpose of this page is to encourage people to consider spiritual/emotional intelligence as a subject of further exploration by offering reflections and resources toward that end.
- Jay McDaniel
- Jay McDaniel
1. We need to understand spiritual intelligence in a public and scientifically-informed way.
4. The neural and cognitive sciences, and also the social sciences, can help us understand spiritual intelligence.
6. Spiritual Intelligence can be understood naturalistically. The world's religions, at their best, have been repositories for one or another of its features.
7. Computers are not enough. There's more to life than 'information processing.'
10. Emotion and cognition are inseparable.
2. Twelve principles offer a starting point for understanding spiritual intelligence.
3. Understood in terms of these twelve principles, spirituality intelligence includes, but is more than, emotional intelligence.
5. Process theology offers a theological way of appreciating spiritual intelligence. It is a way of participating in God's life.
8. A naturalistic understanding of spiritual intelligence is especially important in a post-secular age.
9. The development of spiritual intelligence depends on relationships.
Summary -- A Process Appreciation
- Spiritual intelligence is a combination of emotional intelligence and intellectual understanding. The two cannot be separated.
- The twelve principles of spiritual intelligence identified by Dana Zohar offer a good sense of the core features and capacities of spiritual intelligence.
- Spiritual intelligence is largely intuitive but nevertheless cognitive in that it knows things about the other people, the natural world, and the larger cosmic context of life
- Spiritual intelligence is evoked by influences from beyond the self -- other people, plants and animals, trees and stars -- and emerges as a creative response to those influences. The soul of the universe -- God -- is among those influences.
- Spiritual intelligence can be embodied by individuals and groups of individuals.
- Many aspects of spiritual intelligence -- including the emotional aspects -- can be measured. See the work of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
- Spiritual intelligence is available to people of all ages. It is especially important that it be taught to young children.
- Spiritual intelligence is available to people who are religious, people who are not religious, and the vast majority of people who are somewhere in between.
- Spiritual intelligence can include, but does not require, belief in God, understood as a personal power or force.
- For those who believe in God, spirituality can be understood as a way of participating in God's life and responding to God's call.
- Spiritual intelligence can be a part of government, industry, and education.
- One purpose of religion in the 21st century is to help people grow in spiritual intelligence.
Addendum: The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
Four Tools for Teaching Emotional Intelligence