PAGE IN PROGRESS What you see here is a page of my hypertext book POWER of meanings // MEANINGS of power. Initially empty, this page will slowly be filled with thoughts, notes, and quotes. One day, I will use them to write a coherent entry, similar to these completed pages. See this post to better understand my creative process. Thank you for your interest and patience!
The most well known power of mind is intelligence. Controversies about intelligence test multiple intelligences (Gardner)
Social emotional intelligence
Understanding as power (form of intelligence) understanding others (empathy; levels of empathy: function - I feel sad when I see someone crying; higher level - trying to understand other if your dislike them)
power to wait; delayed gratification; my 4.5 year old son saying: “I don’t want to wait every day!”
self-awareness understanding and managing your emotions (emotional regulation)
ability to see that meanings we attach to an object, person, situation are not absolute ability to see a situation differently or acknowledge that it can be seen differently
When we think about mental abilities, we imagine intelligence. However, considerable disagreements exist on what counts as intelligence, as debates about the IQ test reveal. Some note that people have multiple intelligences, while others disagree. Debates have raged about mental abilities related to different spheres of life. Are women better at empathy while men are better at math? Two other well-known mental abilities are logic or memory, none of them simple or straightforward.
Other mental abilities may not even have specific names. This does not mean that they are less important, but rather that they are less understood or valued. For example, there is no word (in the languages that I know, at least) for an ability to choose a certain interpretation of a situation or an ability to react to circumstances in one way rather than another. However, arguments are made about the importance of these abilities for our well-being (see Mindfulness, Buddhism).
Same as with physical abilities, one can explore different levels of mental abilities, ranging from a function to a consciously-owned skill that can be improved. For example, we can talk about biases as functions of our brains (Level 1) that are indispensable for being human. We can become aware of these biases and of how they can cause problems (Level 2). Finally, although we cannot get rid of our biases, we can train ourselves not to allow them shape all our reactions (Level 3).
Recognizing how intentionality affects our mental abilities allows us to work on improving these abilities. Improving our mental abilities can itself become a source ofpower. However, since mental abilities are so difficult to name and classify, it is not yet clear which ones we can/should improve and to what extent.