The Intelligent Person

Over the past few centuries, a certain ideal has become very popular: that of the intelligent person.

In traditional schools, the intelligent person would master classical languages and mathematics.

In a business setting, the intelligent person would anticipate commercial opportunities, take measured risks, build up an organization, and keep the books balanced and the stockholders satisfied all at the same time.

The Bible gives a prime example of the stewardship of money in the book of Luke, Chapter 20: verses 20-26;

Paying Taxes to Caesar

20    Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.

21    So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.

22    Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23    He saw through their duplicity and said to them,

24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

25    He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

26    They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.


Every society features its ideal human being. The ancient Greeks valued the person who displayed physical or athletic agility, rational judgment, and virtuous behavior.

The Romans highlighted manly courage, and the followers of Islam prized the holy soldier.

Under the influence of Confucius, Chinese populations traditionally valued the person who was skilled in poetry, music, calligraphy, archery, and drawing.

I was even fascinated to discover that even among the Keres tribe of the Pueblo Indians today, the person who cares for others is held in high regard.

That discovery was most encouraging!

Now fast forward to the 21st Century where a premium has been placed on two new intellectual virtuosos or types of prodigies: the “symbol analyst” and the “master of change”.

According to my studies, a symbol analyst can sit for hours in front of a string of numbers and words, usually displayed on a computer screen, and readily discern meaning in that maze of symbols.

This person can then make reliable, useful projections.


On the other hand, a master of change readily acquires new information, solves problems, forms “ties or partnerships” with mobile and highly dispersed people, and adjusts easily to changing circumstances.

Even cooler!

It should also be noted that those charged with guiding a society or community have always been on the look out for intelligent young people.

The Board of Governors of the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) made history in June 2018 when it announced the appointment of the institution’s first Vice President and Provost, Dr. Livingston Smith.

Dr. Smith has been with UCCI for eighteen years as a professor of Political Science, History, Sociology, Ethics and Research Methodology. He is currently the Director of Research and Publication and of Special Projects.

A few months ago I read an article in the Caymanian Times by the First Vice President and Provost, Dr. Livingston Smith.

He emphasized that the profile of the educated Caymanian that was developed by the Ministry of Education stated that an educated Caymanian should be enthusiastic and motivated about learning and be willing to extend his/her knowledge and skill after leaving school.

It also stated that this person should be literate, numerate and adept at using information, and communication technology.

They should also be a good communicator, creative and appreciative of the arts and have a positive outlook and high self-esteem.

They should be well-rounded, good at finding solutions to problems, flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and demands and have a strong work ethic and willingness to become an honest, reliable and responsible member of the work force.

And it doesn’t stop there- The educated Caymanian is also required to be respectful of God, themselves, others, people from different backgrounds, the environment and property.

They should be proud of and knowledgeable about the Caymanian culture, whilst being respectful of other cultures and beliefs; be a good team player, civic-minded and willing to serve and have an awareness of global issues affecting aspects of life in the 21st century.

Now that’s a well-rounded individual!

Dr. Livingston was also gracious enough to also mention a profile of the educated Jamaican that apparently was developed in the 2004 Task Force on Educational Reform report, titled Jamaica: A Transformed Education System.

It stated that an educated Jamaican should love to learn and will continuously develop wisdom and knowledge; is well-rounded (there’s that word again), agile of mind, able to adjust to changing situations, responsible and able to make decisions.

It also stated that this person should be able to speak another language (Hhmm), is a productive citizen, also a worker in charge of their personal and economical advancement; contributes to national development by being socially aware and responsible, conscious of what is good for society, committed to a sustainable lifestyle, spiritually conscious and mature (Amen!), tolerant of diversity and rooted in their Jamaican “smaddiness”.

That last requirement is my favorite! Lol!

However, if we were to think globally- now in the 21st Century with the use of advance technology, the intelligent person can be the person dispatched to the far corners of an empire and is responsible for executing orders competently.

Speaking of advance technology, unfortunately right now companies like Facebook find themselves in the midst of a scandal regarding the technology used to gather personal data and preferences of millions of its users.

Even though I have read and heard many criticisms regarding the matter, I still strongly believe these platforms are handy for communicating with friends and family as well as expressing your views on social and political issues happening around the world.

According to my research, In the late nineteenth century, Frances Galton, who was one of the founders of modern psychological measurements, thought that intelligence ran in the family.

Based on that assumption, he looked for intelligence in the offspring of those who occupied leading positions in the British society.

However around 1870, he began to devise and create more formal tests for intelligence, ones consistent with the emerging view of the human mind as a subject for measurement and experimentation.

Now in today’s modern world we have countless people avidly pursuing the best ways of defining, measuring, and nurturing intelligence.

As I stated many years ago in a previous article called, “An Aptitude Simply to Live”, God gifted each of us to bring great joy and fulfillment to our life and to others.

We use our human intelligence, linguistic talents, musical abilities and our drive to create visual arts, stories, myth, comedies, and dramas at various levels.

Think about it!

Some of us are gifted in all types of sports or gifted to solve complex math problems.
We even use our curiosity, moral virtue, our religious fervor, impulse for charitable giving, political convictions, sense of humor, our courage, perseverance, and our kindness at various aptitudes.

Locally our students are required to sit either the CXC, IGCSE, GCSE or SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) in order to graduate or before continuing their education.

Worldwide, my research shows that there are various primary, secondary, graduate, and professional examinations that are all based on technology originally developed to test intelligence.

It is obvious that efforts to measure intelligence will continue and become more widespread in the future.

Across cultures we see young children exceling in various pursuits, some mastering certain capabilities a lot faster than their peers.

When such children stand out, we call them talented or gifted and when they are performing at an adult level, we call them prodigies.

There are literally hundreds of books, dissertations or theses, and thousands of popular scholarly articles on the theory of intelligence, and other human cognitive capacities, such as creativity, expertise and genius.

Therefore I guess the question we each could ask ourselves is, how intelligent am I and what am I doing about it?

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