Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Schrodinger's Heroes: Multiple Intelligences

The Schrodinger's Heroes team spans different types of intelligence. While Alex is most often hailed as the genius of the team, she is not the only one. Several other folks have exceptional ability in their own areas of expertise. Even the "everyman" Chris has important skills and information, despite not being an actual genius. One recurring character, Midge, is noted as being hopelessly outclassed -- but she still manages to cause trouble (and more rarely, to resolve it) for the heroes. See the menu post and character posts one, two, and three for more details.

First, what is genius? It involves remarkable intellectual ability, creativity, and insight which place the individual notably above the competition. It can refer to mastery of a single field to the point of domination, or the ability to function fluently in many fields and acquire new ones easily. Some quotations on the topic include: "Doing easily what others find difficult is talent. Doing what even talent finds difficult is genius." and "Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see."

There are different types of intelligence. They deal with very different types of perception, knowledge, and skill. Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences originally listed seven types: logical-mathematical, spatial, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal; naturalistic and existential have been added since.

A person may excel at one or more types, yet still be average or even wretched at another(s). One indicator of high intelligence is the capacity to work across a very wide range of fields; but that's not a universal. Most people, even geniuses, are better at some things than others. In character development especially, literary characters are more interesting and deliver better plot conflict when they have a balance of strengths and weaknesses.

Let's take a look at the types of intelligence shown by different members of Schrodinger's Heroes:

Alex -- She is the visionary leader of the team, inspiring people through example and grand ideas. She is one of the world's greatest quantum mechanics, and probably one of the top five smartest humans alive. Her abilities heavily favor the theoretical over the practical, and she can be absent-minded simply because her mind spends a lot of time in whole different realms.
High: logical-mathematical, spatial, linguistic, existential.
Low: bodily-kinesthetic, naturalistic.

Ash -- She is a buffer and anchor for the team. She is one of the world's greatest computer programmers. She is wise as well as smart. Ash balances the theoretical and the practical. Her gift for languages is so profound that it carries her into realms where few people can follow. She doesn't apply it the way a linguist or a translator would, usually; instead she uses it for cultural and technological purposes. Ash is also a skilled storyteller. She has keen hearing and often notices sounds that other people do not. She makes an excellent listener if not expected to furnish a great deal of advice or opinion. She knows herself well, but often feels reserved around other people unless there is strong common ground, or until she knows them well. She often hums, sings, or talks aloud to herself; and she plays a Native American flute. Her cultural background leaves her a little out of phase with most other people, though.
High: logical-mathematical, linguistic, musical, intrapersonal, naturalistic, existential.
Low: interpersonal.

Bailey -- He is the practical leader of the team. He is a deft and clever handyman, the hardware to Alex's theory and Ash's software. Like Ash, he serves as a bridge between ideas and objects. He manifests what other folks think up, and repairs what gets broken. Bailey is good at writing instructions; he is also a fast and voracious reader. He loves tinkering with things, for fun or profit. He likes physical puzzles and games that involve fitting pieces together, especially with a time limit. Bailey helps Alex interface with other people. He communicates fluently, inspires respect and confidence. His organizational ability keeps the team functional. However, like a lot of hardware geeks, he has less awareness of organic life, including his own.
High: spatial, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal.
Low: intrapersonal, naturalistic.

Chris -- He is a fluent follower and spends most of his time supporting other members of the team, although he can take the lead if necessary. He is the most solid anchor in everyday, practical matters. Less intellectual than other team members, Chris provides grounding and physical skills. He is strong and tough, with a good sense of his body and a background in athletic and wilderness activities. He likes manual activities such as whittling, mechanics, and barbecue. He is also fully versed in Texan culture -- and unlike Ash and Kay, he is a white man so he has more influence there, when he chooses to use it. Although his prior exposure to science, literature, and social issues has been low, Chris has a very strong moral fiber and once alerted to a need for these things, he makes an honest effort to broaden his horizons.
High: bodily-kinesthetic, musical, naturalistic.
Low: logical-mathematic, linguistic, existential.

Kay -- She is the security and first aid service for the team. She has the widest gap between her primary fields: soldier (death) and medic (life). She also has the best balance between leadership and followship, able to do both fluently. She excels at practical adaptability. She learns and uses different languages easily. Her body performs well at combat and athletic skills, but also at fine dexterity. She likes puzzles, and especially games that require very steady hands. While her aptitude for math and theory is low, she is good with the life sciences and understands scientific method. She enjoys biological experiments. However, she gives little or no thought to deeper meaning, morality, or other ephemeral ideas; that is someone else's job. Kay just tries to delegate that to someone trustworthy.
High: spatial, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, naturalistic.
Low: logical-mathematical, existential.

Morgan -- She is a buffer for the team, easygoing and ordinary in most ways aside from her exceptional grasp of astronomy. She bridges the gap between a theoretical and practical awareness of certain aspects of nature. In particular, she focuses on the nature of her home in Hawai'i, and has a much harder time dealing with the nature of Texas or other unfamiliar locations. She has a knack for expressing the beauty of nature in words and equations. She is enthusiastic about being able to apply experiments in areas of science that would usually be inaccessible without the Teflon Tesseract. She likes abstract games that involve fitting pieces together or solving challenges. Worth noting is that female!Morgan has higher interpersonal aptitude than male!Morgan. While they both excel at math, male!Morgan has higher aptitude with pure theory than female!Morgan. That's a big part of why his reason for leaving his home dimension was an interpersonal crisis. He also loves strategy games.
High: logical-mathematical, spatial, linguistic, naturalistic, existential
Low: bodily-kinesthetic

Pat -- He is the social leader of the team and their steadiest buffer. He can defuse conflict, find solutions, and persuade even reluctant people to go along. He excels at understanding what other people feel and want. Although he has not chosen to pursue fame, there are few people who could best him in this area. He is wise as well as smart. He is strong and confident in body, also deft with manual skills like knitting and cooking. He knows himself very well and communicates his needs fluently. He is not good with math, pure theory, abstract or hard sciences. However, he is quite good at applying logic through wisdom and practicality; and he is comfortable with social sciences. He excels at explaining things, using metaphors tailored to each person's experience.
High: linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, existential.
Low: logical-mathematical.

Quinn -- He is the most adaptable person on the team, a sea-anchor in shifting conditions. Few people can match his flexibility and equanimity in the face of indeterminate reality. He can describe even the indescribable; he is a fast and voracious reader. His level of self-awareness is so acute that it merges with his awareness of others, so that he often notices things about other people which they have not even realized about themselves. He negotiates fluently for his needs. He also excels at identifying and working with patterns in large, complex systems such as corporations or economies. He loves strategy games, and indeed, many other tabletop or computer games. Quinn inspires people to try his ideas. Being genderqueer has undermined his connection with his own body, and he has spent far more time in civilization than in the wilderness.
High: logical-mathematic, linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, existential.
Low: bodily-kinesthetic, naturalistic.

Tim the Tentacle Monster -- He is an alien, so his mind doesn't work quite the same as a human mind. He is extremely intelligent. He knows a great deal about technology and scientific theory that humans have yet to discover. The social and sexual dynamics for his species are different, though. Linguistic aptitude is split because his overall brilliance and comparative level of development allows him to learn human languages very fast; but he isn't very good at translating or describing many concepts, a constant source of frustration. Similarly, Tim is a rather shy and gentle person to begin with, not an extrovert; that leaves him underequipped for forming close relationships or resolving conflicts across species lines. These factors play a major role in Tim's introduction to the team and his evolving role in it.

There are also aspects of intelligence recognized by Tim's people but not framed as such on Earth. He maintains that the intelligence of tway is an awareness of what is not, rather than what is. So for example, an artist gifted in tway would take advantage of negative space, whereas a writer or theoretician would identify gaps in what had already been done and then work to fill them. Tim excels at tway. He maintains that the intelligence of shah is an ability to unite disparate ideas or elements, a gift for integration. A metallurgist gifted in shah would work with alloys, a musician would work with an orchestra, and a physicist would pursue the Theory of Everything. Tim sucks at shah.
High: logical-mathematical, spatial, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, existential, tway.
Low: linguistic, interpersonal, naturalistic, shah.

Schrodinger -- He is a black neutered male cat, essentially asexual. He is the soul of Schrodinger's Heroes, a sort of collective totem for the team. His interpersonal intelligence is probably the strongest. Schrodinger understands, in his own way, the vagaries of time and space. Like cats in general, he is physicaly graceful and enchanted by the existential, with one eye always on the big picture. Matters of music don't concern him much, though, and he's much better at intuition than logic.
High: interpersonal, existential, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial
Low: logical-mathematical, musical

Bruce and Hulk -- For the series Schrodinger's Hulk, I also wrote out the respective genius specialties of Bruce and Hulk.
Tags: ethnic studies, gender studies, reading, schrodinger's heroes, science fiction, weblit, writing
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