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Observations placeholder

Blacking, Professor John - How musical is man? - The link between music and intelligence



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Dr John Blacking – How musical is man?

I often wondered how it was that at my preparatory school most of the scholarships were won by choristers, who represented only a third of the school and missed more than a third of the classes because of sung services and choir practice.

When I lived with the Venda, I began to understand how music can become an intricate part of the development of mind, body, and harmonious social relationships.

These ideas are, of course, older than the writings of Boethius and Plato on music; but I hope that my own experiences may add a fresh perspective to a perennial problem..............

…-differences in cultures and developments in technology are the result of differences not of intellect, but of human organization. If the whites of south Africa seem to perform better than the blacks, or the rich and elite of a country seem to perform better than the poor or the masses, it is not because they or their parents are cleverer or have a richer cultural heritage: it is because their society is organized in such a way that they have better opportunities to develop their human potential, and consequently their cognitive organization.

If intelligence tests devised by members of a certain class show poor performance by the members of another class in a theoretically "open" society, we should first ask just how open the society is and consider to what degree its class divisions may inhibit the cognitive development of its less fortunate members.

The source of the experience

Blacking, Professor John

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps