Rachel and Kate had been good friends since high school in 1969, when they were co-valedictorians of their graduating class. After high school, Kate left town to attend college and Rachel joined the navy; they kept in touch during the 1970s and 1980s. While Kate married, completed law school, and began her law practice, Rachel traveled in Burma, Laos, and Vietnam, buying antiquities and art objects and somehow getting these “culturally sensitive” items out of their respective countries of origin. She winced when people used the term “smuggler” to characterize what she did for a living. In her law practice, Kate often represented property developers, business owners, and licensed professionals in their dealings with government agencies, neighborhood associations, and professional licensing boards.
Rachel left the Southeast Asia antiquities market in the mid-1980s and later got a van and spent the next eight years traveling through Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, collecting antiquities and earning a living painting murals for businesses and getting occasional work restoring art for museums and art dealers.
While Rachel was adventuring in Latin America, Kate was building her solo law practice to the point where it allowed her to make a reasonable amount of money and still leave town for a week or two at a time to travel with her husband. Rachel returned to the U.S., married, and filled both outbuildings on her property with stuff that she had accumulated over the years, some of it very valuable, some of it junk. For Rachel, who worked “off the books” most of her life, her possessions were her life’s savings, her Social Security, she joked that her estimated Social Security retirement earnings would be about $25 a month, the U.S. Navy being the only employer contributing to her account. Kate, on the other hand, paid taxes and had investments and property to sustain her in her retirement.
One evening, Rachel and Kate talked about where their lives had taken them since their high school valedictorian times, and how they had used their intellectual gifts to establish their respective ecological niches in society. They agreed that what we call “intelligence” can manifest itself in a variety of behaviors and lifestyles. Kate considered herself “book smart”; Rachel, on the other hand, considered herself “street smart.” Despite these differences, both women felt that they had done pretty well in life. Psychologist Robert Sternberg has proposed a theory of intelligence that takes this diversity of thinking styles into account. Please visit the Web sites below and write a 2 page explanation of how Sternberg’s theory of intelligence would apply to Rachel and Kate.
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