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The menace of intellect.

The menace of intellect.
March 22, 2014, 07:53:44 PM
People assume intellect is good. Like most assumptions, this is highly suspect.
Intellect attempts to make sense of things.
Making sense of things is really only a drive towards comfort.
What if things make no sense, and are not meant to?
What is sense, anyway?

People like to feel comfortable. In fact, they often demand it.
Truth is, they don't have any clear idea of what comfort is, let alone how to obtain it.
Intellect takes what is, and changes it, in order to make it comfortable.
Unaware that there is comfort only in the way things are, before rendering them something they are not.

It is good to embrace discomfort. By doing so, one gains a clear idea of what comfort is.
Without this clarity, comfort is the absence of life, even while being not-yet dead.

Re: The menace of intellect.
March 22, 2014, 10:51:08 PM
Not to get all semantic, but intellect is really just one of the tools in man's rational toolbox. It can be used to rationalize complex ideas into comfortable (politically correct) ones, as you mention, but it can have a variety of other uses.

With respect to whether or not everything can be made sense of, I think it can. However, so much merely lies outside of the human capacity to make sense of it (maybe even the capacity of any possible organism).

Everything you said from "What is sense, anway?" on is correct, though, and insightful.

Re: The menace of intellect.
April 09, 2014, 01:04:29 AM
The trouble with intellect is one that is inherent to it. It can only go so far.
It runs out of context in realms where intellect does not exist.
It ceases to be relevant.

Intellect can intellectualize what happens right up to death. Then it dies.
It can theorize, but it can not know.
It can cause rockets to blast into space, and can collect data relative to material things.
But it can not know the nature of the non-material.

It can grasp the nature of energy, in an abstract way, and the interiors of distant suns, but therein lies its limit: it grasps. Like a dream, clear as day, upon waking. If you reach for it, it recedes. Grasped at, it is gone.

Soul is not limited to life/death. It can exist anywhere, forever. It can know.
What are those little quanta that so intrigue science?
Why do scientists get so caught up in trying to apply their intellects to these quantum particles?
All they can do is theorize, and maybe destroy a few, experimenting with them.
Maybe.

Too small to be vulnerable. Too wise to receive harm. Too incomprehensible for the intellect to grasp.
Consider quanta, and you consider God.


Re: The menace of intellect.
April 09, 2014, 03:48:19 PM
There are limits to what the rational mind can process. It can't process complex systems with large amounts of dependent variables. But it's good at understanding representative samples under the proper constraints.

It's one thing to understand these limits, it's another to devalue the mind since it is a dimension of the human experience equal in value to the heart and the will.

Re: The menace of intellect.
April 09, 2014, 04:18:57 PM
Mind, spirit and body together complete our ability to realize experiences. Remove one and our experiences are deprived.

Re: The menace of intellect.
April 09, 2014, 06:02:44 PM
There's nothing wrong with intellect, when it knows its place.
The problem is that it very often doesn't.

Re: The menace of intellect.
April 09, 2014, 06:24:55 PM
When that happens is contingent but its along a specific pattern of development.

Re: The menace of intellect.
April 09, 2014, 10:53:03 PM
Development, or retrograde entropy?
Perspective is everything.

Re: The menace of intellect.
April 10, 2014, 11:47:55 AM
This reminds one of Nicholas of Cusa.

"Nicholas begins with a single trope or symbol to lay out the parallels between his teachings in the three books, that of the “maximum.” God is the absolute Maximum; the universe is a created image of God, the “contracted” or restricted maximum. Christ unites the first two as the Maximum at once absolute-and-contracted. “Contraction” is a metaphor for the finite statusstatus of creatures, all of whom are limited images of God. “Absolute” is used in its etymological sense of “free from” (ab-solutus) to characterize God's infinity. As absolute maximum God is both unlimited and transcendent, unreachable by human conceptions that measure the limited or contracted realm of moremore and less. Once Cusanus conceptualizes human knowing as measuring, he proposes that our knowledge also cannot measure exactly the essence of any limited thing. A fortiori, when it comes to the unlimited God, Nicholas asserts that “there is no proportion between finite and infinite.” The infinite God remains beyond our ken. Human efforts to understand the depth and implications of this assertion are what will render our ignorance “learn-ed.”"

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cusanus/

Re: The menace of intellect.
April 10, 2014, 02:14:11 PM
Interesting post. Even more than interesting, because it employs intellect to demonstrate the limits of intellect.
That is probably the first time I have ever seen intellect refer to itself as limited, and thus humble itself before what it can not know.
When a man knows there are things he can not know, he opens himself to a different realm of knowing.
He moves from mind-knowing to knowing-without-mind.