Inside Look On Human Intellect

147/162 05 Sep 89 18:00:56

From: Mike Carrillo

To: Everyone

Subj: The Intellect



The following are a few thoughts on the intellect taken from The Notebooks

of Paul Brunton, Volume 1…


Most of us move from one standpoint to another, whether it be a lower or a

higher one, because our feelings have moved there. The intellect merely records

and justifies such a movement and does not originate it.


Intellect, reason, and intelligence are not convertible terms in this

teaching. The first is the lowest faculty of the trio, the third is the

highest, the second is the medial one. Intellect is logical thinking based on a

partial and prejudiced collection of facts. Reason is logical thinking based on

all available and impartially collected facts. Intelligence is the fruit of a

union between reason and intuition.


Logic is always beset by the serious charge that its so-called truths are

fallacious ones. For instance, it insists on the law of contradiction, the law

which says that a statement of facts cannot be true and false at the same time.

But the careful study of illusions produces conclusions which falsify this law.

We do not mean by this criticism to declare logic to be useless. We mean only

what we have elsewhere written, that it is a good servant but a bad master.


Right thinking is not only an intellectual quality; it is almost a moral



Shallow thought, superficial reasoning, is the means to bondage, but hard

thinking, deep reasoning, is the means to freedom.


Reasoned thinking may contribute in two ways to the service of mystical

intuition and mystical experience. First and commonest is a negative way. It

can provide safeguards and checks against their errors, exaggerations,

vageries, and extravagancies. Second and rarest is a positive and creative way.

It can lead the aspirant to its highest pitch of abstract working and then

invite its own displacement by a higher power.


It is fallacious to believe that clear and precise intellectual expression

is inimical to, and hence unable to accompany, inspired and flashing mystical

experience. It is true that many mystics have been intellectually hindered and

limited and that this simplicity made their ascent easier. But it is not true

that such a one-sided development will be the end of man’s story. It is the

whole of life which has to be experienced, and which the universal laws force

everyone to experience in the end. The growth of intelligence — of which

intellect is a limited but necessary part — can only be put aside or avoided

for a time, not for all time.


We do not overcome our doubts by supressing them, we do not meet our

misgivings by denying them, and we do not refute falsehood by shirking

questions which happen to be inconvenient.


When intelligence is applied so thoroughly as to yield a whole view and

not merely a partial view of existence, when it is applied so persistently as

to yield a steady insight into things rather than a sporadic one, when it is

applied so detachedly as to be without regard to personal preconceptions, and

when it is applied so calmly that feelings and passions cannot alter its

direction, then and only then does a man become truly reasonable and capable of

intellectually ascertaining truth.



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148/162 05 Sep 89 18:32:22

From: Mike Carrillo

To: Everyone

Subj: The Intellect II



The following are a few thoughts taken from The Notebooks of Paul Brunton,

Volume 1…


Intellect can perceive what belongs to reality, not reality itself. The

metaphysician deludes himself into thinking that he has seen the world in all

its varied aspects, but what he has really seen is the world in all its

intellectual aspects only. Moreover when he thinkings that he has put together

the results of one science with another, uniting them all into a harmonious

whole, he omits to reckon that such are the limitation of human capacity and

scientific knowledge, that no man could ever combine all the multitudinous

results. He could never acquire an intimate knowledge of them during a single

lifetime. Therefore he could never develop a complete philosophy of the

universe as a whole.

The intellect fulfils itself practically when it discovers that each idea

it produces is incomplete and imperfect and therefore passes on to replace it

by a further one, but it fulfils itself metaphysically when it discovers that

ever idea which it can possibly produce will always and necessarily be

incomplete and imperfect.

Now so far as they are almost entirely metaphysical works, these two

volumes have no option but to make their appeal chiefly to reason alone. And

expounding the special and unique system called the metaphysics of truth as

they do, they have to start where possible from verifiable facts rather than

mere speculations. But whatever other importance they ascribe to reasoning as

an instrument of truth-attainment applies only to the particular stage for

which it is prescribed, which is the stage of metaphysical discipline and

certainly not beyond it. Although the status bestowed on reason in every

metaphysical system beginning with science must necessarily be a primary one,

its status within the larger framework of the integral hidden teaching can only

be a secondary one. This teaching possesses a larger view and does not end with

science or limit itself to the rational standpoint alone. How can it do so when

metaphysics is merely its intermediate phase? We must rightly honour reason to

its fullest extent, but we need not therefore accept the unreasonable doctrine

that the limits of reason constitutes the limits of truth.

Our senses can perceive only what they have been formed to perceive. Our

reason similarly cannot grasp what it was never formed to grasp. Within their

legitimate spheres of operation, the deliverances of both sense and reason

should be acceptable to us, but outside those spheres we must seek for

something that transcends both.

But the basic cause why reason is insufficient exists in the fact that

intellect — the instrument with which it works — is itself insufficient.

Reason is the right arrangement of thinking. Each thought thus arranged depends

for its existence on another thought and is unable to exist without such a

relation, that is, it suffers from relativity. Hence a thought cannot be

considered as an ultimate in itself and therefore reason cannot know the

absolute. The intellect can take the forms of existence apart bit by bit and

tell us what they consist of. But such surgical dissection cannot tell us what

existence itself is. This is something which must be experienced, not merely

thought. It can explain what has entered into the composition of a painting

but, as may be realized if we reflect a little, it cannot explain why we feel

the charm of the painting. The analytic intellect describes reality

sufficiently to give some satisfaction to our emotions of our intelligence, but

it does not touch this bafflinf elusive reality at all. What it has dissected

is not the living throbbing body but the cold dead image of it.

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149/162 05 Sep 89 18:51:44

From: Mike Carrillo

To: Everyone

Subj: The Intellect III



When reason tells us that God is, it does not actually know God. The

antennae of intellectual research cannot penetrate into the Overself because

thinking can only establish relations between ideas and thus must forever

remain int he realms of dualities, finitudes, and individualities. It canot

grasp the whole but only parts. Therefore reason which depends on thinking is

incompetent to comprehend the mysterious Overself. Realization is to be

experienced and felt; thought can only indicate what it is likely to be and

what it is not likely to be. Hence Al Ghazzali, the Sufi, has said: “To define

drunkenness, to know that it is caused by vapours that rise from the stomach

and cloud the seat of intelligence, is a different thing from being drunk. So I

found ultimate knowledge consists in experiences rather than definitions.” The

fact that metaphysics tries to exlain all existence in intellectual terms along

tries to force human nature into conceptual molds, causes it to suppress or

distort the non-intellectual elements in both. The consequence it that

metaphysics along cannot achieve an adequate understanding. If it insists upon

exhalting it own results, then it achieves misunderstanding.

… There is more, but I’m out of time and I’m sure many of you are

getting bored, so I’ll end this post on The Intellect…


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