I had been looking for a way to understand the intellectual functions and their relation to the Self over the past few days, and some of the relations turned out to be pretty unexpected. I wanted to share them.
Firstly, the questions that bothered me were the regions of interest, which appeared to be ‘interesting’ to the intellect, that people have been busy with in the recent past. Many of the subjects like higher mathematics, ingenious methods of stealth weapons, intricate games of cards, upgrades and apps for phones and computers, appeared to be very ‘interesting’ to the intellect, but not really essential in thinking about life and the consequent development of a human being. So what distinguishes an intellect, which is a recent development of the human mind, from the Intellect, which is the end result of a thought experience? And how to use that Intellect to further evolution?
It appears that the intellect can be directed “upward”, or “downward”. By upward I mean the links in the logical structure are directed towards the aim of apprehending reality, and thereby seeking to better organize oneself and one’s choices and actions, to promote evolution. That would make it the Intellect. By downward, it would be to engage thinking towards events that would enhance the ego. Let us see what this means.
Taking an example, say of chess-- what is the motivation for the game? That one defeats another. It is seen in many mathematicians, that the end result of the work is the “satisfaction derived from the work”. As long as the satisfaction remains just a cursory phrase, it is fine. However if the person derives genuine pleasure from the solution of a problem, and hunts for another, that is a quality of the ego. Most of the technological developments stem from a need to provide physical conveniences, so that life would automatically become better.
However, by not examining assumptions like those, is a misapplication of the intellect, as it is designed to work on every aspect of life, and not just assumed ones. It is seen that the notion of simplicity and complexity work in a similar way… if the motivation is to discover reality, it is best to assume nothing about the simplicity or complexity of processes. Whatever one thinks about does tend to increase in complexity over time, and that is the nature of evolution. If the motivation is to arrive at the answers as fast as possible, then simplicity would become a “virtue”. There originates the concept of the Occam’s razor. Logically speaking, there is no reason why something simple has to be correct; it does not follow from any previous conceptions. Occam's razor, is illogical and unscientific.
On the other hand, if the motivation is to claim a lot of depth of knowledge, thus satisfying the need of the ego instead of the dealing with the gnawing feeling that one is not really doing something useful, then it is best to go in search of a shadow of evolution: complexity. Thus application of thought to something endlessly without carefully examining the assumptions will provide complexity, which will provide the illusion of exploring the unexplored, and satisfy the desire to conquer new territory. It would satisfy the desire, but would not go to the depth of any phenomenon in question, and would remain an entertainment. This has no doubt led the physicist Larson to conclude: “Complexity is entertaining, simplicity is not”. It is revealing to see that, as a doctrine, science ascribes to the simplicity of Occam’s razor, but has ended up in complexities that it has no way of digging itself out of-- a symptom of a collective compensation.
I would say that the best attitude is to follow “interesting” stuff only after making sure that the emotional links in the ego nature have been properly transformed into thought (and its passive component, intuitive feeling) else the result of an intellectual pursuit would remain the thrill of the chase. Events are neither simple nor complex, they just are. It is possible that as more laws are deduced, the event evolves in complexity, but that must be totally irrelevant to the Intellect, and must arrive of its own accord. That would not only enable an appropriate functioning of the thought process, but also enable the opening up of other realities, because we begin to penetrate the current one, for real.