Saturday, February 19, 2005

I think therefore I am....Really?!

Well, so I had a recent conversation with a bright curious philosopher in training. He was obviously German and well versed (or so he wanted it to seem) in Hegel. I am sure he is very well read but in my opinion he epitomized the idea we are dealing with..namely the obsession with intellect. Two hundred or more years ago during the renaissance we gained and lost something. The gain was the discovery of scientific methodology in our thinking. The loss was the illusion that this was infallible. So started our love affair with the primacy of human intellect. It has been a boon in many ways...Mendel, penicillin, computers and air conditioning. But it also left us bereft of other ways of growth. So much so that we have now been believing for the past fifty years that the human intellect can fathom the very universal truths in life, i.e. the intellect will help us traverse the boundaries of metaphysics and show us the truths behind our real "selves". Or better still it has led a lot of us to believe that these do not exist as we have no intellectual construct of these. So they were/are rejected along with the other corruptions proselytized by the church. This intellectual indefatigability is the underpinning of the same obsession with sensory gratification (read of the mind) that we had talked about a few posts ago. This same obsession and it's participatory mental jingoism is what has resulted in spiritual aridity in our cultures. The mind/intellect (I know the use of these two interchangeably will make the epistemologists out there cringe) has gone from a tool to be used for personal and societal growth to the master of our selves. Thus most of us live in a state of almost continuous mental chatter that saps us dry of any other form of development. These thoughts and the role of the intellect need to be explored further.


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