Intellect and Intelligence

A Product of Matter

(based on Sri Aurobindo's definition)

Bob Macfarlane

Dec. 28, 2001

We know from our reading of Sri Aurobindo that consciousness has arisen from the impact of force of form coming into contact with force of form, which creates sensation. In the earliest period of the formation of consciousness, sensation was limited to the immediate experience or event and had little or no observation, reflection or thought associated with it.

As life emerged, the quality of consciousness changed as a result of a build up of experience of sense events, which awakened observation, reflection and even a basic understanding of events over time. As sense mind continued to emerge, consciousness continued to expand and develop. The early forms of consciousness were subject to distortions caused by the limits of sense knowledge and the influence of the physical and vital nature, which created superstition, irrational thought/feelings and other forces that confined humanity to a life of ignorance unaware of the true nature of the reality in which it lived.

Gradually consciousness evolved additional higher functions like discrimination, discernment, memory and others, which provided man the tools to escape from the shackles of these lower forms of ignorance. Over the past few thousand years, humanity has increasingly tried to purify its capacity of observation, reflection and its subsequent understanding of sense knowledge through the use of objectivity and reason which have emerged as higher functions in mind. Through years of discipline and effort humanity has endeavored to evolve a more objective knowledge of sense information and the true nature of existence.

As rational mind emerged, other higher forms of abstract understanding became a part of human consciousness. Rational and objective knowledge has gradually become the basis of what we call modern intelligence and intellectual activity, which can be observed in a wide cross section of mankind.

If we step back and evaluate the roots and process of intellectuality and its form of knowledge, we understand that it is built upon matter and the interaction of forms of matter that have created a constructed intellectual understanding of reality over time. Intellectual knowledge by its very nature can not provide the answer to the fundamental questions on the nature of reality which humanity seeks to understand since its knowledge is based on matter and not on consciousness, which has created all that exists.

Humanity must understand the limits of its intellectual knowledge and find the true seat of consciousness in the inner being that is not dependent on matter and sense but knows the answers through direct knowledge of identity.