Friday, 1 June 2018

Spirituality Quotient

There's a lot of talk about IQ nowadays and whether it really represents intelligence or whether certain groups, such as Ashkenazy Jews, have higher IQs than others, and then you can go into even riskier territory. I'm not qualified to talk about that but it seems to me that IQ does measure something that corresponds pretty closely to what is generally thought of as intelligence, and also that it is not as evenly distributed as certain people might like it to be. At the same time, it is perfectly evident that high IQ people can also be complete idiots when it comes to perceiving spiritual truth. They are no more likely than anyone else to be able to do that and, in some cases, may even be less likely, especially in recent years when the culture is against it and science, which is only really able to be pursued by high IQ people, is so resolutely materialistic. Perhaps high IQ people get more easily lured into abstraction, and away from simple observation, unencumbered by theory.

That does not mean that spirituality is for the stupid. It is for everyone, but in its higher aspects I do believe it is more open to the intelligent because spiritual awareness is not simply a matter of heart but of mind too. Mind or thought can get in the way of direct spiritual perception but it can also help it to become more comprehensible to itself and therefore allow a deeper awareness of it. The spirituality of an intelligent person is of a higher order than that of an unintelligent one, all other things being equal. The former is more capable of delving more deeply into the structure of reality and participating to a greater degree in the mind of God which is actually a lot of what the spiritual path is about. Simple faith is open to everyone, of course, but a deeper understanding of faith requires intelligence. This intelligence may not be exactly the same as that measured by IQ but incorporates it.

So I would say that a mature spirituality requires intelligence plus something else which we might dub SQ or spirituality quotient. An evolved human being needs to develop both but IQ without SQ is a lop-sided thing showing a lack of balanced development. It may even be a kind of retarded development. Seeing many clever and successful people as spiritually retarded puts things in a different light, doesn't it?

What is this SQ? Probably something I have just made up but it can be related to intuition. Intuition in this sense is what a person develops as he allows himself to respond imaginatively to the world, and not be limited to reason with which intuition does not conflict but which it supplements. Reason applies to the phenomenal order of being while intuition relates to that which lies behind appearance. It is a sort of direct vision into that world. SQ can also be equated to what might be described as openness of the heart which may seem rather a vague term but if we can (and should) have an open mind, then why not an open heart too? This means that you are open to the greater reality beyond the everyday mundane perceptible to the senses, and it has a connection to what has been called the feeling principle. This is not feeling as emotion but as inner resonance or feeling response to reality. A person trapped in his head will make no sense of that but a more rounded person, who knows that head thinking is only a part of the totality of ways of knowing, will understand.

Human beings can be thought of as existing in four worlds, these being the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. Some would add a vital between physical and emotional but I include that as part of the physical for our purposes here. Above these is the divine but that is beyond our concern at the moment.
We need to develop a full response to each of these levels. That is well underway for the first three but the fourth is much less understood with responses mostly ranging from basic to none whatsoever. We need to develop our SQ and the traditional disciplines of the spiritual path are there to help us do just that. The first stage, though, is to acknowledge that it exists. We won't get far unless we do that.


ted said...

William, I know a woman who published a book about this a few years ago. Not sure if I agree with her model, and she tends to be in progressive spiritual camp than a Christian. But thought it may interest you.

William Wildblood said...

I have to admit that this piece is slightly tongue in cheek, ted, in that I'm not positing SQ as a real thing, more a means to evaluate the development of the spiritual impulse or lack of it. The notion comes perilously close to 'emotional intelligence'. Nor do I think such a thing is heritable as IQ largely seems to be. But I do think that the spiritual intuition is a human faculty that needs to be developed and maybe that is even measurable or quantifiable in some way. Maybe it can be(to speculate) perceived in the aura (by those who can perceive such things), the light that all of us give out in some form and which is revealed at its maximum in the saints.

Anonymous said...

Everything you see is a centrally focused, mirror image reflection of a projection of your own subconscious intention to witness your Self, in reflection through another, in order to raise your own self awareness. The masters were YOU. You spent 20 yesrs talking to your Selves in the mirror. I am you, you are me - we are each other

William Wildblood said...

Sorry, but that's just your projection.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly...

j. barrett said...

Might we simply say this is a formulation of:

1 Corinthians 2:14–15:14

Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.

If we chose to be incarnated, what might be the cause of this division?

William Wildblood said...

I think the cause is partly how we respond when we get here because we come with higher memories largely but not completely erased, and partly what we are like before we incarnate since I believe we all start from different levels depending on prior development.

It's all down to free will and that will probably go the way that our hearts incline. So basically it's a test of right motivation and whether love of God or love of self comes first for us.

Dexter said...

I have a low SQ. I am one of those clever people who is "spiritually retarded". What are the "traditional disciplines of the spiritual path" needed to develop SQ?

William Wildblood said...

Do you really? If you did I doubt you'd waste your time reading this nonsense. If you just mean you've got a lot to learn, spiritually speaking, well join the club!

Humility and the desire to learn are two important things and you seem to have those already. What I mostly meant though was such things as prayer, meditation, scripture reading, that sort of thing. Then there's willingness to look at the world with an imagination open to higher things. Cultivate a love for the good, the beautiful and the true. Don't be afraid of simplicity. One thing I read once that I liked very much was be individual but not individualistic.

Perhaps the most important thing is try to see the world as a creation and become responsive, in some measure, to the Creator.

William Wildblood said...

That last thing used to be called practising the presence of God.

And sorry for over-using the word 'thing' in these two comments.

ted said...

Spiritual retardedness is a rite of passage. Most of us aren't spiritual because we are so "evolved" but because we know we need to be.

Chiu ChunLing said...

The old word for what you call "SQ" is more informative.

Anciently, it was simply called humility.

The opposite of this is pride.

To every good thing with which we are blessed, we have the choice between gratitude (leading to humility) and pride (based on ingratitude, thinking we somehow deserved that blessing on our own merits).

But without those blessings, the choice becomes one between humility and death.

Thus those who are lacking in blessings, whether of health, intellectual gifts, friendships, worldly wealth or whatever else, must be humble to live.

But make no mistake. Many of them die. Even the humble die, after all. When the choice is between dying in humility and dying in pride, how many will see the point of being humble rather than proud except those who are already humble?

William Wildblood said...

Yes, humility is certainly a big part of it but not all I think. There's inner sensitivity to something beyond the mundane as well which is a branch of imagination.

But lack of humility is definitely of the greatest barriers to spiritual acceptance. It prevents faith as faith means putting yourself in a subordinate position.

Eric said...

IQ measures brain performance, but it doesn't take into account that consciousness can operate independently of the brain. So perhaps SQ would be akin to the degree one is able to tap into these supra-individual realms and gather insights (which as you point out is tied to IQ, but goes above it). I believe we do this when we contemplate or lose ourselves in creative activity, which supersedes IQ-based reasoning. Our being is not fixed in the head.

William Wildblood said...

Good point, Eric. I think it is also connected to the degree we can orient our individual will to Universal Will. Another way of putting it is sensitivity to the soul. Someone who believes in reincarnation might see that as having some input too.

Michaela Stephens said...

Want to take a spirituality Quotient test? Try the LDS "Christlike Attributes" page from Preach My Gospel. Very revealing.