Friday, 7 October 2022

The Clever and the Wise

 Clever people engage with reality through thought or reason, regarded spiritually as the functioning of the material mind, but the foolish and the wise meet on common ground because they engage with reality as it is, just as they see it. The wise see more deeply and with more understanding but both foolish and wise engage with reality at first hand. Nothing comes between them and their perception of things and beings. Their understanding is not analytically derived but direct.

Thought divides and separates. Clever people exist outside the true reality of life because they work through conceptual thinking, living in a world of abstraction and theory rather than what is. For them nothing is seen as it truly is but as theory presents it. They don't see the thing but the image of the thing, a representation. This is a world of duality in which the individual and the world are completely sundered. The individual then  projects his own interpretation of the world onto all reality and that includes his own reality. He is cut off from life and lives in a fantasy world of his own manufacturing.

There are a lot of clever people in the world today which is why the world has fallen so far into ignorance. These are people who live through the lower mind which gives them the power to manipulate the material world but completely cuts them off from the spiritual which they end up either denying or interpreting according to their limited concepts. The only way out of the mess they have created for themselves, often, it must be said, out of intellectual arrogance, is for them to simplify. Simplicity in this sense means looking rather than calculating and becoming responsive to the mind in the heart in which feeling and thinking are united and taken to a higher place, higher as in embracing more of reality.

The path of evolution involves human beings developing their own sense of themselves as full individuals. The clever stage is therefore one that must be gone through but it is a stage not a destination. We must move beyond it and not become becalmed in it but that is exactly what has happened to large sections of humanity especially in the Western world though increasingly in the East too. It's like being stuck in adolescence and refusing to grow up. We need to grow up.


Unknown said...

I have heard the goal of the spiritual life described as "renewed innocence at the end of experience" - I like that.

I think all spiritual traditions have this notion that true spirituality means recapturing an earlier innocence after going through a process of sophistication - and this new innocence is deeper and richer precisely for having give through the process of sophistication.

In this sense, the brokenness of the world is an opportunity to stitch it back together in a richer way - Japanese glazed ceramics body this, a ceramic is broken and repaired with the fault lines creating an unpredictable and beautiful new pattern, and this is seen as far more beautiful than a merely perfect and flawless ceramic.

Perhaps the world is like this. Certainly, we sometimes find the deepest and most aching beauty and perfection precisely where flaws exist.

But I do agree that perhaps the most important step fo modern people turning to spirituality is to is to develop a sense of the limitations of intellect and a deep appreciation for mystery as such - mystery that is beyond discursive intellectual categories as such.

This is the hardest thing for us perhaps and our deepest blind spot - indeed, the advent of modernity and the desacralization of the world may begin with the loss of the sense of a mystery beyond the intellect.

That is a central feature of every spirituality known to man, and has to be recovered.

Unknown said...

I also like the idea that reaching full maturity and growing up - paradoxically - involves becoming disenchanted with our mere cleverness and recovering a more childlike state.

This goes so much against popular secular motions of what it means to be an "adult"!

But then, true spirituality pretty much turns secular common sense on its head, doesn't it - true strength is precisely in weakness, we learn, not in force as the powers that be would have it.

Because only by surrendering individual power - creaturely power - can we begin to participate in the fullness and richness of Being itself, something infinitely greater than mere creaturely greatness however enormous.

But this is so radical and unexpected to the dreary men in power :)

William Wildblood said...

The spiritual journey is indeed from innocence through experience and then back to innocence but this time with full self-awareness. That's why those who look for spiritual experience as opposed to simple faith have it only half right. As long as you search for experience, even spiritual or mystical experience, you are still on the outside looking in. You must become undivided. Experience divides you into the experiencer and the experience which is always external to you.

Unknown said...

If "growing up" means seeing more and more widely and fully, then the man or woman who sees past the limits of intellect, sees more than the man or woman who remains trapped within it's boundaries - by definition.

And yet, having passed through this contraction of vision within narrow bounds out into the broad uplands of a renewed "ignorance" we see a deeper and fuller picture yet - and perhaps, develop an immunity against making the same mistake?

I sometimes wonder if humanity HAD to pass through a period of over-valuing mere intellect - to learn that it is a dead end, and to better appreciate what lies beyond mere intellect and power. Otherwise perhaps we would always "wonder".

Modernity with it's worship of intellect involves a contraction and diminution if vision - I believe the early theorists of science were quite candid that their method involved s temporary contraction of vision for a specific purpose, gaining power.

Indeed, that's what "method" is - an artificial restriction of scope for a particular narrowly defined purpose. Somehow, science went from being a method to being a metaphysic! A massive category error.

The pre-intellectual child sees something more than the adult who has become trapped in mere cleverness - we have all felt the sense of vast "loss" of vision upon growing into adulthood in an industrial and scientific society with it's demand that we contract into mere cleverness.

Anyways, I shall now stop spamming your thread with my comments :)

Unknown said...

"As long as you search for experience, even spiritual or mystical experience, you are still on the outside looking in. You must become undivided. Experience divides you into the experiencer and the experience which is always external to you."

Thanks for this, I like this very much William.

Lady Mermaid said...

This explains what Jesus meant when He said that to one has to enter the kingdom of heaven as a child. Of course, this doesn't mean to never grow up but to retain the childlike sense of wonder and trust towards God. I love Unknown's analogy of stitching this broken world together like pottery glass; something much more beautiful is created as a result. The problem of evil will never be resolved on this side of eternity; but I must trust that the results will be worth it; or God would have ended this world long ago.

lea said...

'The clever stage' is an interesting phrase. Good comments about perhaps needing to fully commit to a certain modus operandi before it can be discarded for something more wholesome.