Friday, April 27, 2007

I am not the Intellect

"Intellect is a go-between. It is instrumental in nature and perceptual in function. It is not itself the seat of identity. Yet Descartes' famous "I think therefore I am" makes intellect identical with self. This is absurd. We do not exist because we think. This formula elevates the ego and intellect to a despotic role in the economy of the human personality. The word "intellect" itself points, however, to its coordinative or mediating function between the inner and outer spaces of life. Already William Blake in his time saw the error of this confusion in his denunciation of "single vision". We are led to believe a lie, he insisted, when we see with, and not through the eye. Seeing with or seeing through draws the distinction between "me" and "I", or between ego and self. "Perception is reality" lay already implicit in this confusion of existence with intellect that Blake denounced early as "single vision". The absurdity of "perception is reality", which makes the egoic and acquistive "me" aspect of identity appear as all of identity and reality, follows logically from the very premises of the Enlightenment. The seeds of our narcissistic self-destruction were already sown with "cogito ergo sum", which equated existence with intellect. But intellect is only the middle-man, a coordinator, a faciliator, an instrument, and a medium. It delimits a "mentality" rather than Mind, and is confined to rationality rather than Reason. Intellect, which in other ages and amongst other peoples had possessed only a subordinate role in human life, came with the Age of Reason to have the central, and even exclusive, role in the personality. When all of consciousness and identity comes to be confused with intellect alone, is it any wonder that narcissism is often accompanied, as well, by a sense of mechanical being, or feelings of being like a computer or an automaton?"

-from www. darkage. ca

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