Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Loss of Intuition

One of the great and unrecognised problems in the contemporary world is that we have not only rejected religion but are also in the process of separating ourselves from natural law. Of course, when you abandon belief in a transcendent and divine principle then rejection of natural law cannot be far behind because it is no longer tied to anything. It has lost its roots in the real. But our separation from natural law has also occurred because of an over-reliance on reason and the downgrading of intuition.

I say reason but it is not really that because the modern version of reason is frequently irrational. By this I mean that it dismisses the only coherent explanation for life, consciousness and all the qualities of existence, which is God, because of a lack of material proof, but it has nothing to replace that with other than speculation based on preconceived ideas of materialism. This has led to the assumption that things we know to be real, such as love and beauty, are not really real at all but merely subjective impressions with no grounding in fact. Everyone knows this is nonsense but we have allowed ourselves to be duped into thinking it must be true because we have been blinded by the spurious authority of modern science. We have been deceived by the power that science has manifested on the material plane into thinking it has some authority on the spiritual plane when the truth is it has none whatsoever. How could it? It doesn't even acknowledge the spiritual plane and can certainly not contact it by any means at its disposal. But because it has nothing to say on the subject it takes that to mean there is nothing to say. Irrational!

As ought to be clear, the idea of God is totally rational given the evidence of our mind, our senses, our feelings and the world around us. (We don't even have to bring tradition and revelation into it.) Nothing else can begin to account for our experiences and our very being; indeed for the fact that we are rational creatures with free will which, again, is obvious to all but the deluded. If we didn't have it the very concept would be meaningless to us. That our understanding of God and how he works leaves many things unanswered merely points to our present limitations not to any defect in the notion of a Creator per se.

Now to compound our error of using reason irrationally, we have also rejected intuition. But intuition has answers to many of the questions that present themselves to a normal person wondering about life. For example, what is spirit and what is nature? What is a human being, what is a man, what is a woman and what should be the relation between them? What is the good? What is the natural order and what happens when that is overturned?

Reason unaided can't provide trustworthy answers to these questions. It may try to come up with something but since it is working with incomplete data, and since the person or group exercising it is rarely as objective as they present themselves, its answers are likely to have problems. But intuition knows. It's true that this knowledge is usually quite vague and so it should not just be accepted without some analysis. That's because at our present stage of evolution our intuition is not perfect. But it does at least point us in the right direction. It is not complete or detailed but it is a good guide to what is. Reason can help to flesh it out and develop it but it is not necessarily verifiable by reason on its own for intuition goes beyond reason, even if reason can ground intuition and provide a solid framework for it.

When Adam and Eve went wrong in the Garden of Eden (and the opening chapters of the book of Genesis speak profoundly to the intuition) it was because they closed off their intuitive mind and listened to the voice of so called reason. Firstly, as spoken from the mouth of the serpent who was the first to vaunt the merits of reason above all else, and secondly, as it came from their own minds when, and this is significant, these were distorted by an agenda of self -interest. 

Obviously I am not saying reason is in any way bad or wrong in itself, but it is limited and it can be used by the ego to justify untruth. Now we have elevated reason above its station and demoted intuition to a lowly position when it should be seated at the head of the table. No true philosopher disregards the intuition. Actually for all true philosophers it is primary. The fact that it is not yet perfect is a reason to cultivate it not one to ignore it.

The natural law is increasingly disregarded in this world as groups with self-seeking agendas (see above) twist reality to suit their own ends and desires. But if we listen to our intuition we can see through  all these manoeuvres and return to wisdom. And we must do this or else we will experience yet another fall which means further separation from God, and that means more misery and alienation even if, as it was back in the Garden of Eden, a future determined by reason is often presented as one of happiness, fulfilment and enlightenment.


William Wildblood said...

Somebody has asked me how do we cultivate the intuition which is certainly something I should have mentioned given the subject of the post. Briefly I would say that we can do this through such things as meditation, contemplation of traditional symbols, seeking beauty in art and nature, reading scripture and prayer. This list is not exhaustive but I would add that reducing your exposure to the media and popular culture is important too.

David Balfour said...

Thank you for finely articulating what has seemed very clear to me for quite some time. It's always reassuring to find that you are not alone in seeing things in a certain way and I clearly feel the same way as you do about intuition and reason. Intuition and reason work well together when combined harmoniously in the right way. Reason alone is a poor and dangerous master but a fine disciple when paired with intuition.

It has been a source of endless frustration for me (and an enduring source of alienation from others) that I live in a world where I cannot get anyone to even acknowledge much of the ubiquitous magic and mystery in life all around us, that seems so obvious to me but redundant to others. We are literally living within a magical experience by just existing! What I find marvelous or worthy of sincere reflection or discussion is usually something which people have either never thought about or they do not see as awesome or wondrous in the way that I do. I find the reality of my our free-will, for example, astonishing! How does that work? What a profound mystery! And the more you probe it and explore it the more compelled one seems to be to admit there is something very special about this 'quality' of the human being that science just isn't able to get to the bottom of (but this is routinely denied by scientifically minded people of course). Apparently this is a dull and banal subject to others, not worthy of examination. They just don't *get* how magical it really is to have such inner freedoms as free will or intuition or creativity. Such profound mysteries, constantly flying under the radar to the extent that no one apparently ever notices them for the amazing things they actually are. And then, in modern times, we are so self-contradictory and apply reasoning inconsistently, in the way that you describe, to suite our own agendas on the rational or often *irrational* analysis of the easily accessible (to everyone) objective facts of reality.

David Balfour said...

For example, do we, the modern scientifically enlightened age believe in evil? Of course not! Don't be proposterous! We'd have to believe in free will first and we only do that when it suites us and in a deniable fashion. People who do evil things are mentally ill! Perhaps psychopaths, genetically and biologically driven to act out what primitive civilizations erroneously misunderstood as 'evil.' But we know better than that now, we are deeply uncomfortable with the word and prefer 'ignorance'! So free will doesn't exist according to the modern neuroscientific theories and then yet, at the same time, we insist that everyone actually has free will to not commit crimes and our legal system is based on the assumption of free will and a system of moral values that can only have any validity if free-will is assumed as a fundamental and inalienable aspect of the human condition. Nowadays, we are heavily policed to behave in accordance with the assumed morals and values of political correctness and it is assumed that we have the free will to 'choose' what values we will adopt and how to behave. And yet, somehow, free will is not a *real* thing still, for modern people, not really! At least, it is assumed that sooner or later science will fill in the gaps. Its just a matter of time. Under the illusion of free-will, lies a brute mechanical process arising in the little grey cells of the brain. We think we are free but its a trick! And yet...we claim all of this and *STILL* assert that people have free will not to be racist, sexist or to support political parties or systems. How does this make any sense? There seems to be an appalling self-contradictory lie here that we moderns tell ourselves to suite the situation. We are free and we are not free both at the same time. I have tried presenting similar arguments to people in the past over the occasional philosophical pub chat with the optimum dose of pints and when the conversation has inclined in that direction or a bemused friend has tried to unpick my peculiar and *irrational* interest in spirituality. I rarely get very far or someone gets upset with me for being Socratic or both. I wonder, can you understand what I am driving at with this argument William? Perhaps, I am too long in the tooth but long-in-tooth arguments appear to be necessary to persuade the modern intellectual what on the other hand apparently used to be blindingly obvious to intuition or common sense. If I am honest with myself I just *know* that I have free will, that good and evil are objectively real, that intuition is a special and magical route to pure knowledge under certain fortunate but often elusive circumstances. But these things are clearly very real to me and as plain as the nose on my face. And yet, still, everyone thinks I'm nuts if I say it out loud! They want me to keep the obvious to myself. Of course, we know from multiple previous posts on this blog and elsewhere, that this has to do with barmy metaphysics. And the more you live in a world surrounded by this kind of rubbish you find yourself being brain-washed back into thinking like them and swallowing the twisted reasoning all over again. The world is mad and hardly anyone has noticed. You have though and it is a sobering draught to know that my own reflections are not just a hamster running endlessly on an intellectual wheel and that my conclusions hold some validity with others. Unless, of course, we are both mad, in which case we are the doomed minority in a sane world but that makes even less sense haha

William Wildblood said...

You make some really good points there, David. We're not mad (though might be called such). It's the modern world with, as you rightly say, its completely contradictory positions on, amongst other things, free will that has followed the path of incoherence. That's real madness, vehemently believing two things in stark opposition to each other.