Saturday, September 10, 2005


"In the 'Dark Ages' students were taught that the faculties are arranged in hierarchy, of which the summit is Intellect, inasmuch as it is concerned with transcendent realities, whereas reason, which ranks as a subordinate second to it, is limited to this world. Since 'the Enlightenment' however the Intellect in its original sense has been withdrawn from the attention of students; but the world itself, brought down from its supernatural level, has been retained in virtue of its high-sounding effect. In particular, its much used adjective has now taken on the sense of 'mentally active' ; and since much of the activity is concerned with questioning the existence of the transcendent, many of the so called 'intellectuals' are at the opposite pole from true intellectuality. The confusion is so widespread that it would seem a great paradox-and yet it would be true-to say that religious faith, of all that is now 'officially' recognized as a human possibility, comes nearest to intelectual awareness, though it must be admitted that the two do not coincide unless we understand faith in its higher sense of certitude.

Robbed of its name, the intellect still subsists, which means that there is still something in man which is incorruptable and inviolable, a supramental organ of knowledge, which unlike the mind is proof against error. It follows from this that sincerity, which today is so often profferred as an excuse for error, or as a mitigating circumstance for it, is in fact incompatible with it, for sincerity worthy of the name presupposes total adherence, and there can be no such totality if one part is dormant. By way of example, to speak of a 'sincere athiest' is to utter a contradiction in terms, for the person in question is quite literally 'not all there'. If he were, or even if there were a particle of intellect vibrant within him, he could never assent to such an absolute denail of what the Heart knows to be true, thiesm being the very substance of man's heart."

--Excerpted from The Eleventh Hour by Martin Lings

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