Ouroboros

Why is there a need to understand intelligence, if we still manage to do what it is that we want to do- through skills that are not mastered entirely consciously, through the ability of the faculties whose form of existence itself is perceived in a rather blurry manner? Why do I engage my brain as an Ouroboros that runs into itself, creating and deciphering perpetually? Who can say our assessment is not warped because the very tool we are using to test the mind is itself? Because it continues to think and raise new problems, appraise and try so hard to attach meaning to everything AND act on it, I feel like I could do with a little more light thrown at how it works. Because I’d like to learn to take myself less seriously.

‘Women’s intuition is the result of millions of years of not thinking.’

~Rupert Hughes

Science evolves, just like the species that conceives it, and anything that’s a product of attempts at deciphering the world with something that isn’t comprehensible itself, is bound to be limited by it. You can always take something from the present back into the past by a time that approximates the previous century in terms of evolving cognitive understanding, and convince people you are alien. So, if science keeps evolving, one has to put aside the things that aren’t convincing for the times ahead, till they catch light. One would also look back, unearth something buried and find it catching new light.

The same goes for the understanding of mind. Why do we take what we know, and understand so seriously? Why is it hard to avoid the identity crisis that makes us reject many relevant ideas without due consideration? Why is it hard for us to accept that which is not fully formulated, tested and that which has not garnered the consensus of an intellectual community? Only recently did I discover the theory of intelligences, intelligences ranging from kinaesthetic to mathematical. Slowly it faded into my mind that I don’t have to consciously think and acknowledge everything I learn. It basically means, if I figure out the various pitches and tunes the air blowing out of different holes in a flute makes, compose a bit of music, my brain is working its gifts. Figuring out what colour from my art supplies in what consistency blends perfectly with another, to give the perfect texture; knowing the exact word for the meaning intended to be carried, in a suitable combination with other words, along with its phonetic perception taken into consideration; figuring out the best way to land on my feet from a mid-air leap, or pirouetting repeatedly, naturally grasping the amount of friction, torque, momentum, and body balance wrapped around the centre of mass that goes into it; stabilising a relationship, enchanting and luring back an infidel; saying exactly that which can give someone a flicker of hope, with exactly that touch that builds trust; taming horses, soothing dogs, attracting unicorns, raising kids- all the above imply intelligence according to the theory.

The theory has critical opposition; scientists want to stick to the IQ tests that focus on testing the mathematical and linguistic abilities. Howard Gardner defines intelligence as “bio-psychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture.” If intelligence is the word used to describe the capability for something, an essential for survival and propagation, then it doesn’t have to be cognitive. In fact, most survival measures, are not supposed to be cognitive. The more the portions served by the subconscious, the greater the chances of survival. Conscious processing is exhaustive, time consuming, and very often, erratic. You can excel at things you know like the back of your hand. It’s easier to deconstruct and reconstruct using different combinations and permutations on a platform that has been assimilated thoroughly. If you can do it in your sleep, reflexively, that is when you’ve truly mastered something. If you’re instinctive about something, that is when you possess, or have cultivated true talent.

The theory wasn’t intended for formulating various styles of learning, it was a ‘hunch and opinion’ about intelligence being something that cannot be stood against a scale and quantified. But if intelligence is to be described as only that ability that processes under conscious supervision, the rest is instinct and intuition. Not a single thought can arise entirely from the components of conscious mind. A thought goes through various stages before perception.

‘If the number of unconscious perceptions or actions are greater than your conscious perceptions or actions, it means you are operating at the level of instinct. If your conscious and unconscious processes are more or less equal, you are operating at the level of intellect. If your conscious process is faster than your unconscious process, you are using intelligence. When you operate totally out of awareness, you make the leap to intuition. All of us use all these processes at different times. Moreover, they are not clearly demarcated, but flow into one another. It is simply a process of greater and greater refinement of the same energy, greater and greater awareness being brought in when handling the same energy. Intellect is what you normally use when making your decisions. Intellect uses only logic to act. It does not know any other language. Intelligence is more creative, more constructive. It knows how to respond to life moment to moment, how to be awake to the challenge of the moment. Intelligence is aware of the situation, it can alter the answers according to the demands of the moment. Intuition is when the decision simply happens as a revelation! It happens from the energy of your being, not from the space of the mind. Meditation brings in the awareness to go from intellect to intelligence to intuition. With meditation, you go beyond the mind, into the space of just being, where understanding and action both happen spontaneously.’

~ Nityananda Sangha

What could instinct be? Information collected and coded into genes through generations. Along Plato’s line of thoughts, birth is but a shock that destroys memories of pre-existence, a go at building on a next level. Instinct is your subconscious collecting information and processing, gears grinding behind the framework of conscious mind. This means no conscious calculating and analysing. And since there is the probability of the conscious being biased, unheeding, or inadequately observant, the errors could be more. The conscious tends to focus; the subconscious is broader and dispassionate towards the causes of the conscious, except survival. That isn’t to say it doesn’t err.

Intellect is hierarchal organisation, intuition a web; intellect is a memory palace, intuition a tree’s roots that can draw from anywhere. Intuition mulls over while the conscious stops barrelling, loosens the death grip and strays momentarily. Instinct breaks the glass, takes the steering and veers you away from the stone wall intellect made the mistake of speeding towards. Intuition tiptoes through the door while you take an unprecedented nap, leaves a bouquet that’s impossible to ignore, while intelligence has kept you busy at the desk, racking your brain. Instinct has long enough arms to reach cookie jars on racks that can’t be reached by intellect on its toes. Instinct is what makes freshly hatched turtles turn instinctively to the shoreline and dash for it. Instinct is what makes caterpillars that can’t comprehend flight to wind themselves in cocoons to grow wings. Instinct is what makes an infant bawl, as a man reaches for his wife at midnight. Intuition is Felix Felicis telling you exactly where to be, when to be.

I think struggling to put it in words will make what I can’t grab and ink down, flee me- until I can unlearn and be silly again. How many of our thoughts do not manage to surface into consciousness, like shells on a beach? Can we tap into ourselves actively and draw gold? What would I see if I could peek into myself? True intellect makes space for what it doesn’t understand, asks questions to remind itself it doesn’t know all there is that can be known, relies on crutches beyond its comprehension- if it can afford it. Let rationality make space for the irrational. Let common sense be nothing more than filters while wading through the mundane; but while exploring, swim naked.

Why not use your better foot if you’re a blind man feeling your way through a swamp? You might hear a yelp because you blissfully stepped on the foot of another blind man. So even if Rupert Hughes aimed a joke at his opposite sex, it doesn’t come close to degrading.

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