Friday 24 February 2023

Intellect, instinct or intuition? Where best to direct our thinking consciousness? (The meaning of true Romanticism)

When the modern era began (with 'Enlightenment' or 'the age of reason') - the idea and impulse emerged that Men should not passively be ruled by unconscious instinct; but that instead we ought consciously to reason-out our belief and behaviours by our intellect

At first there was the idea that intellect ought to be rooted in 'empirical' - or perceptual - data; which led to the idea of 'science' (broadly defined). 

Thus; for Enlightenment our beliefs and behaviours ought to derive from conscious and intellectual reflection only on information derived from the senses, and from memories of sensory information (including memories encoded in writing and other symbolic systems such as mathematics). 

But a minority of Men became aware that self-styled 'Enlightenment' and 'reason' was - in practice - merely to swap a primordial unconscious passivity to instinct and nature, for a modern conscious passivity to human society

Such conscious passivity is normal nowadays, especially in public discourse; where the mass of Men passively believe... whatever is currently dominant in their perceptual environment - and then call this obedience to human power by the name of science!

Instead of ancient Men being un-consciously in accordance with the natural world; modern Men consciously choose to live in accordance with a Man-made world of ideology. 

The alternative is called Romanticism, which emerged from the middle 1700s when Enlightenment was reaching its height. 

True Romanticism was aiming at something unprecedented in human history: conscious awareness and choice to live by intuition; where intuition is the guidance and knowledge of our real and divine selves

Intuition was already and always there in us, but unconscious - Romanticism is the 'project' of becoming aware-of, and living in-accordance-with, this pre-existent intuition. 

Conscious thinking therefore ought to become directed at becoming aware of what our real-selves are saying, at any given time; and these real-selves were assumed to be attuned to ongoing divine creation. 

But Romanticism soon divided and diverted  into an atavistic and false Romanticism, which became commonest, and usurped the name of Romanticism. 

By this false Romanticism, the task was for Men consciously to return to what had been an unconscious the primordial state of spontaneous harmony with nature. 

In other words; false Romanticism advocated (and still does) that conscious effort and will should strive to direct thinking to knowing and living in accordance with instinct...

And indeed, the ultimate ideal of false Romanticism is that conscious thinking should strive to eliminate itself; so that Men might return to primordial unconscious harmony with the natural world.   

As well as being regressive, it turns-out that false Romanticism is both ineffective, and counter-productive - playing into the hands of the intellect and Enlightenment, and amplifying the power of empiricism. 

In a word: False Romanticism is Impossible

We cannot return to the childhood of our selves or our race. 

Therefore we face a forced-choice between the mainstream-degenerate Enlightenment intellectuality of directing consciousness at perceptual information and its symbolic representations - which has converged upon discovering, believing, and obeying "whatever is currently dominant in society"...

Or else to aim for real Romanticism: which is to direct our conscious thinking at discovering, and living in accordance with, our intuitions. 


Colin said...

You describe starkly the choice we face of where we direct consciousness: - "at perceptual information and its symbolic representations" or "at discovering, and living in accordance with, our intuitions."

Bruce Charlton said...

@Colin - Yes, I believe it is a stark choice.

We can and will, of course, take notice of *some* perceptual information and symbolism - but because most of it is corrupted by evil, we can only know which to attend-to by use of intuition.

This applies even to those who remain devout church members, because they need to use intuition to discern which teachers, teachings and practices to adhere to, and which to reject -- just as the real Christians among Trad Catholics and Protestants already do.

(Trads are doing exactly this, i.e. they are using intuitive discernment to discover the truth among the mass of mainstream lies, errors and distractions - even when they deny doing it! - They are either self-blinded, fooling-themselves, or pretending.)

Other denominations (such as Mormons) will need to do the same, or else their mainstream-dominant leadership will guide them into ever-greater convergence with evil-dominated secular leftism.

Inquisitor Benedictus said...

I think you could put it down schematically like this.

Instinct perceives 1D or 1-dimensional truths, where there is no perception of a perceiving subject or a perceived object, but just a direct knowing via the senses.

Intellection perceives 2D or 2-dimensional truths, flat truths, where there is a truth-object but the perceiving subject is as it were cancelled out, as if it didn't exist; or it is made into an empty, contentless "observer" which acts as a blank mirror to the objective truth, contributing nothing of its own. There is then an objectivism that de-personalises the world, which can culminate in a flat theistic (or pantheistic) Oneness or in an atheistic world system which treats mechanical laws of nature as the thing-in-themselves. Here is the source of all intellectual systems and dogmatisms, religious and secular.

Intuition perceives 3D or 3-dimensional truths, where the law of perspective is, as it were, kept in, and the perceiving subject is itself an integral part of the perception. Now the subject is an actor and not a mere passive observer, and has to contribute to truth the creative energies of their own intentionality. I think here is the source of original artistic and philosophical insights, but I think there is a tendency towards subjectivism. If the problem with 2D truth is that it leads to the alienation of the subject or person, the problem with 3D truth is that it leads to the alienation of the objective world.

I think on top of that you can posit a 4D or 4-dimensional truth, where the human person or I is fully integrated and the subject-object distinction is reunited as in the case of the 1D instinct perception, where the person no longer looks at the world as something happening outside of themselves but sees their own "interior" processes and the world's exterior "processes" as constituting one and the same process. The problem of alienation, which began with the passage from instinct to intellection, is here overcome.

You can describe these as 4 hunan thought domains — animal, scientist, poet, prophet.

Inquisitor Benedictus said...

By the way, if the first three thought processes were called instinct, intellection, and intuition, I would call the fourth 'faith'.

Ilo said...

What seems most weird to me in the Trads is that they seem to believe that, despite all the obvious spiritual corruption of their chosen institution, you need permission from said institution to be a committed Christian.

Bruce Charlton said...

@IB - Ok, if it works for you; but I find your explanation much harder to understand than what it purports to explain - because so abstract an analogy.

One has first to understand the abstract analogical model, then translate the model back into reality.

@llo - I agree 100%!

I would have thought that this stark incoherence just needed pointing-out to be acknowledged - but seemingly not.

T said...

I'm interested in the true romanticism of the 1700s. I wonder if you could give me a tip on where to look first in reading about it as it was described at the time and about its usurpation.

Bruce Charlton said...

@T - I don't think you can get all that from a single source. And understanding (in this era) is meant to be an active process of individual discovery. Romanticism comes of age, by Owen Barfield, may be a decent start?

T said...

Understood. Thank you very much for your response and the suggestion. Always a fascinating blog. God bless you.