Reality and Intellectuality
The subject of today’s discourse is “Reality and Intellectuality”. While talking or arguing, we usually say, “It is reality,” or “This is a matter of fact,” or “This is abstract.” We use various terms to express the idea of reality. Now, let us consider the concept of reality, and then we will examine intellectuality.
People often say that “So-and-so is highly intellectual.” People speak in this way about intellectuals. But before we begin our discussion on intellectuality, let us first understand the concept of reality.
To human beings, [reality] is that which they can perceive with their sensory organs. What I can see with my eyes I call reality. How does a person perceive an object? The tanmátras(1) of sound, touch, form, taste and smell of an object reach the gateways of the sense organs as vibrations of different wavelengths. These vibrational expressions, these movements, are not linear, but are of systaltic order. In every phase there is pulsation, there is systalsis. Every vibrational expression is pulsative. Whatever we receive (or emanate) through our sensory or motor organs follows a systaltic movement. Waves appear for a fraction of a second and again disappear in the next moment. So when a wave appears, we can perceive it. When the action is there, we observe the object, we absorb it; in the pause phase we neither observe it nor absorb it. For example, when we say that we are seeing an elephant or a camel, we do not see them incessantly – now they appear, and the next moment they disappear. From the total of all these appearances and disappearances, we know what we are seeing.
The fundamental characteristic of the human mind is to receive or absorb something; that is, usually it has a positive tendency to see, to touch, to smell or to taste some object. Thus when we see numerous fragments of an object in the expressive phase, we integrate them into a whole and then say that we have seen this or that object, that we have touched or smelt this or that thing.
But if the mind has a negative tendency then it will, in the same way, integrate all the pause phases of the vibrational flow and we will say, even after seeing an elephant or a camel, that we did not see any elephant or camel at all. This indicates that there are positive tendencies and negative tendencies in the mind. On the basis of the positive tendency, we see and feel and taste different things. But the negative tendency will cause us not to perceive anything.
So that which we call “reality” has two subdivisions – positive and negative. Duality always exists in reality. Because of the existence of duality, reality cannot be an absolute entity. The existence of reality is not substantiated. So that which we call reality is not reality – if we happen to have a positive tendency in the mind, we think: “I am perceiving the real world.”
One more point should be mentioned in this regard. The process of perception by the sensory organs may be defective. Suppose you are looking at a sandy area at night from a distant point. In the darkness, the sands may appear to you as an expanse of water, or as a river, or as sheets of corrugated metal. This is an optical illusion. And this is not the end of the matter. The perceptive capacities of the sensory organs vary from one individual to another. There is no recognized standard of reality. Moreover, each sensory organ has its own limited capacity. Each sensory organ functions within its own defined limits and within its own jurisdiction. In addition, there are objects which we can perceive with the help of sensitive instruments but cannot perceive with the naked eye. We perceive some objects with the help of radio waves. Can we call such things perceptible by the senses? No, we cannot. That is why what we call reality or crude fact, on which the whole concept of materialism stands, is not at all real. So how and where can materialism get a foothold? Materialism is based on so-called reality, but that so-called reality is itself defective and full of ambiguity; the meaning of “reality” is not clear. Where there is duality, how can there be truth?
Now, what about intellectuality? The flow of ectoplasmic waves moves continuously on, and those waves are also systaltic, with crests and troughs, speed and pause, contraction and expansion. They sometimes come in the mind and sometimes not. But when there is a positive tendency in the mind, it integrates everything which it receives and claims that it has seen an object, such as an elephant. Now suppose that there is not a positive tendency but a negative tendency in the mind, what happens? In that case, though the mind projects an elephant within, we will not see it. Even if we try to imagine an elephant in our minds, we will not be able to see it. And not only this. Because of this psychic defect or disorder, we have hallucinations, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. In our inner thoughts as well, sometimes such positive or negative hallucinations can occur. Obviously, whatever an intellectual thinks in his or her arena of intellect is completely defective. There always remains scope for doubt in intellectuality. So intellectuality is also baseless, because the very movement of the ectoplasm is baseless.
Intellectuals think that they are not ordinary persons. They think that they can do so many things and that they know so many things. But they should keep in mind that their thoughts may be defective, because in their thought-waves crests and troughs are always operating. Within their thoughts there is sometimes speed and sometimes pause. If the sum is taken of all those psychic pauses together, then intellectuality amounts to nothing.
Intellectuality does not depend on thought-waves alone. Here, the crux of the problem is not that thought-waves are defective, but that such thought-waves become defective because the mind’s subjectivated compartment has no control over its objectivated mental chamber. As a result, the mind may think that an object is non-existent, although it actually exists. Similarly, sometimes an object appears to the mind to exist, although actually it does not. This kind of intellectuality is affected by ambiguity.
So we see that there is ambiguity in both reality and intellectuality. The possibility of such ambiguity remains because of the positive tendencies of the mind. So we see that reality is not actually reality, and intellectuality is not actually intellectuality either.
Now, what should be our final conclusion? We can say that in this world neither intellectuality nor reality exists. So, what course should intelligent and wise people adopt in this world? They should search for something beyond this pulsative order of contraction and expansion, speed and pause. And what is that something? It is nothing else but spirituality.
The movement of spirituality is never pulsative in character, but rather linear: it flows in a straight line. Due to this straightness, it has no positive curvature or negative curvature. Yet for the sake of convenience we can call it the supreme positivity; and its farthest extremity, the point where resides all human existence, the starting-point of all intellectuals and non-intellectuals, can be termed the supreme negativity. So the movement of a living being starts from the supreme negativity, and as it gradually flows towards the supreme positivity, that is, towards spirituality, its line of movement becomes straight. This is the real path. At the end nothing exists – neither intellectuality nor reality – only spirituality pervades everything. No entity in the external world can claim the status of an absolute entity. Spirituality alone is the absolute stance; and to search for it is the real intellectuality. Whatever people do apart from this is nothing but the expression of their distorted propensities.
–P.R. Sarkar (AKA Shrii Shrii Anandamurtii)
17 May 1980, Varanasi
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(1) Tanmátra literally means “minutest fraction of that”, i.e., of a given rudimental factor of matter. It is also translated “inferential wave”. The various types of tanmátra convey the senses of hearing, touch, form (vision), taste and smell. –Eds.