The Epic Story of Humanity: Part 1, Spring

East vs. West

Intuition or Intellect?
ZHAO JI / CASPAR DAVID FRIEDRICH

Because in our culture we overvalue the intellect, we imagine that to become enlightened demands extraordinary intelligence. In fact, many kinds of cleverness are just further obscurations.

There is a Tibetan saying: “If you are too clever, you could miss the point entirely.” Patrul Rinpoche said: “The logical mind seems interesting, but it is the seed of delusion.” People can become obsessed with their own theories and miss the point of everything. In Tibet we say:

“Theories are like patches on a coat, one day they just wear off.”

—Sogyal Rinpoche

Comments on the article “East vs. West”

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Cony Merca

Could we perhaps try to achieve intellect before we start disparaging it?

As Gandhi responded to the question of what he thought of Western civilization, "I think it would be a good idea."

Apollo's mom

Thank you for standing up to the anti-intellectualism that gave us George W and climate change deniers, among other blights on civilization.
Someone once said that one should not be so open minded that one's brains fall out.. Amen.

Hutchins

I don't think intuition is good. Intuition is just an emotional understanding: maybe you have the intuition that being kind is good, but I have the intuition that hurting others is good. What makes you more right than me? You can just say I have a twisted intuition, but that is merely a cop-out. In logic, we can derive truth systematically, derive morals systematically, and show everyone why their morals are wrong and these morals are right with certainty. I think the failure of much of the world is ignoring logic over intuition: if people submitted to pure logic, everyone can understand truth. Also people doubt the ability of logic for some reason; listen to Plato, who favored moral philosophy over science because science was too subjective and reliant on arbitrary observations, while logic can prove objective Truths with certainty.

List failures of the world caused by logic. I have a hard time doing so. Here are the failures due to intuition: hitler's intuition that Jews are at fault, the capitalist system (just try arguing with a financial banker and they'll throw unsubstantiated premises at your face for no reason). meat culture (thanks to Singer for proving the morality of vegetarianism with absolute certainty), self-interest (read a altruism philosopher and theyll show you how logic proves altruism is a virtue, not self-interest). Intuition does nothing, logic does everything.

Chris V

Saying blanket statements that one thing is good and the other is bad is grossly simplified. Hitler committed the Holocaust because of both a flawed logic and a twisted sense of intuition. Both logic and intuition are systems of the (human) brain and neither is more relevant than the other. They are mutual dependencies that communicate different perspectives from one mind.

Liam

Obviously a synthesis of East and West is best. To turn one's back entirely on the western tradition of thought is a little brash. The 'West' has had it's fair share of visionaryies and intuitives, William Blake comes to mind, but the list is endless. Life is an immense and open buffet of ideas and possibilities, why divide into East Vs West in such a reductionist fashion? I see no problem in drawing inspiration and guidance from 'Western' thinkers such as Kirkegaard, Kant, Satre, Nietzsche as much as the mystical Sufi poetry of Rumi, the emanations of the Buddha, the immense wisdom of an 'Eastern' scholar such as Confuscius, or the unfaltering understanding of Zen philosophers and sages.

Anonymous

I fail to see any validity in the supposed division between so-called "East" and "West". That is an intellectual manifestation of political false-constructs. There IS no East or West, only Earth! To pretend there is some type of difference is to deny our own humanity.

exadverso

This is a garden
these thoughts are flowers
there are no borders
No paths to follow
just earth and sky
sunflowers and moonbeams
the day and night.
A mortal seed
this breath I breathe
This mortal life
ours for a time.
This is a garden
these thoughts are flowers
there are no borders
no paths to follow
the day and night
Void...

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