Ultimate vs. Relative Intelligence

Jeff Carreira Philosophy 21 Comments

In response to my last post Brian asked, Does your stated belief in ‘higherness’ include an obligation to live in accordance with it? If so, what does that look like?”

It is a fair question and one that I will attempt to answer – at least with my understanding at this point. First of all in regards to obligation I say “Yes.” I believe that the cosmic process of evolution has directionality which it is pointing generally in a particular direction and an inherent obligation to live in accordance with it. And I would assign a certain sense of intelligence to that directionality. I also believe that one of our problems when considering things of this sort is that we tend to attribute human qualities to things like “higher intelligence.” In this case, the directionality that I imagine driving the process of evolution would not be intelligent in any human sense – except of course in human beings.

I have been thinking of a metaphor that will capture what I have come to understand as the process of our evolving cosmos. The metaphor involves a wind tunnel. At the start of the wind tunnel, where I imagine a turbine is generating a stiff, but not overwhelming wind, there is a hole in the top of the tunnel and a hole in the bottom of the tunnel.

Objects of different shape and size are dropped through the hole in the top of the tunnel and then fall through it. Depending on the shape and size of the object that falls through the hole it will either get caught in the wind and blown through the tunnel or it will fall through the hole at the bottom of the tunnel and disappear from the tunnel (which represents our universe). The objects, of course, represent all of the forms that the process of evolution produces over time. Only those forms whose aerodynamics (I suppose in the case of evolution we could call it evolutionarydynamics) allow them to float will get caught in the wind and travel through the tunnel. Some of these will be two heavy or have two little surface area to catch the wind and will eventually fall to the tunnel floor. These represent forms/ species that become extinct. Some will travel further down the tunnel. These represent forms/species that are evolutionarily successful.

Some of the forms that travel down the tunnel are very simple, like sheets of paper, but others are more complex shaped like propellers and other clever looking objects. The propellers spin which helps keep them aloft. The propellers would think (if they could) that they are spinning, but of course they are not propelling, they are being propelled by the wind. The wind is the only thing that is really happening, and the wind is translated into many different relative motions in the different forms that emerge into the tunnel.

Analogously, there is intelligence in the universe. It was there from the start and it has been propelling the evolution of all forms living and non-living ever since. This universal intelligence, when it passes through complex living forms, results in relative movement that looks like the intelligence of the form itself, when in fact it is the intelligence of the universe that is being translated through the form into relative intelligence. The intelligence that we experience as belonging to us is not ours. It is the experience of universal intelligence as it passes through us, like wind through a propeller blade.

Living in accordance with that “higher” intelligence (although the descriptor “higher” is somewhat arbitrary and in need of definition) means doing ones best either through spiritual practice, or spiritual contemplation, to get a sense of the direction that the universal intelligence is moving in and then move yourself in the same direction. It is Evolutionary Aikido. You match the speed and direction of evolution and move with it.

There are some holes in the metaphor if you pull it apart, but it does convey something of what I mean. It is a bit dualistic though, as there is still wind and objects. To be more accurate you would want the forms that emerge to be created from the wind itself, like wind currents or air waves. Then you have a non-dual universe in which all form is created from varying concentrations of a single universal consciousness, although again what that pure consciousness is would be impossible to imagine.

So that is an image that represents my personal held belief about the ultimate nature of reality. I am sure it will change and be refined, but it is my working hypothesis for the moment.

About the Author

Jeff Carreira
Jeff Carreira is a mystical philosopher and spiritual guide. He is the author of eleven books on meditation and philosophy. He teaches online programs and leads retreats throughout the world that teach people how to let go of their current perceptual habits so they are free to participate in the creation of a new paradigm. To put it simply, he supports people to live a spiritually inspired life, free from the constraints of fear, worry and self-doubt, and aligned with their own deepest sense of meaning and purpose.
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Carl
11 years ago

Two comments: 1. The wind tunnel image that you draw seems to me to boil down to the principle that both Darwin’s evolution and Skinner’s science of behavior depended upon: selection by consequences, along with factors that account for variation from which things are selected. 2. There is a distinction between a teleological view of things which suggests that evolution is directed toward some pre-known final result, and a non-teleological view that says things change, that the final result is unknown, but that dynamics from moment-to-moment cause some things to happen and some things not to happen (or to become… Read more »

Carl
11 years ago

One more little comment about “intelligence.” I think that the essence of intelligence is selection by consequences. As we become aware, we make choices that are more and more encompassing of the consequences of those choices — consequences for ourselves, our families and tribes, our nations, our earth, the entire Universe. To me, most of what I understand by the words “intelligence” and “consciousness” can be summed up as a combination of awareness and selection by consequences, including those of which we are aware beforehand but have not yet experienced directly on this particular occasion.

Lisa
Lisa
11 years ago

Jeff, are you saying this: Thoughts such as those coming from war/fear feeling base thinking and actions was the consciousness of Earth for 10’s of thousands of years and the dominant thought in the wind tunnel thus far? Forty years ago meditation started becoming popular on earth. The peace, (one of those things that stayed in the wind tunnel instead of falling through) that one receives from meditation has stayed in the wind tunnel attracting more like it to itself. We know that Love dissolves or overrides hate almost instantly. There are large collectives, 100,000 + people, that have been… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
11 years ago

Jeff, I suppose if you look at it as being a pawn piece in a game of life, your next move in life would depend on were your opponent moved his pawn piece. Or, as a game of tennis. The ball keeps going back and forth until someone hits the ball out of bounds causing his score to stay the same and his opponents to move up. The women’s liberation was a game played between what societies thought was morally right, and what women thought was morally right. Women’s liberation really took off in 1939 when World War II began.… Read more »

Axel
Axel
11 years ago

I really liked Carls explanation of “intelligence” because its very rational and gives a somehow wise glue to operate with that term. On the other hand, I do get the message from Jeff, why human intelligence is only intelligent, when it accepts and sees its boundaries. to point to a sphere, that is ‘beyond’, but real, and which exists and comes from the unknown domain is wise too. In culture, art for instance is an intelligent tool of consciousness, to operate with content that cannot be put into words, but is profound. Creation and Beauty are in need of an… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine
11 years ago

Hi Jeff, do I understand well in the metaphor that the wind must be alive ? Also in your metaphor, the inertia force is attributed to Gravity only. Somehow the role of entropy, or of chocks between the forms, is an essential ingredient of spiritual inertia. I don’t know how to relate the two but apparently Dominique L. told me he knows… ( I wait for his book to come !!) . I like your model very much, but due to my quantum washed brain, the fist thing I would do is to quantify it ! The quantum version of… Read more »

Ryan
11 years ago

It seems that relative intelligence is forever becoming more subtle and we have insights to which we were blind only a few years earlier. From the standpoint of evolution this is very fast moving and there is a part of me which believes that at some point if it is moving this fast we will have it all figured out. There is another part of me which knows that there is always another layer of the unknown. If we discover the origin of the big bang we will then have to discover what existed before it or another dimension perhaps.… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine
11 years ago

Hello,

I found another even more striking
video on super fluidity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCJ24176enM

This time it looks exactly like the “Big Bang” of Andrew’ teachings, doesn’t it ?
I let you enjoy the comments that people have made on the video.

Tony
11 years ago

… a belief is of the mind only and has nothing to
do with how we live …

it is the effect of the cause of how we are living !!!

Lisa
Lisa
11 years ago

Jeff, I feel Hollywood produces movies in accordance to what the American consciousness is thinking. Movies that become huge box office hits are a reflection on how Americans are feeling consciously. There is a movie called “Twilight,” based on Stephanie Myers books “Twilight” saga. It wasn’t the best movie made according to Hollywood’s standards (B rating), but this movie grossed $380 million dollars, and cost only $37 million dollars to make. This was a shock to everyone in Hollywood. This movie has captured an audience from ages of 10- 79 both female and male. It is a teenage love story… Read more »

Shizuka
Shizuka
11 years ago

I thought Lisa’s view about the movie Twilight” is the brilliant metaphor ,interpretation of “Ultimate vs. Relative Intelligence” from the angle of us, human’s emotional (psyche)aspect . Because Jeff’s explanation of “the cosmic process of evolution has directionality which it is pointing generally in a particular direction and an inherent obligation to live in accordance with it.” with the metaphor of a wind tunnel.: sound good ,but lacks to reveal to the human emotion(psyche) to convince us to sift our view of life and shift the behavior according to that view. I ‘m getting more familiar and appreciate Lisa’s way… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine
11 years ago

Guys, I don’t know how to say it, but I found myself quite bored with the comment about the american movie.
Whether american people like the movie with the vampire or the movie about start trek , for me cannot have anything to do with intelligence, whether it is relative or absolute.

In a bit provocative way I would say that most Hollywood productions have nothing to do with intelligence. It is just a divertissement.

Don’ t you agree ?

Liesbeth
Liesbeth
11 years ago

Dear Catherine, I think you should check your opinion about the relevance of movies with Andrew Cohen. I don’t know about this particular movie, but I am sure he thinks in general of movies the way Lisa described it. He used to watch lots of movies with his students, and that’s never just ‘divertissement’.

Lisa
Lisa
11 years ago

Jeff you said:—means doing ones best either through spiritual practice, or spiritual contemplation, to get a sense of the direction that the universal intelligence is moving in and then move yourself in the same direction.— I am philosophizing (This is Philosophy of the Mind.) that Hollywood is making movies according to what the consciousness of Americans are asking for or lacking in their own lives through my observations. Look at Bollywood movies. They are diffidently making movies towards what the Indian consciousness are asking for. Opportunities like everyone else in a developed country. New Delhi, India has a Galleria Mall,… Read more »

Frank Luke
Frank Luke
11 years ago

Hi Jeff and all, re: ““Does your stated belief in ‘higherness’ include an obligation to live in accordance with it? If so, what does that look like?” I believe that it’s entirely possible and happening that humans can be good w/o a belief in God or established religions. This kind of aetheism doesn’t mean that spirituality is cast aside as some do, misunderstanding that freedom doesn’t mean license to do what the hell you want. Even though being a good person is spiritual enough not deliberately harming others, self or the planet, there’s a difference I believe of that less… Read more »

Frank Luke
Frank Luke
10 years ago

Afterthoughts to the above comment: I wonder if in our everyday rushing about and all our self-involved lives, anyone is able to discern spiritual living if they see it? To observe the Sabbath and/or at least one day supposedly reserved for spiritual contemplation is a great idea and on the main disregarded and dispensed with in our secular times. Of course it would preclude that a spiritual life and living is conducted by spiritually conscious people or at least those who observe the kind of behavior predicated by a spiritual commitment, conscious or not. Those who have been Spiritually Awakened… Read more »

Frank Luke
Frank Luke
10 years ago

Last thought:

That spiritual commitment would be an understanding and living in accordance with the Perennial Wisdom, to be at harmony with Being, self, fellow humans, non-human sentient creatures, our environment and the objective aspects of human concerns.