Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Limits of the Human Intellect

Recently we have pointed to logical gaps at both ends of the intellectual range of man. (Our last two blog posts).  Our point here was to raise certain questions regarding the nature of man's mental faculties. Obviously man has a desire to know---we can look back on a history of technological achievement over the past two thousand years, and an artistic heritage which suggests man can deal on the symbolic level.  Yet this desire to know has a limit, and this is what I am pointing to. Man typically will NOT pursue a question to its logical ultimate. How interesting is this!  Just keep questioning and man may reach, (I suggest you experiment with this) a surprising awareness. But this persistence in intellectual questing is exactly what man, homo sapiens, will not, and certainly, typically, does not, maintain. One reason is perhaps that there is, at some level, an awareness that persistent questioning, a pushing to the borders of the human intellect, would destabilize that intellect.  At least on a scale larger than a few people, this questioning would be destructive to the larger machinery of which man is a part. There may be a good reason that man's intellectual can be defined as one which is not characteristically persistent.

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