The Form of Intellectual Knowledge of the Mental Consciousness

A characteristic of the mental consciousness is the fixation on intellectual formulation, symbolic representation, as “knowledge”.  A premium resides on the ability to organize data into logical streams that can be reduced to symbols in the form of language.  Western civilisation, based in this intellectual conception, minimizes the value of other forms of knowing, whether it is the vital or physical forms of knowing that occur at the subliminal level, or the intuitive or other higher forms of knowing that approach or embody a knowledge by identity.  Physical intelligence, vital intelligence, emotional intelligence, intuitive intelligence are all discounted by the intellectual awareness and treated either as not representing any “real” knowledge, or, if accepted as real, then representing something of a lesser order not subject to the proof of the intellectual symbolic logical form of knowing.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “The intellect does not consider that it knows a thing until it has reduced its awareness of it to the terms of thought, not, that is to say, until it has put it into a system of representative mental concepts, and this kind of knowledge gets its most decisive completeness when it can be put into clear, precise and defining speech.”

The mind may adopt other forms of expression that, using less intellectually precise terminology, tries to express what is felt or recognised to not fit entirely into the logical mental model.

“…there is a demand in the intellect to bring out in clear sequence and relation the exact intellectual content of these suggestions and until that is done it does not feel satisfied that its knowledge is complete.  The thought labouring in the logical intellect is that which normally seems best to organise the mental action and gives to the mind a sense of sure definiteness, security and completeness in its knowledge and its use of knowledge.”

Just as knowledge in the pre-intellectual being is by a form of subconscious knowing, what may in various circumstances be called instinct, so in the post-intellectual being there is also a totally different paradigm and way of knowing, which functions when the shift in standpoint to the supramental consciousness takes place.    This yields a knowledge by identity that does not rely on verbal formulations or representational symbols to embody the knowledge.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 22, The Supramental Thought and Knowledge, pg. 801