…on the primary intellect

Recently, I was in conversation with my father, whom I adore; and from whom I digress superlatively on interests of politics; and he put a question to me: what gave me cause to be happy to be liberal. I offered – for I could not – no answer; but, to reveal to him that I am neither exultant nor sorrowful at this condition; merely that this segment of the political subdivision is where my attitudes and convictions serendipitously alight; by intuition – or default, if you will – rather than by design or intent:

“What am I? What has my will done to make me that I am? Nothing. I have been floated into this thought, this hour, this connection of events, by secret currents of might and mind, and my ingenuity and wilfulness have not thwarted, have not aided to an appreciable degree.”

~ Emerson, Intellect, 1841



This supposition is prevalent in much of Emerson’s writing: intuition is the fundamental intellect; it is inherent and attends us sans condonation or wish; to endeavour to pursue the truth by means of sentient deliberation is to depart from it; for the truth can only emerge when one lays oneself open to it and empowers one’s intellect to do the seeing. Furthermore, indulging ourselves in the delectation of becoming swept away by our intuition affords the truth the means to find us; the moment deliberation and doubt take over; that moment, the truth eludes us. Is it not more benevolent to be shrouded in truth?

PS – am I the only one nearly possessed by the urge to bellow, “two-four-six-oh-ooooone!” upon reading the first three words of the quote by my hero?

10 thoughts on “…on the primary intellect

  1. Speaking of prime numbers, and other things prime, had 24601 more fully embraced the first part of the three part Emersonian prime directive adding more levity to the epic drama, would Javert possibly have responded to him with more more mercy, not spent his life hunting Valjean down, and spared himself the need to throw himself off the bridge?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How many times I am so guilty of not using my intuition and after I find out that something that occurred that my inner “Jiminy Cricket” was warning me of, I could kick myself. Perhaps it is fear of realizing the truth. Intuition is a beacon of light in the darkness. Why would we want to be in darkness when we have light to lead our way? To be truly intellectual we must be first intuitive. It opens our minds to new ideas and to have new experiences. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • You see so clearly, Doreen.

      He also said, “we denote this primary wisdom as intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions.”

      I think he he hadn’t written “Self Reliance,” you eventually would have xx


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