Intellect Enthroned in the Heart (Martin Lings)

[Editor’s Note:  Scroll down to read a transcript of a portion of this Martin Lings talk which is very relevant to the discussion of the intellect and the heart in MOTT (e.g. in Letter IX on The Hermit).  Whether or not it is ever recognized and honored, it is by virtue of this higher intellectual center, “enthroned in the heart”– Intellectus, in contrast to Ratio —that human beings participate in the Cosmic Intelligence of the One Life, Divine (cf. Nous in Plotinus or the Logos in the Gospel of John).

NOTE: The quoted except, below, begins at minute 19 of this talk:

Quoting Martin Lings:

“Now, metaphysics is included in “Sophia Perennis” – in perennial philosophy – as that which concerns the Intellect, but man is not only intelligence. Anything that can be called religion – religio perennis – must concern not only part of man, but the whole of man and man is not only intelligence, nor is his intelligence all together in the domain of metaphysics. When I was a student at Oxford, I was privileged to have C.S.Lewis as my tutor and I remember a lecture he gave on the medieval perspective, that prevailed in England, in the time of the 13th-14th century and he mentioned that it was dominated in many respects by what had been written by Boethius, and according to Boethius, the human intelligence has four levels. Firstly, I will give the Latin terms as used by him: “Intellectus”, then “Ratio”, then “Imaginato”, then “Sensus”; Intellect, Reason, Imagination and the Senses. Now, of those faculties only one is in the domain of metaphysics and that is the Intellect. I remember Lewis emphasizing that Intellect alone of the faculties is directly concerned with the Transcendent; with the “beyond”; with the “here after”. The other faculties, Reason is the hand-maid, or should be the hand-maid to the Intellect. The Intellect itself is only concerned with what lies “beyond”; what is transcendent; in other words, with metaphysical truth. Metaphysical doctrine means teaching. Teaching what? What is it that receives the teaching?  The Intellect?  No. I’m not using the word ‘intellect’ in the modern misuse of the word, because as you know, it is used to simply mean intelligence in the modern language, but in the correct sense of the Latin ‘intellectus’ as used by Boethius.  Metaphysical doctrine is not addressed to the Intellect, because the Intellect does not need teaching, being itself metaphysical. It has direct perception of metaphysical realities and in any case, — in the vast majority of men today – the Intellect is veiled so that it cannot be reached by teaching in any case. That teaching will come later– to what metaphysical teaching is addressed to –but it is not addressed to the Intellect. The Intellect is universally recognized as being enthroned in the “heart” and what is meant by ‘heart’ in the inner aspect of the different religions, is not the center of the body, but it is the center of the soul; the “Heart” as the center of the psychic substance. You’ve all heard mention of “The Eye of the Heart” and that “Eye” — only that eye — can perceive metaphysical truth directly and that sight is what man lost at the Fall; hearts became veiled. This is a universal doctrine, one finds it in all religions. The Koran says: “It is not the eyesights which are blind, it is the hearts in the breasts which are blind”. In the Beatitudes, the words: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”. That “sight” is always associated with the Heart. The Prophet of Islam said: “My heart is awake like the hearts of the prophets before me”. The “wake” of the Heart means that it can see; the Eye is open. The main purpose in all esoterism is to open that inward eye, which is blind in the soul. Eckhart was referring to this when he said: “In the soul there is something uncreated and uncreatable”. That is the Intellect, and that is the Intellect in the true sense as used by Boethius and it is the Intellect, which sees the metaphysical realities of the Next World. That is what the inner aspect of religion is about; is concerned with. Wherever you go; Hinduism, Buddhism and the three monoistic religions, in their mysticism, are all concerned primarily with this. It is as if at the Fall of man, human consciousness had been abstracted from the Heart at the Fall, and then drawn out backwards and downwards through the “narrow gate” in the wrong direction; between the “clashing rocks”, – again in the wrong direction – so as to be imprisoned altogether in this world. In other words, at the Fall, man lost the direct sense of the transcendent, hence the need for metaphysics, which is as we have seen the Doctrine of the Transcendent.