The True Intelligentsia

David Karchere

Today we bless and christen this new president and welcome a new cycle in the United States. In the words of the song:

God bless America, land that I love. 
Stand beside her and guide her
through the night with the light from above.

That word light makes us think of the guiding light of truth.

Famously, Jesus said:

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

I’d like to liberate that biblical verse from any Christian belief, truly any belief of any kind, and let it stand naked in our minds, unadorned with the trappings of tradition or dogma, that we may take him at his word: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. We are here to know the truth.

I’d like to read something from the King James Version of the Book of Proverbs that relates to this. In other translations, the word wisdom is translated as Sophia, the goddess of wisdom.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
                                           (Proverbs 3:13-25)

Here is a cosmic view of wisdom, and yet a practical one. Apparently, it’s good for your sleep!

As we look at the world today, it is easy to see a dearth of wisdom and a lack of truth. At the most basic level, truth is fact. And beyond that, it is not just a fact; it is a pattern of points. And then it’s an understanding of unfolding design and beauty, and our role as artists who bring the beauty of Creation into the world. And beyond that, truth is the invisible pattern of Being that contains the seeds of Creation. This is the invisible potential for glorious life on earth. It takes the wisdom of the human mind to know this truth and bring it into the world.

In the world in which we live, we are witnesses to a failure of truth. Not that truth itself ever fails, but a failure to know the truth, even to the point of deliberate lying about facts and the pattern of facts. But beyond that, a failure to see the fullness of truth.

This is from a Timothy Snyder article published in the New York Times Magazine:

Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around, and the era of Trump—like the era of Vladimir Putin in Russia—is one of the decline of local news. Social media is no substitute: It supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true.

Here is a historian’s perspective, applauding and emphasizing the significance of good journalism. And I can’t help but praise the journalists in America today who have come to the fore to defend and uphold the truth, giving not only a truthful reporting of fact but providing insight into the pattern of fact and calling out where there are lies. So I celebrate our courageous journalists. To me, they are heroes.

But surely, good journalism is not enough. We need more than factual truth. We need a higher knowing of truth. I think we have to face that we have had, in the world at large and in America, not only a failure of leadership, which seems obvious enough, but we have had a failure of intelligentsia; a failure of those we might look to, to bring a knowledge of truth to the world. Everywhere you look, in whatever field, whether it is the field of religion and spirituality, the field of politics, sociology, history—in whatever field, we can see gross failures of the intelligentsia.

Who is the intelligentsia? Here’s what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said on the subject.:

The intellectual is not defined by professional pursuit and type of occupation. Nor are good upbringing and good family enough in themselves to produce an intellectual. An intellectual is a person whose interests in and preoccupation with the spiritual side of life are insistent and constant and not forced by external circumstances, even flying in the face of them. An intellectual is a person whose thought is nonimitative.

In the field of religion, which attempts to deal with essential truths of our existence, there has been colossal failure. And in fact, some of those who are most fervent in the religious world have been most subject to a post-truth world. We might think of Islamic terrorists or white supremacists, who instead of being guided by truth—or even by the original tenets of their faith, which their irrationality has dismissed—are guided by some kind of passionate misunderstanding of truth that has led them to violence and terrorism.

The metaphor of a mountain as a symbol for the human journey, and particularly for a spiritual journey, is commonly known. We might say we are all climbing the mountain. In Martin Cecil’s writings, he gave two talks that became chapters in his book On Eagle’s Wings: “The Mountain” and “The Mountainside.” He made the point that you don’t see everything from the mountainside. You see what you can see from that face of the mountain. There can be false peaks. Have you ever had that experience? You’re going up, and it looks like you’re coming right to the very tippy-top, and then you realize, no, it’s just a hump. It’s not actually the peak. More to go! Martin made the point that we are not really seeing everything as long as we are on the mountainside.

Many who use that image of the mountain speak of it aspirationally: yes, we’re all going to the same mountaintop. Fair enough, and it is an inspiring image. I’d like to read just a few verses from a psalm that speaks of this:

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. (Psalm 24:3,4)

I’d like to rephrase this:

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Wonderful One Within? Or who shall stand in his holy place?

While I appreciate the aspirational nature of this image of the mountain, surely, at some point, there must be some who stand at the mountaintop. We are here to stand at our own mountaintop individually, at the mountaintop of our own life, at the highest point of our own Being, so that we can truly see, we can truly know. How do you know what is going on if you are wandering around down in the valley or somewhere halfway up the mountain? If you are on the mountainside, you have a biased perspective. You just see one side of the mountain and the view from there. Surely in our own lives, we’re called to be at the mountaintop.

The mountaintop is the place of Attunement. It’s the place where invisible truth crosses over into human consciousness. It’s the place where we know Love in the Invisible and where it enters our heart. We become attuned to that Love, and we bring the Attunement of that Love into the world. Truly, we are called to be at that place. And yes, it’s a process—there is an aspiration to ascend the mountain, and without that aspiration we don’t do it. But there is teleios, the completeness of that journey.  

And then, for humankind, are we to forever climb the mountain? It is ultimately the role of humanity’s intelligentsia to be standing at the mountaintop and to know. There are all the pieces of knowledge that are available around the mountain—all the philosophies of the world, all the political viewpoints, right and left, conservative and progressive. There are so many different faiths, denominations, and sects. There are all the teachings in the universities of the world. And yet, the keystone of knowledge for us as humankind is not fully present in the world as it is.

And what is that keystone? It is the central knowing from the mountaintop. It is that most core knowing of reality that allows all the dimensions of knowledge to come together into one grand awareness of reality so that we do not see them as competing points of view and polarities. They come together in one grand knowing. And while there is a truth to that at an individual level, there is a truth for humankind. There is gnosis for humanity.

It is the responsibility of the intelligentsia of humankind to bring that knowing. There is the responsibility of leadership and true sovereignty that is rightly embodied in leaders of our world. And yet it is the responsibility of the intelligentsia to guide our leaders; to educate them, to inform them, to bring them the highest knowing, and to bring the highest knowing to the people. It is the intelligentsia’s responsibility when we have an emperor who has no clothes not to forsake the highest knowing.

We have both the rise of the intelligentsia in this trying time in the world and also evidence of the failure of the intelligentsia. Timothy Snyder spoke of this as a post-truth world, as if there was a time in recent history when the truth was fully known. And while I can readily admit that there has been an erosion of truth in various ways, still, there is no time in the memory of humankind when we have lived in gnosis. That is the failure of the intelligentsia of humanity.

Nonimitative thought! Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn put it so well! To state that phrase in the positive, the thought of a true intelligentsia is original. And where does original thought come from? When one stands at the top of the mountain in Attunement, invisible truth inspires the mind. An attuned mind thinks the thoughts of the Creator. These are the thoughts of wisdom.

Unfortunately, in the world in which we live, so often young children are taught not to believe their own eyes, not to believe their own human experience, not to believe their own feelings, but to believe what the teacher tells them and what’s written in a book. And then to imitate the thoughts that they read. Or, in a religious context, to believe what they are taught to believe. But belief is a poor substitute for knowing. And so, the child grows up learning to become divorced from the most central of knowings, which is to know oneself—know oneself from the mountaintop, seeing one’s own heart, knowing one’s own heart, knowing one’s own Being and the makeup of it. Coming to the mountaintop, we see ourselves and allow ourselves to be known from on high, to be seen. We can be seen from the heavens when we stand at the mountaintop.

So we need a true philosophy—a love of Sophia, a love of wisdom. A true philosophy is a knowing from the mountaintop. It is, first of all, a knowledge of ourselves. And if we can know ourselves, we can know another human being because they are made just like we are, full of the same stuff of Creation as we are. And if we can know another human being, we can know humankind and why it is here, what it is here to accomplish and fulfill. And if we can know ourselves as humankind, surely we can know this planet—know the beauty and wonder of it and how it’s made.

Through the magic of Sophia that Solomon spoke about in Proverbs, we can allow the power of consciousness to re-create the world; to re-create us as human beings and re-create the world in which we live, through our knowing. This is not just the knowing by the intellect but a knowing that includes the wisdom of the heart.

Some have objected to the image of wisdom pictured in Proverbs being cast in a female form. Even the King James Version of the Bible refers to wisdom as “she.” Perhaps it asks us men for some humility around what tends to be our kind of knowing, mentally focused. It reminds us that true knowing includes a knowledge of the heart, so that all that we intuitively know already begins to be accepted by the mind in its humility. That intuitive knowing begins to be seen so that we come into what we know already but have misplaced because it has gotten buried so deep in our soul we can’t find it anymore. We are here to find it now, standing at the mountaintop, gazing with the eyes of the Wonderful One Within. We know the truth, and the truth has set us free.

You may never have thought of yourself as an intellectual or part of the intelligentsia, but I believe we are called to that. We are called to be the intelligentsia of the most central knowing, the keystone of all knowing as we know Attunement, standing at the mountaintop.

Let us bless the nobleness of those being inaugurated this week in America—the nobleness of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and those with them; their families, and the incoming administration. As we enfold their hopes and their fears, their visions and their spirit of service, we hold and encompass the leaders of all nations. May we be a true intelligentsia that brings the light from above, without prejudice, without bias, or personal attachment of any kind. We simply bring a central knowing of what is true—what is true of ourselves as human beings, what is true of all people, what is true of our leaders. Whatever error has entered in, we hold and uplift their truth and honor it. Their truth is our truth. Their truth is the truth of all people, the wonder and the glory of a human being, the wonder and the glory of humankind.

This we know. This we see with the eyes of the Wonderful One Within, from the place of the Most High, from the mountaintop.

We ourselves receive the christening from above, the light of divine mind. We allow universal consciousness to enter our consciousness so that we see not only from the perspective of an individual human soul but we see from the perspective of the light from above. May we be Sophia, having ascended the hill of the Wonderful One Within. May we be her wisdom, seeing all things, not leaving omniscience to some distant God but seeing omniscience as our rightful inheritance as humankind. May all our eyes be the eyes of Sophia, seeing all things, knowing all things, encompassing all things, loving all people, encompassing all people, encompassing this planet. May we be the eyes of Sophia—protecting, enfolding, uplifting, loving, urging, activating, with the light from above. So may it be in this moment and in all our moments to come.


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Fiona Gawronsky
Fiona Gawronsky
May 1, 2021 7:02 am

I grew up with black and white TV. That’s how it was. I remember my father at the dinner table saying that we would have colour television in the future. I remember thinking, how could that be; TV is black and white! I held a fixed view. Dad was right!

How many fixed views do I have? It serves me to have things fixed, it feels safe that way. Life is often easier in black and white, no grey areas to contend with or to think about. And yet, the world is ever-changing.

I am part of change, I change every day, every moment and every day evokes change in all dimensions. In fact, nothing is fixed in creation, there is constant motion. That’s what makes it miraculous.

So, what about belief? Is my belief fixed? Is mine better than yours? Can I change, or bring change?

History if full of strife regarding belief – religion. How about a world which is beyond belief, one which exists out of motion and modification and wondrous creation. Can I exist in all that and be free to be me? Can I trust in the executive powers of that which brings coherence – that which we call God.

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

“we” will rejoice. We are in this together, beyond belief.

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