Spiritual Intelligence and the Intuitive Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :


The above quotation refers to forms of intuition and perception of the spiritual that in fact advocates the "blocking' of the normal modes of understanding and apprehension. As one commentator state;

The spiritual is all that is beyond the conscious awareness and would include God or gods, demons, spirits and nature spirits, ghosts, non-incarnate entities, angels, devas, guardians of the threshold, guardian angels and all the intangible entities and realities of the religions where the cloud of the unknowable things exists.

(Roze, Janis, Toward the New Humanity: From Emotional Intelligence

to Spiritual Intuition)

It is this perception of the intuitive forms of spiritual intelligence that, it also needsto be taken into account in a discussion of this subject.

2. Literature review

There are many modern as well as more traditional perspectives on the issue of spiritual intelligence. A broad and inclusive view of the central terms in this study was taken into account in an assessment of the available literature. While many works may not refer specifically to the term spiritual intelligence, they would refer to related and equivalent terminology and concepts, such as religious experience and spiritual or mystical knowledge.

A work that was used extensively in the research for this study and which is one of the few works that explores spiritual intelligence through an analysis of the meaning of the intuitive process is Art and the Religious Experience: The Language of the Scared, by Martin ( 1972). Through an exploration of the religious or spiritual experience in art, the author provides an in-depth analysis of the way that the intuitive process functions to evoke and promote the understanding of the spiritual elements in art. Martin refers to the 'participative experience' in his discussion of the intuitive process and considers this a major and central aspect of the understanding of the spiritual experience and this type of intelligence.

The book covers all the major categories of artistic creation; from music to architecture and the central theme that is explored is the way that the intuitive process, by its very nature, expands and transcends the subject-object dichotomy or dualism that is a central barrier to the spiritual experience.

In essence, this work provides an invaluable contribution to the debate on spiritual intelligence as it emphasizes that view that spiritual intelligence relies largely on reception and non-egotistical participation, which is a view that runs counter to the modern rational and scientific desire to control and manipulate. In other words, this work suggests a more open and less human-centric approach that is in line with the critique of modern metaphysics by Heidegger and others.

Intuition by K.W. Wild (1938) is a surprisingly insightful and valuable contribution to the debate on this subject -- even though it is somewhat dated. The book provides a comprehensive and in-depth overview of the way that the concept of intuition has been perceived and understood by various thinkers in the history of metaphysics and theology. It therefore is a very useful resource work for an understanding of the different approaches to intuition.

The book also clearly shows the change in thinking from a more open and non-subjective view of the intuitive process to one that was influenced by the Descartian and rationalist world view, that was to become the dominant Western mode of consciousness. The section of the book entitled RELIGIOUS INTUITION is especially useful in its review of the mystical aspects of the intuitive process in relation to more contemporary views and perceptions.

A book that was useful in understanding the more modern and rational- scientific view of the meaning of intuition is Intuition and Science by Mario Bunge ( 1962). Bunge notes the complex and often ambiguous usage of the term intuition; "In some instances, "intuition" may designate a prerational faculty (sensible intuition); in others a suprarational aptitude (pure intuition, essence intuition, mystic intuition); in still others a variety of reason (intellectual intuition) ." (Bunge, 1962, p. ix) Importantly, the author takes the stance that intuitionism differs from more rational conceptions of the terms. "Intuitionism, on the other hand, is a regressive trend in philosophy, which dogmatically proclaims the existence and even the superiority of an inscrutable and uncontrollable manner of knowing. (Bunge, 1962, p. ix) This is a view that runs counter to many less rationalistic views of intuition and spiritual intelligence. The work provides an important argument in favor of the more scientific and empirical view of the meaning of intuition.

A book that deals with the important area of the intersection between Psychotherapy and Spirituality is Psychotherapy and Spirituality: Integrating the Spiritual Dimension into Therapeutic Practice, by Agneta Schreurs (2002). Schreurs explores the way in which spiritual aspects affect life-orientation in patients undergoing psychotherapy. The book also discusses the way that therapists as well as patients respond to spirituality in the therapeutic setting. The author provides a useful and necessary view of the function of the spiritual intelligence from a psychological and practical point-of-view.

The more accepted contemporary views and approaches to the issue of spiritual and other forms of intelligence is also a central focus on this paper. In this regard a work that provides essential background to modern thinking on the question of intelligence is Howard Gardner's, Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. (New York: Basic, 1993.) This is the seminal work in which Gardner suggested that there are in fact different types and categories of intelligence. His innovative concept of multiple intelligences provides a valuable and well-accepted view of the multifaceted nature of intelligence. His view also relates to the present topic in that the theory of multiple intelligences suggests that the various intelligences develop separately from one another. He also envisages a category of intelligence called 'existential intelligence' which refers to the idea of spiritual intelligence.

Another work by Gardner that was found to be important for this study was Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century ( 2000). This is a reassessment of the multiple intelligence theory and it provides an overview of the history of MI and a response to the many myths and misconceptions that surround this theory of intelligence. In this work Gardner also refers to the possibility of a number of additional intelligences -- which includes the existential and spiritual intelligences.

A number of books were found to be useful in providing important background information for this research. One of these is William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience, (1961). This is an important work on the mode of consciousness related to the spiritual experience. James sees all religions as being of equal validity. However, this work also does not ascribe any intrinsic value to the religious experience outside of the value that it has to the individual and to the subjective desires and wishes of that person. There is therefore an emphasis on the subjective ego in the understanding of the spiritual -- which excludes the non-egoistical view of the meaning of the spiritual.

A useful counterpoint t to this view is Underhill's, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man's Spiritual Consciousness (1912). Underhill in fact reacts against the subjective and self-centered view of the spiritual experience that we find in James' work. Both these works are invaluable as sources for understanding the way in which Western thought has sought to grapple with an the complexity of spiritual reality and the type of intelligence required to understand it.

While books provide an important resource, some of the most pertinent views about spiritual intellect and especially with regard to the link between this intelligence and intuition were found in journal articles. For example, The Transfiguration of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas (1990) provides a very comprehensive overview of the way in which thinking about spirituality and intuition has changed in the West. This article stresses the view that ideas about spiritual intelligence and experience have been radically affected by the logocentric and rational worldview. This work therefore adds to the argument for a deconstruction of the way that spirituality and religion have become 'enframed' and constituted by the contemporary world view.

Another article that proved to be a valuable resource was What is Spiritual Intelligence? By Vaughan ( 2002). This article reviews the current theories about spiritual intelligence, including the view that there are many different categories of intelligence that can be seen ass having distinct and separate characteristics. The author states that "Spiritual intelligence calls for multiple ways of knowing and for the integration of the inner life of mind and spirit with the outer life of work in the world." (Vaughan, What is Spiritual Intelligence? 2002, p. 16) This is an article that emphasizes the more moral and ethical interpretation of spiritual intelligence.

3: Findings

An analysis of the research material and literature on this subject leads to some interesting outcomes and conclusions. In the first instance there are subtle but very significant differences in the understanding and interpretation of spiritual intelligence. These can be…

Sources Used in Document:


Blitz, Mark. (2001) "Understanding Heidegger." Public Interest Fall 2001: 106.

Bunge, M. (1962). Intuition and Science. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Diedrich William Frank ( 2007) "What is Spiritual Intelligence and Why Should You Care?" Retrieved May 10, 2009, from http://www.articlealley.com/article_159792_51.html

Gardner, Howard. (1993) Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. New York: Basic.

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