Meanwhile, I started reading Poetic Knowledge, so I can't help drawing it into today's game. In fact, the title of the first chapter of The Face of the Absolute, The Decisive Intuition, goes exactly to what Taylor means by poetic knowledge (and to what I generally mean by [n] as opposed to [k]).
The decisive intuition must ultimately be intuition of God, and this intuition is always of a poetic nature (although it is possible to later work out the logical proof, just as, say, Einstein first had the vision of relativity before working out the math).
Poetic knowledge does not refer to poetry as such. Rather, it is a mode of cognition, "a spontaneous act of the external and internal senses with the intellect, integrated and whole, rather than an act associated with the powers of analytic reasoning" (Taylor). It is pre-analytical, but I would emphasize that it is equally post-analytical, in precisely the way we've been discussing in recent posts.
That is, even if we only regard the neurology as a metaphor, it is very much a kind of inspiraling journey from right brain to left and then back to right, the latter of which being able to integrate the fruit of left brain analysis into a higher and deeper synthesis. This doesn't make the truth of the Decisive Intuition any more true, but it does make it more robust and more intellectually satisfying -- if you have an intellect in need of deep satisfaction, which most people don't, whether religious or secular.
Briefly violating our one chapter at a time rule, in chapter two Schuon mentions how conventional religiosity (or exoterism) "has to take into account the weaknesses of men, and thus also, be it said without euphemism, their stupidity."
But as we alluded to in yesterday's post, the same principle applies no less to the secular world. A conventional university education has to take into account the stupidity of men, especially now that all men are absurdly thought to be fit for college.
As a consequence of this very real limitation, the teaching "must itself take on something" of the intellectual shortcomings alluded to above, "or at least it must allow them some room, on pain of not being able to survive in human surroundings."
So interestingly, truth must be mixed with falsehood -- in a manner of speaking -- in order to reach the average man, again, whether we are talking about religious or secular thought. This is not necessarily a bad thing, unless you want millions of people who are incapable of thought thinking for themselves. That's how we end up with an Obama.
Poetic knowledge is perhaps better thought of as a verb than noun. As a matter of fact, it is the very activity required in order to be a Glass Bead gamer, as it encompasses "religion, art, literature, music, architecture, manners, economics, leisure, and politics" (and more). These things don't just integrate themselves! Hence the sufficient reason of the Mystic Circle of Cosmic Raccoons, who do not shirk the liborious play of total integration.
Schuon writes of how certain religious imagery, "contradictory though it may be at first sight, nonetheless conveys information that in the final analysis is coherent and even dazzlingly evident for those who are capable of having a presentiment of them or of grasping them" (emphasis mine).
For example, "the story of Adam and Eve may clash with a certain need for logic, but we bear it deeply within ourselves..." It inheres in the very nature of intelligence; or better, it is a symbolic expression of a prior truth that "is to be found in the deepest layer of our consciousness or of our being."
If you need "proof" of this statement, the proof is in the fact that we are still talking about it 3,000 (or however many) years later! Furthermore, man -- so long as he remains one -- will always be talking about it, or else about the same truths in another form. Such truths are simply part of our standard equipment.
But the truth can become obscured. Here we can't just blame stupidity, but rather, a kind of willful stupidity that is wrapped up in pride. As Schuon says, this is not a fault of the intelligence per se -- for how could it be? -- but "from a fault of character, of pride above all." It is hard to imagine a proselytizing atheist whose mind hasn't been poisoned by pride, or who embodies the virtue of humility before the Mystery.
Why? Because the Mystery communicates itself, otherwise we wouldn't even have the name.
From humility follows other virtues, and these virtues, you might say, are both cause and consequence of poetic knowledge and decisive intuitions. "In this sense, virtue is a proof of God, as is intelligence" (ibid.).
Or in other words, if you're trying to prove the existence of God with your intelligence, you're going about it backwards; rather, much easier to prove that intelligence is only intelligent because God exists.
After all, it is "intelligence which is capable of conceiving the Absolute," and "virtue which permits man to surpass himself." An "unvirtuous intelligence" is an abomination, as Obama proves every day, and as the Clintons would like to verify for another eight years. Be it said without euphemism.
[W]ithout this poetic sensibility toward things, life deteriorates into brutality and chaos; what is also revealed is the upward movement of the senses and emotions with the intellect that sees the invisible meaning of things. --Taylor