We are all animals of intellect, guided by pros and cons, odds and evens, ifs and buts, dos and don’ts. In medicine body scan parameters guide us; in academics masters and doctorates give us our sense of nirvana; in finances annual reports, balance sheets, investments, growth strategies determine the degree of our contentment; and in familial bonds, birthday wishes, anniversaries greetings, number of friends and social events we attend are the indicators of our emotional well being.
We base our major decisions, our biggest leaps and riskiest ventures on intellect, inferences and reports. It is our intellect that we constantly strive to improve without realizing that intellect is not only subjective, more like a perspective on the matter but also a byproduct of the times we live in, the civilization we come from and the social environments we are exposed to.
In our pursuit of intellect, we forget the basic instinct that Mother Nature has so generously endowed us with. The instinct to accomplish, the instinct of hunger, the instinct of sleep, the instinct of listening to our bodies, the instinct to relish adventure and thrill, the instinct to create and procreate, the instinct to take or avoid risks- all take aback seat. We are so consumed by our quest for intellect that we chase numbers (another benchmark of intellect) – in medical reports, project reports or balance sheets. It is the intellect that the society and governance rewards, so we are convinced “intellect” is the most acceptable address to reside in.
The disease of intellect is asymptomatic by enlarge except for the occasional display of arrogance about “I know that I know”. Animals of intellect often suffer from “in order to” syndrome. They are in constant hurry to get to Point B and to be able to get to Point B they must first get at Point A. So if the goal post or say Point A is a leadership position, they must first kill all competition, if the goal post is a superior position, they must first prove that everybody else is inferior. However ill informed or depleted of facts, the arrogance of “I know that I know” gives them the confidence to sit in judgment.
Credit:Jamie King for Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Interestingly, we as animals of intellect don’t borrow much from the most intelligent animals on planet earth. Among the traits reflected in Squids, Spiders, Ants, Baboons, Chimpanzees and Orangutans are the level of curiosity, the ability to creatively withstand calamity and the ability to draw logical conclusions. Sea Lions are said to have better reasoning abilities than many of us, the animals of intellect. In fact, it is said that their ability to deduce and infer is much sharper than human beings. Also they are gentle and therefore, used as part of scuba diving teams!
We kill the instinct of an animal that we all are – the one who ventured out to hunt for a place under the sky, the one who ate what mother nature provided – uncooked and ripe, and the one who fought against the vagaries of the nature and paved way for Darwin’s survival theory. We don’t strive to be fit, nor do we fight to survive, we don’t cry when in pain, we don’t laugh when happy, we don’t fight the unjust or celebrate what is just, we don’t even say that we are wronged, we don’t make victory sounds, nor share the cries of defeat. Well, we are all the animals of intellect- programmed to perfect intellect and forgetful of the animal called human. We cease to be human and that, therefore, is the biggest defeat of the intellect.
By: Preeti Surya
Head of Department, Mass Communication
JIMS, Lajpat Nagar