One must never confuse intelligence with what is merely cleverness or cunning. Most of what pretends to be measurement of intelligence (IQ scores and so on) does not, and cannot, measure intelligence. And it is a sorry society — a decadent society that is certainly headed for a fall — that comes to confuse intelligence with cleverness or cunning; or, that comes to confuse reason with mere rationalisation or ratiocination.
In effect, what William Blake calls “fourfold vision” is the same as intelligence. It is not an attribute of intelligence. It is the fullness of the intelligence. When Blake speaks of “the Intellect”, he means by that far more than what presently passes as “intellect”, which he refers to rather as “single vision & Newtons sleep”.
“The weak in courage are strong in cunning” is one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. One might append to that, as a corollary, that “the weak in reason are strong in cunning” as well, which is certainly characteristic of our decrepit political culture at “the end of history”. The manner in which intelligence is defined — very reductively, very narrowly — has implications for pedagogy and therefore for procreation and generation; for the production and reproduction of certain human types.
If, in the last post, I mentioned Huxley’s Brave New World as a prescient novel, it is in this context of the reduction of intelligence that it has its most significant relevance and finds its mark. In general, one can say that every dystopian novel speaks to the debasement of some aspect of the fullness of intelligence.
It has become even fashionable, of late, to speak of “emotional intelligence” as if it were a novel discovery and the revelation of some new faculty distinct and functioning apart from rationality (that is, the mental-rational structure of consciousness or the perspectival). It is only an indicator of how debased our understanding of intelligence and intellect has become that one has to “discover” what is really the intuitive as a potential new faculty.
Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me:
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold always, may God us keep
From single vision and Newtons sleep!
Why is this famous statement so profound, even to the point where those who don’t really grasp it nonetheless feel drawn to it in some way, like a mysterious map to a hidden pirate treasure. In fact, Blake did draw a map of the fourfold vision,
The “fourfold vision” is a map of the fullness of the intelligence, and the fullness of the intelligence is what we call “the integral consciousness”.
There is nothing “mystical” or “occult” about Blake’s fourfold vision. That is a judgement made from the perspective of “single vision” or from within the narrow “pyramid of perception” as was discussed earlier. The meaning of the fourfold vision is plain as day, and it is the fullness of the intelligence. That is also the subject of another one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell
The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands & feet Proportion.
That is also a map of the fourfold intelligence — as the ethical, the aesthetical, the intuitive, and the rational in its four expressions. They are like the petals of a flower. That these are not “mystical” truths but the very “shape” of the fullness of intelligence is confirmed by what the psychologist Carl Jung referred to as the four “psychological types”, but which, as types, are biases or over-specialisations of but one or two aspects of the fullness of intelligence,
The fullness of the intelligence does not lie in any one direction, bias or accent of this cruciform structuring of the fourfold human, which forms a mandala when balanced. Intelligence is only manifested in the full relation between them — as an integrality or a holon. Blake’s “fall of man” was the dis-integration of the primal intelligence into four separate functions or “Zoas” — a loss of balance and equilibrium — each pulling in opposed and conflicting directions. The fracturing and fragmentation of intelligence.
In effect, then, history is not something arbitrary or random, but the continuous conflict and struggle of the four psychic functions or “Zoas” for dominion, or the record of their revolts against their suppression or repression. It isn’t a coincidence that the four psychic functions, and the four Zoas, are four “intelligences” of the fourfold self, or that they correspond somewhat to the four “civilisational types” described by Jean Gebser in his Ever-Present Origin — the archaic, the magical, the mythical, and the mental-rational.
It is, likewise, not a coincidence that the Greeks conceived of the “four ages of man” as golden, silver, bronze, and iron; or that these corresponded to the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water (not necessarily in that order), and that earth, air, fire, and water corresponded equally to the four bodily systems involved in homeostasis — metabolic, respiratory, nervous, and circulatory systems. At various times in history, the human has associated the “soul” or “spirit” with one or another of these elements or biological systems, and depending upon which system was believed to be the “seat of the soul” you got, correspondingly, vitalism (blood), animism (joints), spiritualism (breath, as spiritus or pneuma) or mentalism (mind or nous).
Correspondingly, the four principal styles of grammatical speech as dramatics, lyrics, epics, or analytics (and thus as politics, art, religion, and science/philosophy). Grammatical, articulating speech, therefore, is also a mandala and that’s what distinguishes it from the grunts, mewling, chirping, howling and bellowing of the animals. Speech forms a mandala. Articulation is integration.
Now, this is the symbolism of “Christ on the Cross”. The crucifix isn’t really a religious symbol, per se. The cross is a universal symbol, and it is the human form. “Christ on the Cross” (and the four evangelists — Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John) is the symbol of man stretched out on the cross of time and space (time as past and future, space as inner and outer), but also as suffering a conflict between thinking, feeling, sensate, and intuitive aspects of his being. This is what the crucifix represents. “Christ” himself is the perfected intelligence, which is the quintessence or “fifth” as the binding consciousness. In other crucial or cruciform symbols (mandalas) the four arms of the cross or the four evangelists are represented as “Guardians of the Four Directions” or as the cardinal points of reality — North, South, East, and West, which are not geographical points of reference but “spiritual” ones, such as you find in the Sioux Sacred Hoop below,
This, too, is the image of the human form as fourfold being, as mandala (and you will note how it resembles the nimbus around the head of Christ or the saints). And the Sioux have a wonderful, very profound and illuminating saying in connection with the Sacred Hoop, when a man or woman “speaks from the centre of the voice”. That’s a peculiar saying, but perfect for an orally-attuned intelligence in which the spoken word is dominant. To “speak from the centre of the voice” is to speak from the very centre or core of the Sacred Hoop for, as they say, “the Sacred Hoop is in language”. To speak from the centre of the voice is to articulate, and to articulate is to draw into the sacred hoop the powers of North, South, East, and West so that they are present, Here and Now. Then the Hoop is perfected or complete. This “voice” is, of course, the very thing that was called “Logos” and came to be associated with Christ as “the Word”. The Logos is the root or, if you prefer, the “vital centre”. And the rays of the cross are not just the axes of space and time — the cosmos — but the perfected, articulated, integrated intelligence, and this integral intelligence is what Blake calls “Albion” who is the quintessence or “fifth” when the four Zoas come to remembrance of themselves and their original unity.
“Re-membrance” or re-collection is a re-integration from a state of dis-memberment. “The Resurrection” is a re-membrance after a condition of dis-memberment. That is what it means. And that is also what it means “to speak from the centre of the voice”.
Dis-memberment is the condition we are in now. Dis-memberment is dis-integration, and dis-integration is loss of integrity or loss of “the whole”. This condition pertains to the situation of the intelligence — that it is unfulfilled, and in a state that Blake has described as “single vision”.
For Blake, true intelligence is not the mind. It is thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation acting in concert. And what is presently called “intelligence” or “intellect” he rejects as stupor and as only “the mind-forg’d manacles” of single vision.
Perhaps this short discourse on intelligence and the fourfold vision might help you to understand why he feels that way.