However, as with any tool, when it is not properly used it can be destructive to ourselves and others. People who under-utilize their intellect (anti-intellectualism ) can easily become irrational, dependent on others, vulnerable to exploitation, and prone to mistakes. Conversely, those with an overactive intellect (strict rationalism ) can easily become overwhelmed, anxious, fatigued, indecisive, elitist, or sociopathic. So, to use our intellectual map wisely, we must wed it to our emotions.
The Liberal Arts
The liberal arts were considered the pinnacle of education in ancient Greece and Rome. Training in them was a necessity for an individual to take an active role in society. The phrase liberal arts comes from the Latin words artes liberales, roughly meaning “skills worthy of a free man“[1,2]. This form of learning was to supersede any of a technical or professional variety as it was understood to be the foundation to all subsequent learning.
At the very core of the liberal arts was the Trivium. It was considered the starting point of education because it taught an individual how to observe, think, and act. Put in another way, it allowed a person to properly receive, interpret, and transmit information about the world around and within them. It’s purpose was to help one formulate a worldview that is coherent with reality and to discard delusion. The three subjects of the Trivium are:
Grammar / receive
Logic / interpret
Rhetoric / send
The green and red diagram to the left depicts how a student should properly apply the three disciplines within their life. Once an individual learned how to accurately receive, interpret, and communicate about the world, they were able to move on to more advanced subjects.
The Quadrivium was the next portion of the curriculum. Its disciplines are at the heart of all of the sciences. The four subjects of the Quadrivium are:
arithmetic / pure numbers
geometry / numbers in space
music (harmonics) / numbers in time
astronomy / numbers in space and time
Interestingly enough, the four sciences of the quadrivium labelled above were paired with the four arts of numerology, geomancy, music (composition), and astrology. Whereas the four sciences were the quantitative (masculine) aspect of the curriculum, the four arts were the qualitative (feminine) aspect. For a wonderful further exploration of the Quadrivium, please watch this video here.
The Liberal Arts provide you with the framework to explore and understand creation and, most importantly, your place within it. Its sole purpose is to allow you to discover truth and live in accordance with it; to discover how we should think and behave in order to live exceptionally.
The Limits of the Intellect
It is essentially important to know that the fullness of who you are and what it means to live cannot be explained and understood through the intellect alone. Words are a construct of the intellect creating mental models to approximate, understand, and communicate about reality. But the intellect exists within reality, it is just a single dimension of it. So, words will never be able to fully explain reality or who you are. What makes you you can only be experienced. All of the information that you read on this website, on any other, in any book, or hear from the mouth of any teacher can only point you in the direction of absolute Truth.