Essentially, the core mystery of the human intellect is that the human intellect does not act. Rather, the human intellect is acted upon. English grammar teachers in America and England would perhaps fall into a nervous breakdown as a result of the passive voice just employed. But based on what we have gathered from our study of the intellect thus far, it is now evident – and in turn we can state with a certain degree of confidence – that the human intellect does not act, but rather, the human intellect is acted upon.
Hence, everything from human emotions to a Chinese spy balloon flying over America can converge upon this particular “teleological explanation” in order to understand a range of phenomena. It is worth noting that Washington can respond in one of three ways to this Chinese spy balloon. For one, Washington can do nothing. Second, Washington can shoot it down. Or, Washington can try hacking the “motherboard” of the electronic panel that is embedded in the balloon, bring it down to a soft landing somewhere in America, and study it, given that Russia and China have certain technologies and certain kinds of knowledge that we do not have. It appears as though Washington might be considering the third option as we speak.
And it is worth noting that in terms of the third option – namely, the hacking option – arguably, the origins of this third option stem from our time in Afghanistan, when the United States was testing what was then a novel technology, namely, drones. What Iran did was hack the motherboard of the main electronic panel of an American drone while it was flying around Afghanistan, brought it down to Iran, reverse engineered it, and then built tons of their own drones. And the coincidence, irony, and tragedy is that loads of Iranian drones – the origins of which are American – are now being used in Ukraine by Russia, who is an Iranian ally, to the chagrin of Americans and Ukrainians. Hence, the ‘balance of power’ principle and the notion that “what goes around comes around.”
Also, if we now understand that the intellect is acted upon, and that the loftiest act or occupation of the intellect is an “intellectual love of God” to borrow from Spinoza, then it follows that love itself is something which is acted upon the human intellect. Love “attaches” itself to the human intellect in certain cases, along with intelligence. It has been said by one English author: “Beyond all reason is the mystery of love.”
As J.M.E. McTaggart argued, love has to be distinguished from all other kinds of emotions, feelings, and sentiments, including from benevolence, sympathy, and pleasure. A person can show benevolence and sympathy to people whom he or she does not even love. McTaggart also wrote: “Love…is not always caused by pleasure. Nor, when love has arisen, does it always cause pleasure. There are many cases where it produces far more pain than pleasure, and it does not seem impossible that cases could arise where it produced only pain.”
“A love which leads to jealousy may produce a great balance of pain over pleasure, and even if it were said that love which leads to jealousy was not the highest sort of love, it would be preposterous to maintain that it was not love at all. And a love which is unreturned may produce much more pain than pleasure, even if it is free from jealousy. The view that love must be pleasurable is, I believe, due to people who accepted or assumed the validity of psychological hedonism, and then argued that, if a lover was unwilling to cease to love, it could only be because he found love pleasant.”
And while not a lot of good or material benefit can come out of love, what makes love the essential part of the human intellect and as a result is acted upon the human intellect is that love emerges out of a sense of union with someone or something else, as McTaggart argued. He wrote: “And it is sufficient – whenever there is a sense of a sufficiently close union, then there is love, whatever may be the qualities of lover and beloved, and whatever may be the other relations between them.”
In a sense, the reason for why an “intellectual love of God” is the “highest good” that is acted upon the human intellect and in turn is the loftiest of all intellectual and spiritual acts is because God is the only thing which is eternal. All else is subject to the transience and variations which in turn leads to neurosis or misfortune if one attaches their love to anything other than an intellectual love of God. Moreover, an intellectual love of God serves as foolproof understanding of the “necessary and dependent” rule of logic, given that our dependence on God is directly linked with the transience and variations of all other kinds of love if we were to consider these issues on a deeper level. Anything can be taken away from us, and if it were the case, all that we are left with is our intellectual love of God, which in turn suffices for us at the very end.