What is the significance of striking a balance between all different intelligences – AI, Embodied, Heart, Ethical?

Fr Laurence Freeman

That’s one of the most important questions for our humanity at this stage of its evolution. How do we restore wisdom to its proper place in human consciousness and in human interaction? 

E.F. Schumacher said famously that ‘humanity is becoming too clever to survive without wisdom.’  His first famous book was ‘Small is beautiful’ , but his last book was ‘A Guide for the Perplexed’ in which he looks at the disconnect from the spiritual reality, the spiritual nature of of humanity, that is the root cause of the dysfunctionality that is rampant and is even more rampant than it was when he first noticed it. So, David and I have spoken about this many times, and it’s at the heart of our common work. How do you feel about that, David?

David Lorimer

Yes, indeed. And I think it’s significant that this series, we did one in 2022 called ‘The Future of Intelligence’ and we were mindful of putting ‘wisdom‘ into the equation here. So this is why the series is called ‘The Future of Wisdom and Intelligence.’ And there’s no doubt in my mind, as my friend Ravi Ravindra wrote to me only this morning that we need more wisdom generally and everywhere in society and wisdom is based on direct perception and experience. It’s not just about thinking, it’s about the perception of more subtle aspects of reality. And I think we need to advance our perceptual abilities, to arrive at this more integrated intelligence. 

Laurence Freeman

Yes, I think we know it when we meet wisdom, when we see it at work. If wisdom is lacking in any interaction, encounter or decision, if it’s not restored quite quickly, then even the greatest of intelligences can become really just really stupid. Ultimately stupid. Many people have seen the film Oppenheimer, in which, we see the great scientific breakthrough that took place in the discovery of atomic energy. The first thing we do with it is to create an atomic bomb and the penny doesn’t drop with the scientist or at least with him until it’s too late. 

I think, it is of crucial importance that we understand the nature of intelligence, but also recognise the signs when intelligence goes wild, when it disconnects from its root. The root of intelligence is wisdom. It is this consciousness, the deep, pure, clear consciousness that derives ultimately from our source, from the source of our being. When that is open and we are infused by it, then we can use our different kinds of intelligence in a wise way, for the benefit of all. 

David Lorimer

Yes, I think the keyword here is balance, that we support the use of analytical reason and critical intelligence. But it needs to be balanced by imagination, empathy, intuition, creativity. And in this series, we will be looking, with a panel of very distinguished speakers, at various aspects of intelligence, starting with artificial intelligence moving on to embodied intelligence, heart intelligence, and, finally, ethical intelligence. So we hope that by the end of the series, we’ll have a more integrated view of integral intelligence. 

Laurence Freeman

I think having the discussion on artificial intelligence first, which, Ilia Delio is leading with Rowan Williams as a respondent to it and Peter Russell, is a very intelligent thing to do because one of the foolish things that underlies our fear of artificial intelligence is that we call it intelligence in the first place. And most of the experts in that field have told me that it shouldn’t be called intelligence because it’s the wrong metaphor. We’re allowing the human to anthropomorphize an object or a process or a computer that we have invented. So that’s a very basic level of intelligence, deciding how we name things, how we understand them, and not jumping on the bandwagon too quickly when those definitions lead us into fear or paranoia. 

David Lorimer

Well, as you say this, or imply, this intelligence has actually no understanding. It’s a simulation of a, so called, intelligence and particularly its computational language intelligence. But it can be quite deceptive that when something is written by Chat GPT it can be really quite impressive and sound as if it could have been written by a human being. 

Laurence Freeman

Well, maybe I haven’t read well, whenever I’ve seen anything generated by artificial intelligence, I’ve always felt, maybe because I knew, but I’ve always felt that it had something artificial and inhuman and processed. Clever because it can say a lot of things that you would probably take half an hour to sit with a pen and work out. It could create structures and put in links and all the rest, but there’s something lacking. And that’s wisdom, you linked it a minute ago to intuition: this is a taste for what is real or not. And human beings have been given this palate of consciousness to be able to taste and prove.  Wisdom comes from the word ‘sapientia’, it comes from ‘sapere’, ‘to taste’. So it’s not about looking at objectifying and analysing, it’s more this immediate contact with the nature of something and being able to discern it from immediate experience and that is intuition, if you like. But it’s the operation of wisdom in practical situations. 

Practical wisdom indeed. Well, we hope that you, the listeners, will come and taste with us these different forms of intelligence and that at the end of the series, we will have developed our integrated intelligence.

David Lorimer profile pic

About David Lorimer

David Lorimer is the Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network (former President of Wrekin Trust and the Swedenborg Society).

Curious to find out more?

In the series of round table dialogues Future of Wisdom & Intelligence, you will explore this integral intelligence, David and Laurence refer to in this dialogue, beginning with a session on the topical issue of AI, moving on to embodied intelligence, heart intelligence and finally ethical intelligence.

We look forward to your participation in these reflective sessions.

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