If Zen is approached with the usual mental attitude, it will seem quite incomprehensible. Our average Western intellectuality would consider its paradoxical language simply as a play upon words. Its full significance is revealed only when we approach it in a different manner, making our minds available to the new processes of inner perception which it suggests.
First, Know well that Intellectuality is not intelligence. To be intellectual is to be phony; it is a pretending intelligence. It is not real because it is not yours; it is borrowed. Intelligence is the growth of inner consciousness. It has nothing to do with knowledge, it has something to do with meditativeness. An intelligent person does not function out of his past experience; he functions in the present. He does not react, he responds. Hence he is always unpredictable; one can never be certain what he is going to do.
To learn to see- to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.
The notion of "humanity" as a form of transcendence derives, I think, from the conviction that intellectuality possesses an absolute power, from the demand that our best behavior depends on our ability to think abstractly, in terms of a universal rule, about something called humanity, that we need to understand humanity abstractly so that we can act responsibly towards those who represent it.
Books are almost as individual as friends. There is no earthly use in laying down general laws about them. Some meet the needs of one person, and some of another; and each person should beware of the booklover's besetting sin, of what Mr. Edgar Allan Poe calls 'the mad pride of intellectuality, ' taking the shape of arrogant pity for the man who does not like the same kind of books.
I was utterly convinced that an intellectual could never be anything but an intellectual, was simply not capable of being anything else, that his intellectuality would, sooner or later, erode his faith or erode whatever he'd masked it with... For example, intellectuals like to dress themselves up as peasants... but it never works. The intellectual's constitution is impervious to such things - it permits only one object of worship - oneself. Generally speaking, an intellectual in the contemporary version is an exceptionally resourceful and, essentially, pitiful being.
Hanns Heinz Ewers tells a short story of a boy who was so unnatural of disposition as to take a special delight in people sick with elephantiasis. Our "European intellectuality" finds itself in an identical condition today which, through Jewish pens, worships the Kokoschka, Chagalls and Pechsteins as the leaders of the Art of the future. Features of degeneracy are already apparent, as, for instance, with Schwalbach, who dares representing Jesus as flat footed and bow legged.
In Indian social-cultural-political discourse there is a general tendency to ignore deeper, intellectual thought, and the sensationalist mass media has actually contributed to a great dumbing down of even the educated masses. In this climate where any and all intellectuality has been mostly confined to a few ivory towers of academy, it is difficult to get even the educated and socio-economically privileged section of the society interested in the idea of exploring any deeper intellectual thought. It seems as if the trinity of pop-sociology, pop-psychology and pop-culture has taken over the general mentality of the society leaving little room for any serious, intellectually rigorous discourse on social-cultural phenomena. If at all, there is any serious attempt to think through and understand the observed phenomena, it is almost always done using the intellectual theories and frameworks developed in the Western academic circles. But this habit of non-thinking or thinking only in terms of borrowed categories must change if we want India to awaken to her innate intellectual potential.
No settled family or community has ever called its home place an 'environment.' None has ever called its feeling for its home place 'biocentric' or 'anthropocentric.' None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as 'ecological, ' deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of 'ecology' and 'ecosystems.' But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people. And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is 'work.' We are connected by work even to the places where we don't work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is 'good work, ' for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known. Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth. The name of our present society's connection to the earth is 'bad work' - work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.