Our age seems fascinated with the question of what intelligence really is. Research in biology and developments in the computer-related field of "artificial intelligence" raise fundamental issues. If, as some biologists might expect, intelligence is an electrochemical function of matter, and if machines are someday built that really are capable of creativity and motivation, what chance does mankind have of being the master of its moral and spiritual destiny?
The question is important because our moral and spiritual resources are basic to a more humane life, a life characterized by justice, greater equality of opportunity, preservation of a fit environment, and so on. Of course, no serious professional in biology or the computer field expects the near future to be dominated by control-happy machines or superintelligent blobs of neurological matter!
But it is important that we begin to comprehend better what intelligence is We all know that being fair to others gives us the feeling of right living. Compassion, affection, respect for people -- yes, love -- also are sound qualities to live by. Then, don't these moral and spiritual qualities indicate intelligence? Isn't it intelligent to honor this way of life, since it smooths business, holds families together, relaxes us even when we are busy, and can make for peace in a difficult world?
There is more to such a life style than merely good intentions. The Psalmist wrote, "Establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it." n1 Here is a prayer to God for Him to be the very substance of our lives, the guiding intelligence of all our actions. Such prayer uplifts our motives to work for something higher than mateial goals. The quality of whatever we do, the care behind our actions, the concern for others, all express the intelligence of God and help remove fear from our lives.
n1 Psalms 90:17.
In answering the question "What is intelligence? Mary Baker Eddy n2 writes: "it is the primal and eternal quality of infinite Mind, of the triune Principle -- Life, Truth, and Love, -- named God." n3 Real intelligence, then, is never destructive, angry, selfish. Sheer intellectual force, devoid of the divine disciplines and graces of inspired thought, has often been the root of tyranny and unhappiness.
n2 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 469.
How do we guard against these destructive qualities and develop more real intelligence? We can realize, silently and prayerfully, that matter never has the authority or power to determine reality or to present itself as intelligence. A great mistake of history has been to hold matter as cause, as the source of life and wisdom. Matter is an ephemeral impression of deluded consciousness, an erroneous way of thinking that can't explain or cause anything lasting or satisfying.
We can affirm the basic truth that God, divine Love, is the only cause, the only intelligence. Man, in reality, expresses this divine intelligence just as explicitly and substantially as a sunbeam expresses its origin. Such metaphysical action on our part releases divine intelligence into the human scene. It enhances progress for the race by removing the curse of belief in bipolar developments, the belief that good developments have evil or potential for evil. Since Love determines all true intelligence, evil need never dominate human life; it is in fact a phase of ignorance to permit anything less than the love of Love to control thought.
Today's nuclear armaments standoff, for example, suggests belief that conflict may be necessary to settle international issues, although all admit the folly of such a course. Here divine intelligence can intervene to enhance care for others, to show correct, lawful means to fulfillment of needs, to prick the bubble of pride and bravado, to replace cultural blindness and hate with an infinite sense of Love.
People can turn to God for the intelligence they need; He defines intelligence and supplies it effortlessly. Our growing understanding of God as infinite Love will continue to bless the world by expanding the rule of divine intelligence, God's primal quality that has no opposite. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor. Proverbs 28:16