The intellect is overrated and underrated because few understand its true purpose. In truth the intellect is a passive tool that evolves a given input towards an output according to certain rules and takes a premise toward its logical conclusion. But like a computer it passively carries out its programmed function without true creativity of its own. What the intellect produces depends on two things, its input and programming, both of which originate from outside itself and are therefore unguarded sources of corruption. As the saying goes, garbage in garbage out: with a corrupted input comes corrupted output. And even with perfect input, if the rules are incomplete or sloppily applied then the output is likewise garbled. So for all its virtues, the intellect alone is insufficient for effective truth seeking.
The problem with overrating the intellect comes from thinking that through accurate application of the rules one can produce an accurate output, which ignores the possibility of incomplete or false input. In practical terms this implies that intellectuals, or let’s say stubborn skeptics who pride themselves on scientific objectivity, refuse to question the root assumption from which they are logically reasoning. These root assumptions originate with statements made by potentially fallible sources of external authority like group consensus, prolific academics, university curriculums, and irrational biases rooted in financial and social survival that embed themselves into institutional policies. When confronted with truths that contradict these, rather than revise incomplete or false assumptions, intellectuals use them to rationalize away counter-examples and counter-reasoning, thereby misappropriating the intellect into fortifying the walls of their mental prison.
Those who notice the limiting nature of intellectualism might make the counterpart fallacy of under rating it. They wish to transcend reason by disposing it in favor of the only alternative, feeling. Feeling does not obey logic, therefore it can go beyond logic. While that much is true, the error comes in not distinguishing between intuition (flowing from our higher aspects) and emotionalism rooted in lower aspects like animal instinct, ego biases, sentimentality, subconscious programming, collective consciousness, or external telepathic persuasion. This attempt to abandon intellect instead gives it a new job by merely switching the inputs and removing the need for consistency in applying the rules. What results is an intellect that rationalizes subjective impulses in ways that are not even logically consistent.
What underrating and overrating the intellect have in common is that they arise from the binary fallacy: “If not 1, then 0. Since 2 is not 1, 2 is 0.” Above reason is intuition, below reason is emotionalism, and through the binary fallacy intuition and emotionalism become indistinguishable because neither is based in reason. Meanwhile, those who overrate the intellect also commit the binary fallacy by confusing what is beyond their comprehension with what is beneath their standards of logical integrity, rejecting both for being different and unsubstantiated by their own understanding. These are two sides of ignorance, two manifestations of the intellect being unable to accommodate solely those inputs that would lead it toward higher objectivity. Either it stubbornly rationalizes its current level of objectivity against higher levels of objectivity beyond its understanding, or else it rationalizes away objectivity altogether in favor of subjectivity.
The binary fallacy therefore boils down to recognizing only objectivity and subjectivity, choosing between solely these when there exists a third option that transcends both. For lack of a better term, we may call this third option transjectivity, meaning that which is trans-objective. This is what I meant earlier by “higher levels of objectivity.”
How can there be different levels of objectivity? Science aims toward increasing degrees of objectivity, toward increasingly accurate understanding reality, whereas by different levels of objectivity I am referring to different levels of reality, not just the level we know as physicality. The problem with the term objective is that it implies “that which is real” when what we call reality is actually a localized phenomenon whose characteristics depend on what locations you span within the greater framework of existence. It depends on the level within that framework that forms the foundation of your current realm of experience. So there is an important distinction between degrees and levels of objectivity. Gaining a higher degree of objectivity means getting a more accurate understanding of what level of reality you are currently exploring, whereas gaining a higher level of objectivity means gaining an accurate understanding of an altogether higher level of reality. This matters because while logic alone can bring you to higher degrees, intuition is needed to reach higher levels.
When it comes to scientific research and proof, exploration is into phenomena that carry a factual existence independent of the observer, quarantining it from psychological bias and delusion. But by limiting proof to what is universally replicable, what remains are solely those phenomena comprising the lowest common denominator of experiences available to all observers inhabiting a consensual reality. In other words, scientific proof is strictly material proof that depends in no way upon the individualized conscious or spiritual state of the observer. Thus scientific proof encompasses the crudest set of phenomena that are undeniably real to individuals with even the crudest levels of conscious development.
Scientific standards do not allow for personal proof that depends on the observer, and yet it is precisely the conscious development of the observer that determines what other levels of reality beyond the purely physical and deterministic can be accessed. The closest science has come is in quantum mechanics where it is now commonly accepted that the observer plays a unique role in the outcome of an experiment. But beyond verification of the statistical trends describing the distribution of all possible observations in a given experiment, any particular outcome is not universally replicable. That is why quantum physics, in not being able to predict any specific observations, must resort to statistical descriptions because in doing so it once again approaches collectivity and thus what it defines as objectivity. Even so, the exact influence of the observer on a quantum system is not understood, and thought to be random as well as being limited solely to the atomic scale.