The intellectual temptation for quick comprehension leads to erroneous generalization

We all feel an innate need to gain some understanding of things in our life. When things don’t make sense, we resort to our preferred analytical frameworks for coming up with explanations.

Thus, for example, atheists with anti-religious bias may blame all terrorist violence on religious ideology without considering any historical, economic or political causes. Or spouses with a pro-astrology predilection may blame every marital problem on lack of astrological consultation, overlooking that millions of marriages the world over have endured without consulting any astrologer.

In attributing a complex problem to a single cause, we succumb to the temptation for quick intellectual comprehension, which is somewhat like the temptation for quick sensual gratification. We want the gratification for comprehension without the hard work of systematic, sustained analysis. Rather than analyzing a problem in its complexity, we reduce it to fit into our favorite analytical framework.

Pertinently, for helping us make sense of things, the Bhagavad-gita (14.05-09) introduces us to the analytical framework of the three modes. But it is quick to underscore (14.10) that these modes often compete with each other. The overlapping of the modes often leads to complex situations that need to be specifically analyzed, not simplistically generalized.

More importantly, Gita wisdom treats the universe as a university, wherein Krishna, the source of all wisdom, guides us from within and without towards a life of ongoing learning. The higher fulfillment coming from our spiritual connection with him increases our immunity to the temptation for quick intellectual comprehension – we don’t feel insecure because of being unsure. Being secure in our spiritual connectedness with him, we don’t need to reduce our life experiences to any quick explanations; we can wait with patience and diligence as we process events intellectually in a mood of devotional service till mature understanding dawns.

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