Universal Brotherhood – May 1899

NOUS — T. W. Willans

The popular meaning of "nous" gives a true definition of that judgment which must always accompany intellect, in order that this most necessary instrument may be of true value in human evolution.

The fatal loss of "nous" or sound judgment will ultimately wreck intellect. Intellect without discrimination or attributes of soul or heart is self-destructive. It is the want of "nous" that causes a man to overestimate his ability, or exhibit that sorry caricature of human nature embodied in the term conceit. Emerson said "the devil is an ass," and therein he hit directly on the weakness of evil.

Using intellect alone, and basing conclusions on such observations that are actually under the sway of animal consciousness, or sensuous perception, our foundation is delusive or untrue, when estimating that which requires a higher state of consciousness. From a false foundation, the intellectual deductions we make are necessarily false and so failure must result; for our plans and theories are wanting in the only thing that can possibly make them successful and true i.e. "nous," acumen, discrimination, sound judgment. Instead of doing "the right thing at the right time and in the right place," we do the wrong thing at the wrong time, and in the wrong place, when the linchpin in our vehicle of human intelligence is wanting. One of the fallacies of intellect when separated temporarily or otherwise from soul, is a blind belief in itself and in another's opinion.

Intellect when separated from soul has necessarily no soul attributes and therefore has no capacity to perceive soul, or the spiritual nature. Consequently intellect will believe itself to be what it thinks and what others say of it. If it is worshipped as being the supreme and it can get other intellects to say so it will believe it. So intellect alone can be very easily taken in or "taken down" as the boys say. Depending on itself it has no "nous" and so "the devil is an ass," having a hidden desire to be thought God. It is impossible for intellect alone, to know or think of any higher consciousness than itself; and hence because people worship the Divine, it thinks, if it can get worship, that it is that Divine. But intellect is sadly taken in when an ignoramus of its own brood worships it.

It is a glorious privilege of the soul to worship the Divine and a truly spiritual man will accept the homage, apparently paid to him, as paid to the Divine and will know how to hand it on to Deity.

Yet, though intellect when separated from the soul or the heart makes a fool of a man, still when used in its true place it is a necessary and worthy servant of the Most High. A servant, in fact, which we, as human beings, cannot do without, and be successful in true progress.

The truth is, intellect should be accorded its place, given its true name, and wisdom will grant it that place and no other, in our progress towards perfection.

"Seek, O beginner to blend thy mind and soul," is a vital necessity for an immortal career. "Nous" requires practical action in accord with spiritual principles. We cannot obtain the blessings of enlightenment without acting upon its principles.

"Harmony in word and act" is a necessity for the development of the divine. The divine in a man will give him a perfect trust in the divinity of men and he will go about his Father's business with a certainty of success.

For the soul has nothing to fear from evil; the pure soul is incapable of fear. Individual men and women fail when they divorce themselves from soul and depend on intellect alone, but the warm heart of "the mother" calls forth multitudes of souls and through those who now respond and in whom the divine "nous" is awakened will progress and ultimate perfection be ensured for the race.

Universal Brotherhood