71. Is intelligence an attribute of the vital principle?
“No, since plants live and do not think they only possess organic life. Intelligence and matter are independent of one another. A body may live without intelligence, but intelligence can only manifest itself through physical organs. Living matter can only be made intelligent when united with a spirit.”
Intelligence is a special faculty belonging only to certain classes of organic beings that gives these beings the power to think, the will to act, the consciousness of their existence and individuality, and the means of establishing relations with the external world and fulflling their unique needs.
We may therefore distinguish the following:
Inanimate beings, solely matter, without life or intelligence---the bodies of the mineral world;
Non-thinking living beings, made up of matter and endowed with vitality, but not intelligence;
Living and thinking beings, made up of matter, endowed with vitality, and possessing an intelligent principle that gives them the faculty of thought.
72. What is the source of intelligence?
“We have already told you: universal intelligence.”
a) Is it correct to say that every intelligent being draws intelligence from the universal source and absorbs it, as it draws and absorbs the principle of material life?
“This would be an inaccurate comparison. Intelligence is a faculty possessed by each distinct being, which constitutes its moral individuality.
In any case, we have told you that there are things that human beings are unable to fathom. For the time being, this is one of them.”
73. Is instinct independent of intelligence?
“No, not exactly because it is a type of intelligence. Instinct is unreasoned intelligence, by which all beings satisfy their wants.”
74. Can a line be drawn between instinct and intelligence precisely defning where one ends and the other begins?
“No, because they often blend together. However, the actions belonging to instinct and those belonging to intelligence are easily distinguished.”
75. Is it correct to say that the instinctive faculties taper as intellectual faculties develop?
“No, instinct always exists, but humans dismiss it. Instinct, like reason, may lead us in the right direction. It always guides us, and sometimes even more surely than reason. It never goes astray.”
a) Why is reason not always a foolproof guide?
“It would be, if it were not corrupted by poor education, pride, and selfshness. Instinct does not reason. Reason provides freedom of choice and gives individuals free will.” Instinct is a primary form of intelligence, differing from intelligence in that it is often spontaneous, while intelligence is the result of planning and deliberate action. Instinct can manifest itself very differently between species based on their needs. In beings that possess self-consciousness and the perception of things outside themselves, it is associated with intelligence, i.e., freedom of action and will.