The exponential curve of human intellect

The functioning of the human intellect follows an exponential distribution. This means that any type of knowledge is only useful up to a certain limit after which no more realizations can happen. This means even the greatest genius’ intellects were all put together would still not result into an enlightened super-mind.

This could also explain how failure for men to transcend their own intellect leads to a plethora of innumerable misperceptions. For instance a wrong foundational concept or theory in a mathematical principle could mess up with any application the theorem is used to demystify. Similarly, we superimpose all the inbuilt frailties of our minds on anything we apply ourselves to, be it career, relationships, religion and research.
I have heard that the wise men like to emphasize that a little knowledge is worse than none. This could be because a little knowing causes someone to make many but inaccurate projections about the Real. When the hen lays an egg it is surprising to see how it makes so much noise cackling all over one might be tempted to think that she has laid the moon.

In the story below the Mullah Nasrudin (13th Century, Persia), a Sufi Mystic tries to illustrate this state of human ignorance through a practical joke. He tries to tell us that there is no shortcut to higher states of mind – one has to discard the mind first in order attain something new that is free of arising and non-arising projections. The candle represents accumulated knowledge in contrast to the magnificence of the light of the sun. In mysticism the sun represents that state of enlightenment that is the supreme source of all the superknowledges.


The midwife was called to the assistance of Mullah Nasrudin’s wife.

She hurried into the house, went straight into the bedroom, and soon afterwards, as night was falling, put her head around the door to command the anxious Mullah to “bring a candle at once”.
Nasrudin took her a lighted candle.

In a very few minutes the midwife called out:
“It’s a boy!”
Nasrudin was delighted.

Five minutes later, to his surprise came the cry:
“Mullah, another boy!”

“Excellent”, shouted the Mullah.

A few moments afterwards the voice of the midwife came again: “Now a girl, Nasrudin!”

Mullah Nasrudin rushed into the room and blew out the candle.

“Why on earth are you doing that?”

“Midwife, surely the candle has done its duty – and now it doesn’t know where to stop”.

10 thoughts on “The exponential curve of human intellect

  1. I don’t know much about the teachings of Buddha, but have read a little bit about it. But I’ve been practicing yoga since I was 18, and also studied and practiced massage therapy in the US, including having taken a course in Thai massage. Also, there’s a lot of speculation that the vedic texts and the Poetic Edda share some common themes. Something to look into, for sure.

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  2. It is true there must be similarities in those works of light, though I have not read the Edda but I would very much like to since I have observed that there was a certain civilization founded upon the wisdom of Enlightenment from the Norse peoples but that got arrested somewhere along the way due wars of conquest that rocked Europe for thousands of years. Even the Vedas lack perfection and crystal clarity due to similar disruptions in succeeding societies and authorities.
    Can you get me the Edda or do you know how I can find access to that great knowledge?

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  3. You can download a free copy from multiple sources. I got a copy from Amazon. Look up The Poetic Edda. The translation I have is from 1923. I also have another version, this as a paperback. It is called “the Ásatrú Edda — sacred lore of the north”, by the Norroena Society. I don’t think you can get this version free, but if you can spare the money, it is totally worth it.

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