32. The crafts, especially writing and calculation, give
intelligence to the person who practices them. 246
We 247 have already mentioned in the book that the rational soul exists in man only potentially. 248 Its transformation from potentially into actuality is effected first by new sciences and perception derived from the sensibilia, and then by the later acquisition (of knowledge) through the speculative power. Eventually, it comes to be actual perception and pure intellect. Thus, it becomes a spiritual essence, and its existence then reaches perfection.
Therefore it is necessary that each kind of learning and speculation should provide (the rational soul) with additional intelligence. Now, the crafts and the habit of (the crafts) always lead to the obtainment of scientific norms, which results from habit. Therefore, any experience provides intelligence. The habits of the crafts provide intelligence. Perfect sedentary culture provides intelligence, because it is a conglomerate of crafts characterized by concern for the (domestic) economy, contact with one’s fellow men, attainment of education through mixing with (one’s fellow men), and also administration of religious matters and understanding the ways and conditions governing them. All these (factors) are norms (of how to do things) which, properly arranged, constitute scientific disciplines. Thus, an increase in intelligence results from them.
In this respect, writing is the most useful craft because, in contrast to the (other) crafts, it deals with matters of theoretical, scientific interest. This is explained through (the circumstance) that writing involves a transition from the forms of the written letters to the verbal expressions in the imagination, and from the verbal expressions in the imagination to the concepts (underlying them), which are in the soul. 249 The writer, thus, always goes from one indication 250 to another, as long as he is wrapped up in writing, and the soul becomes used to the constant (repetition of the process). Thus, it acquires the habit of going over from the indications to the things meant by them. This is what is meant by intellectual speculation, by means of which the knowledge of (hitherto) unknown sciences is provided. As the result of being accustomed to the process of going (over from the indications to the things indicated by them) people acquire the habit of intellection, which constitutes an increase in intelligence and provides an additional insight into affairs and a shrewd understanding of them. This is why Khosraw remarked of his secretaries, when he noticed that they had that kind of insight and shrewd understanding: “Dewaneh,” that is (they are) Satans (devils) and crazy. This is said to be the etymology of diwan (the ministry) of the secretaries. 251
Calculation 252 is connected with (writing). Calculation entails a kind of working with numbers, “combining” and separating them, 253 which requires much deductive reasoning and speculation, and this is what is meant by intelligence.
“God brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers. You did not then know anything. And He gave you hearing and vision and hearts.” “You are little grateful.” 254