Edited and Slides by Omar K Neusser
10c Transmitted Knowledge / Intellectual Knowledge
It should be clear that when I say that Ibn al-ʿArabī is a doorway to the intellectual tradition, I am using the word intellectual in the specific meaning to which I have been alluding, that is, intellectual as contrasted with transmitted, or recognized truth as contrasted with information. In order to grasp the significance of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s living legacy, it is important to have a clear understanding of the difference between these two sorts of knowing.
Transmitted knowledge includes language, history, scripture, and everything that we study in schools and universities or learn from our environment and the media.
In contrast, intellectual knowledge must be discovered and recognized within ourselves.
The usual example is basic mathematics. At the beginning we may receive it from others, but in principle we can discover it within ourselves; once we find it, it is self-evident. In contrast, as a general rule transmitted knowledge remains hearsay, so it never belongs to us and we can never be sure that it is true.
In short, you cannot acquire intellectual knowledge by transmission, and you cannot discover transmitted knowledge within yourself.
Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi; Presentation of Some 29 Texts