Book: Sceptical Spirituality

The ‘intellect’ (our capacity to think) as a spiritual means

It’s the only ‘instrument’ we have

Peter Eastman
9 min readDec 1, 2022


Collage by the author.
The intellect is all we’ve got! (artwork by the author).

(This is just a sketch — we couldn’t possibly do justice to a subject as crucial as this in a short article.)

Why is this? Why is the intellect the only spiritual implement/instrument/agent/vehicle we have? Surely that’s too extreme? Surely we can also pray and meditate, be mindful, be full of love and human goodness, and bow down and worship, and all the rest of it? Won’t that work?

Well, ‘yes’, perhaps; but unfortunately a resounding ‘no’.


Let’s start by being sure we know exactly what we are talking about. The ‘intellect’ is our ordinary, front-of-the-house, very familiar everyday ‘thinking capacity’ that we employ in day-to-day life to think about things, reflect on things, and analyse things in an objective, impartial, unbiased and non-partisan way. We are ordinarily able to ‘use our intellects’ to get to grips with a problem in much the same conscious, deliberate, intentional way we are able to use our hands to perform a simple physical task. And in a relatively straightforward way, an educated, mature and developed intellect is able to tell the difference between objective and biased thinking, and…



Peter Eastman

Independent Buddhist counsellor, teacher & writer. A quest for an objective spiritual Truth, devoid of any type of doctrine, belief or religion. Scepticism 101.