The Spiritual Intelligence Paradigm

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Three Dimensions of Intelligence

Scientific Materialism

From the early 17th century onwards, traditional faith-based theological explanations of reality gave way to empirical explanations based on newly discovered laws of physics. This enormous shift in collective consciousness established scientific materialism as the dominant paradigm of western civilisation. According to this reductionist philosophy, which still prevails as the orthodox scientific view today, human beings are nothing more than a bunch of atoms in a complex chemical formula.

Postmodern Despair

This dispiriting philosophy about the ultimate nature of human existence has caused enormous confusion and bewilderment. The official endorsement of materialism by the scientific establishment has installed in collective consciousness a dark vision of existence based on a sense of ultimate meaninglessness and futility. Much pain, aberration, and despair has resulted. The enormous toll in human suffering is evident from the art and literature of the last century, which documents a pervasive existential malaise that persists to this day. The symptoms are described as alienation (Marx), abandonment (Heidegger), anxiety (Kafka), neurosis (Freud), nausea (Sartre), aimlessness (Becket), hollowness (Eliot), and the feeling of being a stranger in one’s own land (Camus). The meaninglessness and despair of the materialist worldview is a theme in a recent movie about contemporary postmodern culture. A character in the movie describes the universe as a “cruel, dog-eat-dog, pointless, black, chaos” (Whatever Works, 2009).

Spiritual intelligence is emerging as the next stage in the evolution of collective consciousness.

Good News

Nevertheless, despite the destructive influence of the materialist worldview, there’s good news. The reign of philosophical and scientific materialism is rapidly coming to a close. Although the dogma of materialism has dominated collective consciousness for last few hundred years, it is no more permanent than the paradigm it replaced. Just as boldly as the materialist paradigm took over in the 17th century, it is being superseded in the 21st. The spiritual intelligence paradigm, based on post-materialist science, is emerging as the next stage in the evolution of collective consciousness [1].

Science of the Soul

The spiritual intelligence paradigm represents the science of the soul. The soul is simply dismissed as non-existent by materialist science, in direct opposition to religious beliefs. However, according to religious beliefs, the soul is situated in a remote supernatural location, accessible to faith alone. But the SQ paradigm identifies the soul at a psychological location that is directly accessible to everyone in their own experience, without relying on religious faith. Being the soul corresponds to being feeling-awareness itself (or consciousness itself), which is located at the subject-pole of attention. This is the ever-present alternative to being the ego, which corresponds to being the body and mind, located at the object-pole of attention.

Twin Poles of Attention

Twin Poles of Attention

The Spiritual Dimension of Intelligence

Shifting from the object-pole to the subject-pole of attention creates a corresponding shift from ego to soul, which activates the spiritual dimension of intelligence. Spiritual intelligence has the qualities traditionally ascribed to the soul, by virtue of the native qualities of feeling-awareness itself, which are experienced at the subject-pole of attention in moments of presence, in the form of wisdom, compassion, integrity, joy, love, creativity, and peace. This video describes a simple three step method that activates spiritual intelligence.

Scientific Method

The SQ paradigm extends the application of the scientific method beyond the narrow limits set arbitrarily by scientific materialism. By including feeling-awareness itself (or the soul) as the subject of experience, the SQ paradigm goes beyond the hitherto exclusive scientific focus on objects of experience, as required by the philosophical materialism of orthodox science. The materialist axioms of orthodox science demand that science restricts investigation exclusively to material objects, on the unsupported premise that only material objects exist. Thus the subject-pole of attention (or consciousness itself) is not included within the purview of science, according to the doctrine of materialism.

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

~ Nikola Tesla

Unscientific Exclusion

However, the exclusion of the subject-pole of attention from scientific recognition is contrary to the scientific method. The key principle of the scientific method is that phenomena can be investigated scientifically when the relevant facts are observable, verifiable, and repeatable. Accordingly, the subject-pole of attention is a scientific reality, because consciousness itself meets all three criteria for scientific recognition: firstly, consciousness can be experienced [1]; secondly, consciousness is verifiable both inter-subjectively and neurologically [4]; secondly, consciousness is verifiable both inter-subjectively and neurologically [5]; and thirdly, consciousness can be experienced repeatedly [6]. Consequently, the subject-pole of attention (or consciousness itself) qualifies as a valid subject of scientific investigation. Therefore, withholding scientific recognition from the subject-pole of attention, by limiting the scope of scientific enquiry to objects of attention, applies the scientific method too narrowly. In the process, human beings are defined too narrowly also.

Materialist Reductionism

Scientific materialism defines human beings exclusively in object-pole terms, composed of atoms, chemicals, and biological structures. The phenomena of consciousness, such as perceptions, thoughts, and emotions, are defined as electrical discharges in the brain. However, this reduction to the object-pole leaves out the essential element, which is feeling-awareness itself (or consciousness itself). Without feeling-awareness itself at the subject-pole of attention, there would be nothing whatsoever at the object-pole of attention, regardless of how many electrical discharges in the brain occurred. There would be no perceptions, thoughts, or emotions, and no observations of atoms or molecules, and no other experiences of body, or mind, or world. By reducing human beings to phenomena at the object-pole of attention, scientific materialism leaves out the most essential element. Consequently, as a science of human nature, and as a basis for self-understanding, the materialist perspective of orthodox science is fundamentally deficient.

The Full Spectrum of Intelligence

Vital Correction

Nevertheless, scientific materialism performed an essential function in its time. In early 17th century new discoveries in physics and astronomy established the pre-eminence of the scientific method in explaining events, and thus brought an end to uncritical acceptance of theological explanations of the world. This was an important advance. Religious doctrine had stifled discovery for millennia, by privileging tradition and belief over observation and experience. Establishing the scientific method as the gatekeeper of knowledge was a vital correction.


However it turned out to be an over-correction, because the scientific method was applied too narrowly, in accordance with the premises of philosophical materialism. This philosophy denies the existence of what is not material, and therefore by definition excludes the subject-pole of attention (or consciousness itself) from scientific recognition. Consequently, when applied with the narrow focus of philosophical materialism, the scientific method provides an incomplete and utterly misleading understanding of human nature.

New Correction

The emergence of secular spirituality, based on post-materialist science, marks a further correction, bringing to an end the dark age of scientific materialism. Secular spirituality in all its forms is based on our innate capability for spiritual intelligence, whose existence as an advanced dimension of intelligence is confirmed by scientific research [7]. Findings in the psychology of spiritual realisation establish that spiritual intelligence includes both poles of attention [8]. Therefore, by combining the subject-pole with the object-pole of attention, the experience of spiritual intelligence unites body, mind, and soul.

The experience of spiritual intelligence unites
body, mind, and soul.

New Paradigm

As the intelligence of the soul, spiritual intelligence displays the hallmarks of human maturity in the form of wisdom and compassion and integrity. When spiritual intelligence sets the standard of personal conduct and collective governance across the whole of society, including corporate and government sectors, on a national and international scale, transformation follows worldwide in the form of co-operation, tolerance, social justice, eco-sustainability, shared prosperity, and peace.

Spiritual Intelligence

In an age of unprecedented global crises of our own creation, coupled with immense potential for improving the quality of life for all, SQ represents a higher dimension of intelligence whose time has come [9].

Whole Brain Training

As a powerful combination of three principal dimensions of intelligence, 3Q represents IQ and EQ in association with SQ. Studies in neuroscience confirm that spiritual intelligence is correlated with hemispheric synchronisation and whole brain activation [10]. Consequently, coaching in 3Q trains the whole brain. The resulting whole-brain coherence optimises brain function, and results in greater fulfilment, increased creativity, sharpened intuition, more empathy and compassion, and improved performance on a wide variety of work skills and life skills.

3Q Essentials Online Course

When you activate a higher dimension of intelligence, you gain access to the qualities and capabilities of your higher self. You can use the method taught in this course to shift from ego to soul, and activate your spiritual intelligence. This releases your intuition and creativity, and results in a deeper sense of meaning and purpose, which ultimately transforms your entire personality. For more information about the 3Q Essentials online course click here


The SQ paradigm is based on a synthesis of findings from related fields of scientific research, including cognitive psychology, psychoanalysis, transpersonal psychology, and neuroscience. These findings represent the scientific foundations of spiritual intelligence, as summarised in the following article: The Psychology of Spiritual Intelligence.

How to Experience Spiritual Intelligence [Video]

Spiritual intelligence is easy to experience. We all experience SQ spontaneously at times. But spontaneous moments of SQ are rare and unpredictable. Therefore it’s important to know how to experience SQ intentionally. When you can engage your spiritual intelligence voluntarily, at any time of your own choosing, SQ becomes your most powerful personal resource. This video provides step-by-step instructions on how to activate SQ intentionally. Watch the video here


© 2011 – 2018, Richard Griffiths.

Meet the Author

Richard Griffiths

Richard Griffiths is a psychologist and corporate trainer. He is the founder of the 3Q Institute and a former National Chairman of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the Australian Psychological Society. His published work represents his findings from a lifetime of research and practice as a psychologist and spiritual practitioner. Alongside his research in psychology, he maintained a personal spiritual practice, and had first hand experience of a number of different spiritual traditions. Eventually a secular synthesis of psychology and spirituality emerged from his research in the form of the spiritual intelligence paradigm, which is the foundation of training at the 3Q Institute.

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Is SQ enough to change things significantly on a global scale? To answer this question, consider your own experience. 
What is it like to be your ego, and what is it like to be your soul? This video explains how to experience the difference.
Notice the enormous contrast between how you feel as your ego and how you feel as your soul. Notice the difference in your motives. The ego seeks personal
gain, whereas the soul prioritises what is best for all. Notice the difference
in how the ego and the soul respond to people and to situations. Can you feel
the difference in your sense of personal fulfillment as your soul, compared to
how you feel as your ego? Now imagine what it will be like when most people use
their SQ, and therefore respond not with their ego but with their soul.

Therefore, to return to your question: Is SQ enough?
SQ is certainly enough at the personal level to make an enormous difference for the better, as we can all confirm. When practiced on a community-wide scale, SQ is therefore enough to change the collective paradigm, which will transform society at large. Consequently, it’s evident that SQ is sufficient for global transformation.


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Thank you. I’m glad this info is beneficial. There’s a video on how to experience your SQ in the post entitled Experiencing Spiritual Intelligence

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