By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood
Timeline Story



From Year 0 (BCE/CE): 901
Post Date: 06/02/0901

30 Phil, Chapter 16, Al-Farabi, Touchstone 40: Intellect.

Intellect refers to the ability to reason and understand objectively, particularly with regard to abstract or academic matters. Al-Farabi delineated human understanding into three phases: the potential, actual, and acquired. His insights laid the groundwork for today’s understanding, a roadmap for how our thinking grows over time.

The Potential Intellect is the inherent capacity within us all to absorb and process information, much like an empty library of shelves waiting to be filled with books. The Actual Intellect is the activated potential within us, the process of transforming information into knowledge and understanding. It’s like a library that’s started filling its shelves with books, each one signifying a new concept, fact, or perspective grasped. The Acquired Intellect is the advanced state of understanding where knowledge and insight spring forth from an internal wellspring, echoing a sense of innate wisdom. Imagine a comprehensive library that becomes a center for creating knowledge itself.

4 Minutes with Mike Prestwood: Weekly Wisdom Builder
June 16, 2024 Edition
Time Left: 
Wisdom at the crossroads of knowledge.

Wisdom emerges from the consistent exploration of the intersections of philosophy, science, critical thinking, and history.

Get the full story…

These timeline stories are part of my Visual Insights page, where our best ideas come alive. Dive into these timelines to gain a broader perspective, as found in the Stoic practice of the “view from above.” For a deeper exploration of our best ideas beyond learning by meme, check out my new book…

BUY THE BOOK!  Immerse yourself in knowledge, not snippets.

30 Philosophers: A New Look at Timeless Ideas

Placeholder image.

by Mike Prestwood (Author)
Dive deeper than headlines and memes and explore the minds of the greatest thinkers. Nothing compares to the depth and insight gained from the immersive experience of a book.
Beyond the Buzz: Uncover lasting knowledge!
  • Discover how 30 influential philosophers shaped our understanding of the world.
  • Explore the concepts that continue to influence science, art, and culture today.
  • Get your copy now and start thinking like the greatest minds in history!

Uncover the Timeless Wisdom of 30 Philosophers!


Scroll to Top