Author Topic: Thoughts on Intuition  (Read 2675 times)


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Thoughts on Intuition
« on: May 18, 2007, 01:39:54 PM »
The following are from posts I originally posted on Kaleidoscope...


I'm just beginning to study what intuition is from a scholarly direction.  From a brief superficial review of popular literature and some cognitive science (avoiding Jung for the moment) I have come up with the following outline of features (with some leading thoughts and questions of my own mixed in):

A.  Perception - an intuition is a direct cognition of some idea, image or feeling without apparent (conscious) rational construction

1.  Question: Is true intuition = fundamental lack of rationale? within a range of time for reflection?  when is intuition the result of intuition and not unconscious, thought, feeling, etc?  or is there a difference?

2.  Theory: Comparison of intuitions reveal patterns and metapatterns that self-reflect (inclusive of aspects of brain structure and function) that identify intuition as perceptive of an inner landscape (vs sensation of an outer landscape)

B.  The contents of Intuition - Patterns, Connections, Possibilities

1.  Connections - Two things related in a non-rational or non-obvious sensory-experiential way

2.  Possibilities - a non-deductive supposition? smart, quick guesswork

a.  limited rationalization

b.  question: relationship to experience? unconscious experience and/or habituated learning = intuition? 

c.  intuition creates goal priming later rationalization

3.  Patterns

a.  archetypes of mathematics

i.  sensory abstractions: number, circle, line, etc...

ii.  mapping

b.  organizing the random - emergence (whole greater than sum)

c.  optical illusions - ?relationship to intuition

4.  Choosing - free will

a.  intuition - developing certainty within ambiguity

b.  training intuition for accuracy

i.  trust-doubt

ii.  holding intuition accountable - the optical illusion of knowledge or outer vs inner

C.  Intuition as Imagination - Inspiration - the creation of perceived truths - calling the muse

1.  Methods of creativity

2.  Framing art (the context of the truth of art)

D.  Intuition as psychic   

1.  Contacting another world

2.  non-natural capability

3.  parapsychology

E.  Spiritual

1.  spiritual vs mundane

2.  Taoism

3.  Tarot/I Ching - methods of fortune telling - methods of psychological analysis - lanterns illuminating the inner scape

F.  Feminine - regarding the association of intuition to feminine consciousness

I would welcome any suggestions, corrections, additions and reading suggestions for the benefit of my or anyone's further systematic study.


I'm strongly intuitive myself.  Skimming through some tables of content in various books on intuition, I've found that they all center around the idea of unconscious knowing.  I've tried my intuition against predicting the future, shaping my own development, guessing at the truth.  I use it a lot when playing chess or technical problem solving.  If I have a complex problem I just kind of think of the various aspects of it and the answers gradually fall out. 

Much of what I gleaned on books on intuition speak of intuition as associated with a skill.  Other books focus on creativity, insight and even psychic abilities.  I can see the following types of intuition fall out from these distinctions:
Skill-based intuition: the unconscious knowledge that comes from experience and practice of a skill
Creative intuition: the ability to invoke creative responses to focused or unfocused problems or desires for self-expression
Objective intuition: the ability to access otherwise unaccessible levels of reality via unconscious knowing.

Another angle on intuition I am developing is how it acts in contrast to its "soul-sibling" function sensation.  Sensation has conscious qualities, known philosophically as qualia, which are readily apparent.  The color red is a qualia, the feeling of pain is a qualia, etc...  The idea of qualia is controversial in philosophical circles.  What the idea and experience of qualia represent to many are the strongest (intuitive?) sense that consciousness exists and is not a hallucination or epiphenomenon.  Somehow "red" is an undeniable experience of being conscious.  These seemingly self-evident "units of conscious experience" are close in kin to the "I think; therefore, I am" insight.  "I see red; therefore, I am conscious" might be the equivalent.

One thing about intuition is that archetypes seem to be the closest kin to qualia for intuition.  We can experience an archetype without really knowing it, however.  So these so-called "units of conscious experience" for intuition are archetypal, which at their root are unconscious.  Intuitions clothe themselves in mystery to the extent that they are open to the input of the unconscious.  This makes for an odd way of knowing the world when your palette of colors (the array of qualia) is unconscious!  Both intuitives and those who know them have an understandably uphill battle for not only justifying their mysterious insights but understanding their value.  Also, intuitions get undervalued because they lend themselves to being invested with content that the ego or persona or one's social circles would have you edify or reject. 

These aspects of intuition, if correct, would help explain why intuition is such the underdog (a theme in self-help oriented books).  It also characterizes the value of Jung's work in that he revealed the inner landscape of the mind in a way that gives the mysterious intuition a more level playing field.  The reality of the psyche is important to understanding the value of intuition and that intuition is an awareness of things that are as dramatically important as the sensory impressions you get from the outer world.

In enantiodromatic fashion I can see the qualia of sensation as stark intuitions or primary archetypes of our more graded and shaded experience of the senses.  Alternately, when most in connection with archetypal knowledge, what happens?  We get an image! a complex blending of real world sensory qualities organized in a deeply mysterious and unconscious manner.


I've expanded my initial list of clarifying concepts that may need to be addressed to better understand intuition...
1. direct cognition (like sensation)
2. paradox: perception of unconscious contents
3. different than memory
4. different than knowledge made unconscious by habituation
5. not rational or consciously constructed knowledge
6. not simple abstraction (concrete intuition?)

My best definition for intuition at this point is "A perception of the inner landscape, or a perception of the world as something that we already know.  Intuitive knowledge is truth that we are given when we are given a mind to use, a brain to do the physical work of knowing and a body to encounter and express that knowledge with." 

Baynes.........."so it is with intuition, which is by no means a mere perception, or awareness, but an active, creative process that builds into the object just as much as it takes out".......

I think that intuition is "merely" a type of perception and that sensation just as much is "an active, creative process that builds into the object just as much as it takes out".  Understanding how color is created by the brain out of the otherwise continuous (no color boundaries) spectrum of electromagnetic wavelengths that our eyes are sensative to, you can see how our brains create the world that they are viewing.  Perhaps, it is just that intuition shows up this aspect of perception in a way that sensation apparently doesn't. 

Another consideration with intuition it seems is that it often gets especially associated with the spiritual.  If the archetypes are the "qualia" of intuition, then this would be less surprising.  However, the knowledge that intuition addresses archetypes could not be determined by intuition alone, but rather as a result of a social way of knowing that makes judgements, defines terms and preserves/compares experiences.  As a self-confirmed INTJ, I think that it may be time to try and bring more "daylight" to this mysterious function of consciousness.  In fact, this effort may be a true calling for me.  I'm in the midst of a dream series (see Dreams: Bump on my head) that may help me attempt to do this.