On the Respective Roles of Intuition and Reason

in life •  5 months ago

I’ve been having interesting conversations with friends lately on the respective role and value of intuition versus reason. Here is a link to an interesting and well-written article on point: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180525-should-you-trust-your-gut-feelings?ocid=global_future_rss

Many perceive me as being highly rational and discounting the role of feelings or gut hunches. This actually isn’t the case. Most of the great decisions in my life (marrying Cindy, adopting Clara, starting various businesses, purchasing bitcoin early, moving to Puerto Rico, etc.), and even many of my day-to-day decisions, are very much gut-based. I’m an Enneagram Type 8, after all, which is well-known for acting upon intuition and instinct.

To me, and as explained in this article, intuition and gut hunches are simply urges that we experience for reasons that we can’t explain. And the reason we can’t explain them is that they arise from information being processed in the more ancient, primitive and unconscious parts of our brains.

We know that our brains process TONS of information every second outside of our field of consciousness. Conscious rational processing is therefore only a small part of our overall information processing capabilities.

This is very evident when it comes to interpreting body language, for example. When we engage with another human, we immediately and unconsciously develop opinions or feelings about their motives, their trustworthiness, their reliability, their amiability, etc. based upon, for example, our unconscious processing of their body language. For instance, shifty eyes may inform us (at an unconscious and almost instinctual level) that they are nervous or untrustworthy, though we never (or rarely) actually consciously think to ourselves “I just saw his eyes shift, so he must be nervous!”. No, the processing of body language generally happens outside of our direct consciousness and manifests in our bodies/minds as an urge, a feeling, an instinct or heart-felt conclusion. Because we are not consciously aware of the information upon which that conclusion is based, intuition can seem almost like magical knowing at times.

But intuition is not foolproof, and this is where I push back on some of my more mystically inclined friends. It’s not foolproof because the information that is unconsciously processed isn’t necessarily processed accurately or reliably. Instead, it’s filtered through a whole host of similarly unconscious beliefs, opinions and attitudes that MAY be accurate but also MAY instead be anchored in mislearning, misunderstanding or well-known and well-documented cognitive biases.

For instance, suppose that my father often got drunk and beat me on weekends (he didn’t, but just suppose he did), and that he often wore his favorite red shirt when doing so. If it happens enough, my unconscious may be conditioned from that experience to believe that men can’t be trusted. Or that people in red shirts can’t be trusted. Or that men in red shirts can’t be trusted. Or that people can’t be trusted on weekends. Or that anyone who drinks can’t be trusted. Or some combination of those things. If you ask my conscious self whether I actually believe any of those things, it would of course deny it. But that doesn’t change the fact that I FEEL or intuit something disconcerting whenever I’m around men, or men in red shirts, or people who drink, etc. Ask me WHY I feel that anxiety and I’d be at a loss to explain it, but it’s nonetheless very real and very impactful.

Another example: Humans have multiple well-documented and well-described cognitive biases. One of those is towards tribalism. At an unconscious, almost instinctual level (and whether the result of genetics, early conditioning or both), humans of all cultures and at all known times have been generally suspicious of “others”—people who look different, dress differently, have different customs, etc. This unconscious skepticism can manifest as overt racism or some other -ism, but more often it lurks completely unrecognized in our unconscious where it insidiously influences our lives by influencing our hunches.

We know that the information processed by our unconscious minds is often filtered through one or more of these hidden screens our biases, many of which are simply inaccurate in a given situation. As a result, that unconscious “hunch” or intuition that we may have about that stranger we pass on the street may well be highly inaccurate. Or, it might not be. How are we to know?

This is where reason comes into play. Given the nature of intuition (the processing of information outside of our field of conscious that manifest as a feeling, hunch, urge or conclusion), we’d be insane to ignore it. After all, intuition is in fact based upon information that is known to some part of us but that simply lies outside of our ability to consciously process it. Automatically dismissing or discounting that information seems unwise.

At the same time, it’s also unwise to just automatically accept that feeling, hunch, urge or conclusion as “true.” After all, it was almost certainly filtered through an untold number of unconscious biases, paradigms and beliefs that may well be completely inaccurate, therefore leading to an inaccurate hunch. So, what do we do?

The process of “waking up” is one of realizing just how much our lives are ruled by these unconscious screens, and then working to bring the existence and nature of such screens into consciousness where they can be observed and analyzed (using reason) for accuracy and worthiness. Accurate ones should be retained, but inaccurate ones must be discarded.

Unfortunately, discarding an inaccurate unconscious screen isn’t as easy as it sounds. Such screen ultimately became anchored in our unconscious because of some highly emotional event, or likely a series of them. It will almost certainly take a series of similarly highly emotional but contradictory events to cancel out or “overwrite” the old programming.

Simply understanding intellectually and rationally that a screen is invalid won’t likely deprive it of its power. Only sufficiently strong and sufficiently repeated counter-emotions can do that. We begin to “wake up” when we can consciously recreate emotional counter-experiences in our lives that are designed to cancel out and overwrite inaccurate and unreliable screens that become anchored in our unconscious minds without our consent or assent.

As C. G. Jung once said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Only once we have sufficiently “purified” the unconscious mind of inaccurate and misleading screens can we unquestionably rely on our intuition or “hunches”. And once that’s done, intuition may well become the dominant and most reliable form of knowing (because more information can always be processed unconsciously than consciously). Until then, these hunches alert us to the existence of such unconscious screens and afford us an opportunity to bring them to light where their usefulness and reliability can be analyzed by the intellect.

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When i have read your writing i saw the "Enneagram" and i googled it a little bit...So i found a test.I will do it at the first time. Anyway we are creatures which are living the moment but often think about the past and the future. Here is the important question is that: Is it important for me that i am doing intantly or is it important for me that the profit of the path which i will take.So instiinct is important but without chance instict is nothing. So the rational solution of this situtation is ,of course in my opinion , making plan for the future because of the benefits and sometimes believing our instinct.But not too important issues. Because important issues are things that are considered carefully. So there is a fate but at least i try to control it a little bit.Of course not totally.Actually it is important thing to control the fate totally...

Thank you for sharing and have a nice day my friend...

Always follow your gut feeling

intuition sometimes comes suddenly, but intuition can create a perspective to interpret an object. I've been writing often with intuition

Intuition is definitely not foolproof. But I also agree that intuition is a culmination of a our senses, knowledge, experiences that sometimes come into play at superhuman speeds and might point the way in the right direction.

It can sometimes be the support to our logic or it can work against our logical mind. What I can most certainly agree on is that some people have a better hold over it than others. It makes me a little bit jealous :-)

Excellent post sir

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

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Wow!

"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

The above quote just made my day sir @Sean-king. You keep me motivated daily with your posts. Thank you very much.

The post below is a cake exhibition that took place in my City. The various tapes of cakes will blow your mind sir.
Thank you sir

https://steemit.com/food/@ambdavid/into-the-world-of-cake-exhibitions-and-confectionery
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snake cake

Keep doing the best even if others do not like you, but you're still the best @sean-king :)

The best would be to find a balance between intuition and reason that allow us to have the best results in our decisions, although finding that sweet spot will take anyone several years, but eventually it would be worth it.

I believe in intuition and in ways to inexplicable access knowledge or at least, hints.

When I was little I experienced 2 premonitions while sleeping, and even to this day I cannot explain how I was able to see an even that happened in the future? I understand some people don't believe in premonition, but I do, and even though the supernatural has always been kinda of interesting for me, I don't believe in most of those things. But in premonitions I certainly do believe in because it happened to me.

Intuition and premonition might be a little bit related. Do you believe in premonitions @sean-king?

The subconscious mind has incredible powers that can be exploited for various purposes. "In the subconscious mind lies the infinite wisdom, the infinite power, and the infinite supply of all needs, which await is developed and expressed."
Between the two spheres of thought had a close connection. The conscious mind gives the command, whether consciously or not, to the subconscious mind. When one thinks, "I can attain that," it means the mind is commanded to the subconscious mind. Similarly, when one thinks, "Ah, I can not possibly," meaning instruction to the subconscious mind to carry it out. And by the time the instruction comes, the thought that consciously goes straight to work without needing to prove it, and without knowing time, even when we are sleeping soundly.
When we think positively, the subconscious mind reacts immediately to carry out the positive idea. For example, when someone thinks about peace, happiness, health and wealth. then the subconscious accepts the idea and works to make it happen. Conversely, when a person thinks negatively like helplessness, inability to do something, then the subconscious mind is working to realize the idea or negative impression.

the hunch most times pay off.. Maybe there is a supernatural power involved in some of the hunch

To live each moment with a joy means that you are capable to rule the hell XD

Well, this topic is central to my lifestyle. I will make the following comments:

"But intuition is not foolproof, and this is where I push back on some of my more mystically inclined friends. It’s not foolproof because the information that is unconsciously processed isn’t necessarily processed accurately or reliably. Instead, it’s filtered through a whole host of similarly unconscious beliefs, opinions and attitudes that MAY be accurate but also MAY instead be anchored in mislearning, misunderstanding or well-known and well-documented cognitive biases."

These are extremely important variables Intuitives actively work on themselves to discern. It work and practice to be good at it If you find yourself enjoying the fruits of that labor you are on the right track. If not, revisit your strategy.

"We know that the information processed by our unconscious minds is often filtered through one or more of these hidden screens our biases, many of which are simply inaccurate in a given situation. As a result, that unconscious “hunch” or intuition that we may have about that stranger we pass on the street may well be highly inaccurate. Or, it might not be. How are we to know?"

Independent confirmation via a skilled Oracle.

One of the best ways to develop your intuition is under the guidance of an Oracle who will do readings/help you interpret your own as you work your own projects, personal or work related. I spent $XX,XXX on Tarot readings (from @whiteheart) over the years to get to where I am at. And now, I have just staked my claim on the internet via SteemIt a few months ago as an Oracle. So I have 'grown up'.

I have a science background and worked like a Science Monk ... now I am a roaming Wild Woman with a laptop doing independent scientific research on the science of the soul privately tutoring people on their journey through infinity.

Now I need to find the right Grotto to live in. If you see in Puerto Rico, please post photos.

Really amazing article, very well written and about a very important subject. I’ve been trying to learn to tell the difference between the different impulses being sent my way, trying to read the right course of action between the lines. Intuition has always been the main force behind my ART.

I have realised the we all get programmed in a certain type of way and it seems like we all have our personal Karma and Dharma.

It seems like we all receive our own personal blue-print to dicover the world with. I think we all get exactly what we need, even-though more often than not, we don’t realise that’s also actually what we want. It’s a fine balance of body and spirit, or consciousness vs sub-consciousness.

There tends to be a guiding line, that one has the choice to follow. It seems like it leads to the fulfillment of one’s dreams, through an arduous journey of self belief. Either way, I love your article, I think you have found a great balance that helps you see the light... Godspeed!

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