With a friend, I had an interesting talk recently. It was about
intuition and what it is. I bluntly admit that she’s an intuitive
person, while I don’t have this ability or, at least, did not yet
discover it. During that talk, I discovered my own current opinion
regarding intuition. It’s summarized in this thesis:

“Intuition” is a term that is applied, as an abstraction,
to all unconscious, unknown cognitive processes with surprising and
correct results.

Here are some implications and explanations of this thesis:

  • That these cognitive processes are unconscious and unknown
    implies that they are hard to perceive. That’s because they are very
    fast, so much faster than verbalized thinking. Which makes intuition a
    precious ability that shows a high level of intelligence and is
    especially valuable for coping with time-critical situations and scarce
    time ressources in daily life. Because it is fast, intuition is
    efficient.
  • Because it is unconscious and so fast, intuition is not at all
    exhausting.
  • Because intuition is based on unconscious and unknown processes,
    it is not open to conscious optimization or error correction.
  • Because these processes are (at first) unconscious and unknown,
    the process of intuition is not open to communication. Humans can
    communicate the results: they can say what they intuitively feel about
    or would do in a situation. But they cannot reveal how they arrived at
    this result, as they don’t know. And without reasons for them, people
    cannot argue about the results or try to arrive at better solutions in
    discourse. As such, intuition in all its splendor is an impediment to
    human communication.
  • Though intuition is the result of unconscious and unknown
    processes, these processes can perhaps be made conscious and be
    explored. Then, intuitive results would be open to communicate about,
    being no longer an impediment for getting to know each other better.
    According to my experience, exploring intuition is possible by close
    self-perception of one’s own cognitive processes. A good training is to
    trace the asscociative chains while they occur in ones brain. With some
    training, one is then able to assign perceived associative chains as
    reasons to “spontaneous” thoughts. And with some further training, I
    believe, one can trace other intuitive results to their roots.

Start date: 2007-12-10
Post date: 2007-12-11
Version date: 2007-12-11 (for last meaningful change)

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