Intuition vs Rational Choice

background-balance-beach-boulder-289586 Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. — Albert Einstein

Are you familiar with the feeling when something is wrong? Or when you have to make a decision; something pushes you towards one direction, but then you think twice, ponder and change your mind? Later you realise that actually the first choice was the right one. Did it ever happen to you?

The mind often deceives us because it follows patterns, laws and rules and fails to go “out of the boxes”.

Intuition, on the other hand, works in a totally different way, and is often more effective than analytical thinking! The ancient philosophers said that, and nowadays the Science is studying this concept as well.

What is the intuition? And how does it work?

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According to a study by Drexel University published in the scientific journal Thinking & Reasoning, (volume 22, 2016. Issue 4), it has been scientifically demonstrated that finding the solution to a problem relying on intuitions makes us commit fewer mistakes than a more reasoned approach.

One of the problems leading to analytical reasoning in error is TIME.

Our analysis proceeds by degrees and therefore can formulate an entire procedure on a wrong basis, because it is hasty, or because it is incomplete, which will, thus, lead to error; intuition is not influenced by “time”.

In fact, analysis is a conscious process. Still, intuition is the fruit of the unconscious mind which, as you know, often remains below the surface and does not manifest itself easily, unless it has found THE solution.

So, if the unconscious mind can’t solve a problem with its own tools, it remains on hold, and that is why it is more effective. While the conscious mind is under the influence of anxiety and leads to hastening a process that would require more time to be properly developed, the unconscious mind instead cannot do it. It either exists or it doesn’t.

Where do the intuitions come from?

The term intuition comes from the Latin word ‘intueor‘, composed of in “inside” and “to look”, that is “to look inside” and is a form of knowledge that cannot be explained by words, which is revealed by sudden flashes.

According to the Neoplatonists, the way the intuition is produced in the human mind cannot be explained rationally, since it is a transcendent knowledge that is at the origin of the same cause-effect logic, an unacknowledged but innate knowledge.

Even Aristotle placed intellectual intuition above rational deduction as it was “supra-rational faculty which has the capacity to penetrate the essence of the reality under investigation, making it pass to the act, that is, grasping its true and immutable aspect, regardless of its external and contingent particularities”.

And then also Descartes affirmed the superiority of intuition. The origin of our great understandings and those “flashes of genius”, which have literally changed the evolution of mankind, would therefore also be brought by intuition, which is something we have inside.

All we have to do now is “to look inside”, listen to our core and find out what the right choices are for us.

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Intuition is the undoubting conception of a pure and attentive mind, which arises from the light of reason alone, and is more certain than deduction. — Rene Descartes