Episode 128: Intuition: Non-Rational Knowing
We all have intuitive experiences, from an occasional hunch to powerful gut feelings. Unconscious intelligence is a storehouse of instincts and wisdoms humankind has accumulated over millennia. We would be lost without intuition and give importance to warnings and inspirations that saved or made the day.
We are also skeptical of intuition, which tends to become infused with emotion, superstition, and cultural bias. Altogether, intuition is about the future, from promising possibilities to potential pitfalls. To apply inner perception in meaningful ways we need to balance it with conscious considerations around values, objective assessment, and meaningful action. Intuition can then provide a glimpse of a higher level of reality that can anchor us to purpose.
I walk outside of my front door and notice a storm is brewing in the grey sky. The wind feels like it could pick me up and take me, but I remain steady and fixated on the intensity and beauty of the sunset. I walk several feet and stand on top of a flowerbed I’ve been building.
I can somehow see all the way down the valley. I instantly hear a loud humming noise coming toward me and when I look up, I notice a giant swarm of bees - they stop and hover above me. They drop, as a whole, to just above my head and then lift up again. I am aware it is scary, but I don’t feel scared. They do it a second time and I lie down in the dirt, gazing up at them.
I’m surprisingly calm. Then when they lift again, suddenly a giant bird (an eagle ??!!) lands just above my head and starts pecking at the ground. The bees drop, almost suffocating me in this space with the eagle violently pecking around my face. I remain frozen and in awe. Then the bees fly away and then the eagle.
Jonathan Haidt. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion (Amazon).
Malcolm Gladwell: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Amazon)