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Can we train our intuition to be more effective at solving problems?

Seventeen years ago I wrote an article called, "Communal Blind Spot Theory". In that article it was my experience that in every discipline I have studied there are collective oversights i.e. communal blind spots.

Think of an individual blind spot as you not seeing a glass of water on the kitchen counter in plain sight. Now imagine 1000 people going into the kitchen not seeing that glass of water on the counter.

Can we train our intuition to see through those blind spots?

We speak of a woman's intuitiion. What do we mean? Do we mean a woman feeling uneasy about entering an elevator with a single man inside? Do we mean a brilliant research scientist who has a strong "gut" reaction about one aspect of her studies? Clearly these are two entirely different aspects of a "woman's intuition".

Here is a cook book recipe to use intuition as a research tool. It is argued here that an intuitive view of reality is every bit as valid as a logical and factual view of reality. Thus it is only when my intuition agrees with the facts and logic that I view this as useful knowledge.

Here is how it works in practice. Suppose I have a strong gut reaction that a particular enzyme impacts on a specific gene and this results in an elevated rate of breast cancer. I test this hypothesis and get a null result but my gut tells me that the results are not consistent with my intuition.

Do I walk away from my intuition? According to my theories, no. You run the experiment weeks or months later to try to confirm the earlier results. If you get a null result, then you walk away for another few months. Next time you tweak the experiment say changing the temperature or PH slightly and run the experiment again. If you get a null result yet your intuition remains fixed, you tweak the experiment again.

Clearly this is not possible in the real world; if you were to run the same experiments again and again with null results you won't get funding, but it is critical to finding paradigm shifts.

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    Nov 18 2012: Definitely so. The reason we have blind spots is because "we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are". We don't see what is, we see what we expect. Dan Dennett made this point in his talk


    Note how it takes 6 seconds to notice that an airplane in the picture is missing an engine (!).

    To get rid of the blind spots, we need to "unlearn what we have learned" as Yoda puts it. Take off the glasses of our expectations and open our eyes to reality. "All we know is just another brick in the wall."
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    Dec 2 2012: Ok so, I had a stroke of brilliance one day. And it stemmed from deja vu. Deja vu, literally means, i have seen this before. ANd the scary thing about this one was, that i remember asking a question, "Can we see the future?" and "does our conscience "time travel" when we dream?" I told myself to remember my dream, the same night i asked the question. I did remember it, but when I did, I thought that there was no way that it would actually happen. So when I had that deja vu, as it was happening, i was remembering purposely blowing it off. Usually, when you have deja vu, it's just a "have i dreamed this?" type thing. But that time, I knew, beyond a doubt, that I had.
    After that, I went farther. I said, well, yes. your mind does "time travel" when you dream, because what is deja vu if not a dream or day-dream? And I put time travel in quotation marks because time itself is only relative to our physical bodies. Because if you are any type of creationist, you would know that there is no time, only eternity. So time is not linear. We only think it is... so..how this happens? deja vu? intuition? I don't know. But once we let go of our idea of "time" maybe we'll find out. :)
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      Dec 3 2012: "i remember asking a question, "Can we see the future?" and "does our conscience "time travel" when we dream?""

      When we talk again, and in private, I'll tell you how this is done, and how you, too, and do it, but with a caveat, that you share the method judiciously, and with circumspect.
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    Dec 9 2012: I study mathematics and in my case, train intuition means a lot of exercise. I personally think it's necessary to find new ways to solve different problems, but it generally can't solve them. This depends on the problem.
    • Dec 11 2012: I like the idea of "exercising" your intuition. Like any kind of exercise the more you do it the better you get! Mathematics, though, is one of the most highly developed logical enterprises and for intuition to play a role, you must go through a lot of logical gyrations before your intuition kicks in. Truly innovative mathematics, though, is often highly intuitive, but so is good law---which is also factually and logically based. However, the foundation of our laws in the Constitution was largely intuitive.

      Our "Founding Fathers" were so thoroughly versed in all aspects of our civilization that their intuition was second nature and appeared to them as wisdom.
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    Dec 2 2012: Richard, Prior to reading the replies I will make a reply. As an engineer I have no problem with intuition. However, we should use our education to acknowledge when we are chasing a red herring. To remain focused on the task at hand is great ... but your documentation should be reviewed with a open mind. We have all went down this road but a review by our lead or a fellow researcher should put us back on track.

    My good friend is somewhat a "cat". She has a gut feeling about every thing. When events play out she can turn the results into a 'I told you so" moment. A mutual friend liked the bar and she predicted that drinking would kill him. He was in a accident when a car ran a red light and hit his car ... the driver had been drinking. She said 'I told you so" it is just a matter of time until drinking takes him. He is ok by the way.

    On the other hand, as a police officer, there are situations that make the hair stand up on your neck ... it just isn't right for some reason. I teach new officers to not ignore that feeling ... but do not go nuts with it either ... just be more aware and be ready.

    So my answer is ... I don't think we can train intuition. I think we can be aware of the "alarms" that are present but think that they should be used in perspective to the task at hand. Once you enter a rut it is hard to get out of that line of thought.

    All the best. Bob.
    • Dec 2 2012: Hi Bob!

      My dad has an expression, "You don't know how to use a tool unless you know three ways to abuse it." Your "cat" friend is abusing intuition. Your training as a police officer serves you well including not having undo reliance on intuition, but the kind of intuition I am referring to can be trained i.e. you input various aspects of reality into your subconscious and then this is reorganized when you sleep. Later this may appear as "intuition".

      I try to force new pathways in my brain by forcing myself to look at the same set of "facts" that disagree with my intuition. I do this countless times and, invariably, the "facts" change and become consistent with my intuition. As for abusing intuition---the ultimate test of reality is how our senses perceive it with the caveat that every intelligent animal has a different perception of reality. Shared reality is how science progresses.
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    Nov 30 2012: On another note, I used in the past zen meditation (studying "Koans" aka insolvable questions), with great results.
    • Dec 1 2012: From Isaac Newton's time, up until Einstein, the world was viewed as a mechanical machine where everything to be known was known, and we were just fine tuning.
      In the past 100 years we have a revolution in that the more we know the more we know we don't know. We have relativity, particles that are not particles, dark energy, dark matter, and a quantum world where reality is determined by a conscious observer.
      Science and the mystical are coming back together again. There is beginning conjecture among scientists that there is a universal conscious that is accessible thru meditation and the "Power of Thinking Without Thinking". Physicist Amit Goswami has written the book The Self-Aware Universe on this subject. Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, who went brain dead for a time and revived. tells us of a whole different unbelievable world out there beyond our conscious.
      I myself have practiced shutting off my conscious dwellings, and upon returning to conscious thinking - having "things" intuitively "pop into my head" - so yes, I think you can train your intuition as Michel and myself have discovered.
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        Dec 2 2012: ok, so.. you have no idea how interested in these things I am. I just put out a "convo" about things like this, and how science is now starting to correlate with ancient spirituality and religion. It has to be viewed by the Mods, but when it open, could you comment with what you think? Please and thank you :)
  • Nov 30 2012: Is intuition brilliance in reserve?

    Or a remnant of primitive cognition?
    • Dec 10 2012: I think that everybody has intuition occasionally, but a highly brilliant person should have most of the correct ion intuitions by analytical reasoning based on cause and effect, or probabilistic inference. let me make an physical analogy of the difference. For a really "brilliant" person, he can carefully examine everything in front of him or even in periphery under a brilliant light (I guess that's where the word brilliance come from). There are few things could escape his awareness. While most of the others "find" their intuitions under a tiny flashlight. Therefore, they frequently subject to hit-or-miss inaccuracy.
  • Nov 24 2012: I think we need first come to an agreed consensus on the definition on what intuition is. Is it an emotional thought, an intellectual thought, conscious or subconscious; is it learned or innate? Is intuition six sense? Do other animals have it or just the human species? Do every human have it, or just a few? Is a form of intuition thinking at its optimum state? I have not yet definitively defined it. I have not yet determined whether it is the culmination of all my harbored knowledge, experiences, and emotions operating in a post heighten state or it is something in the paranormal as an added gift in the gene, like artistic skills. Is intuition a formulated projection of personal knowledge or it is an external energy/force like the wind that comes at you through powers that are beyond your control? You pose methods to "train" and develop intuition; base on this effort you must have an understanding on what intuition is. I like to hear your concept.
    • Nov 24 2012: Intuition to me is a "knowing" without knowing how or why. A good illustration of this in chess is players have what they call the "hand". When a player is in a zone, his "hand" moves the pieces without the player actually "thinking" about his moves. When this happens to me, I go from mediocre to World Class in minutes. When this happens, I don't think, I just place my pieces and pawns on the squares where they belong.

      This is what you mean by a heightened state of awareness---in Eastern Religions this is a highly desirable state of mind.

      As far as paranormal---yes, to me it is paranormal because I have witnessed the violation of physical laws when a weak computer played beyond world class level for an entire game at blitz speed. This is no more remarkable than tuning up the engine on a VW bug and having it turn out laps of 250 mph.

      Some of intuition is learned some is innate (key social skill differences between men and women would be viewed by many post members as innate from bygone eras when we were cave men and women). The learned part is when we receive some stimulus that gets buried deep within our brains. When we dream we rearrange this material into new associations that may elude us during waking hours. So some intuition clearly is based on experience and is not innate.

      Some intuition if we try to pin it down merges with logic i.e. we can deduce a logical train of thought that starts out as an intuitive insight. Where intuition has received a negative connotation is when it is linked with emotion. While many emotional states may be intuitive, many intuitive states are not emotional.

      "Gifts" in the genes is an interesting phrase and clearly in the field of child prodigies is well displayed. What precisely is going on in those genes is unclear. Can wisdom acquired in one generation be learned in another generation without recourse to conscious teaching?

      Probably each of us has intuition, just some people rely on it; others rely on logic.
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    Nov 23 2012: Both Iain McGilChrist and Jill Bolte Taylor describe that a thicker corpus callosum in the female brain enables the more intuitive function. http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html
    AND they state that every brain, male or female, is endowed with the same parts. So it is a matter of what part anyone chooses to use.

    Your question of how can we go about fixing our " blind spots " is an important one. Just as important as installing side and rear view mirrors on a car, it is not a luxury but a necessity :-)). Similarly we need to install " tools" in ourselves that we can use to engage both our right and left brains - by daily practice of self awareness.

    To make visible the "invisible " water glass, I offer you the following tool:

    “The ego searches the most lovely garden to find a single thorn.
    The spirit searches the most desolate desert to find a single bloom.”
  • Nov 23 2012: Hi, Richard !
    Thank you for your response in another conversation, i came to the page too late, the conversation was closed.
    What you said proves that by science we are modeling reality and scientific models are only as good as it needs them to be. In XX th century it has been understood that all knowledge is depending upon the question asked.
    Maybe QM is much more accurate description of reality. David Bohm said that QM is interested in the Whole, it is an 'object' of study, while 'parts' are the result of analysis. Totally different from Newtonian physics ! Which is in the context of QM is considered to be a 'limiting case'.

    Btw. What do you think Hawking's answer could be ?
    Thanks !
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    Nov 21 2012: I believe that we can train our attitude which develops a certain behaviour pattern than helps us approac problems more intutively. But this approach stems from develpoing our fundamental attitude where we approach problems as a personal opportunity to develop our own individual solution. This attitude helps is develop cognative skill ssets that makes us more intutive in behaviours towards problems and develpoing solutions.
  • Nov 18 2012: I don't think we need to train our intuition.
    We need to train ourselves into listening to it, hearing/feeling/sensing it, and then acting on it.
    The moment one slips into their thinking they have lost contact with it and the essence of who they are.
    They have 'fallen'.
    The moment they "drop" into their intuition and act upon it is the "Moment of Ascension" of the human spirit/psyche or whatever the hell it/we are.
    I believe many don't trust or use their intuition mainly from being taught not to!
    This is horrendous for several reasons. One, all the answers are in each person. All knowledge of all things is in each one of us and the key is only to remember. I personally have experienced this throughout my life.
    Two, when we are born, we are at one with our senses but we lack experience in order to learn how to hear/feel/sense/trust and act upon them. That is what they are for. Our connection back to them, or their speaking to us, is our intuition.
    When children are lied to in their early years I believe this causes a split in their psyche because though on some level, they "sense and know" something is not right, they go along because some messed up adult is telling them it is okay. A lie, so they "split" and begin not trusting themselves because our senses are so close and important to us, that we now begin not trusting ourselves. Thus, we sense the right move, the right idea, the thing to do, or say or how to respond to whatever is going on, and in that split second, we move into our thinking and then we have doubt about what we just "knew".
    This beginning is the beginning of mental illness in the human, first as children.
    An animal that cannot trust its own instincts (intuition), will perish quickly by the action of a predator.
    A human that cannot or does not trust its own instincts, will go insane.
    Mental illness in America is now beginning at age 11. Half the population is mentally ill and it is spreading.
    Brainwashing is lying to people over and over again.
    • Nov 18 2012: I think we can train our intuition (at least this seems to be the case from personal experience) to be a more effective tool for research in science and chess.

      Through the advances in science logic and reason have risen to the fore; we have lost sight of the fact that the "best" science makes sense to our intuition. Take geology for example. Plate tectonics has told us of the incremental changes in the planet i.e. that catastrophism plays a minimal role. Now we know that asteroid impact and massive volcanism can change the planet abruptly so the simple model of incremental change has to be modified to fit the data.

      Our intuition about the planet is useful in broad terms but fails to address the fundamental fact that efficiency is best accomplished through episodicity. This is what my intuition tells me i.e. that the planet is an engine designed to reject heat and that episodicity is the best way to accomplish this which is largely intuitive on my part but runs counter to the prevailing model of plate tectonics. Whether or not this gains general acceptance remains to be seen.

      As far as the lying creating a split in our pysche is an interesting idea and I fully agree with you that we need to listen to our intuition more and rely on the absolutism of logic and reason less.
  • Nov 18 2012: Our brain is a super computer, which is always on and active and keep researching. In fact every human being is a researcher. And so are women . Women too are researchers

    Once they have a cursory glance at the stranger they get the vibes and can sense that what type of person he or she may be or is.

    The answer lies in their nature of easily mixing and mingling with others. They can build relationships easily, or you can say they have good networking skills.

    To establish the relationship between the networking skills and intuition, let us travel back in time and go back to the beginning of the civilization when the human life started its journey on this planet earth.

    In the good old times when people used to live in caves, during those days men used to go out to hunt for food. While they were busy in their business of hunting animals , back home the women looked after the kids . In their spare times when they would have freed themselves from looking after the kids , women used to interact and communicate with their neighbors. This way they had a good interaction with the other people including grown up kids of others.

    This direct interaction with others fed their brains with loads of information about each individual in detail. And their brain did the processing of the information at a lightening speed.

    In fact their brain helped them discover and develop new knowledge, which further helped them to develop and boost their intuitive power.

    Now, whenever they came across any stranger, their highly developed intuitive power helped them receive vibes about the stranger being interacted. This whole process helped them to sense the nature of the stranger.

    In the modern age too, women can mix and mingle with others easily. Their nature of easy interaction with others and the relationship building process is evident in their behavior. This is as valid as This is as valid as it was in the ancient times.

    more details visit santokhsaggu@blogspot.in
    • Nov 18 2012: Social skills developed out of necessity but, as I indicated, women also have more than just intuition in social skills e.g. many female scientists have a strong intutive feel for their research---just as many men do as well.

      What is unclear is just what role socialization took in taking mates. Was there a dominant male such as occurs in certain primates like gorillas or was there pair bonding i.e. couples as opposed to a tribe?

      It will be interesting to see if the 20 female Senators we elected can work together!
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    Nov 15 2012: Hello Richard:>)
    I believe all of us, as humans, have the intuition/instinct feature naturally, so I do not believe there is "training" needed to use it. I believe we need to recognize it, be aware of it, appreciate and listen to the intuition/instinct. You speak of "women's intuition", and in my perception, women have been taught to be more open to intuition....it seems more acceptable for women to use the intuition/instinct.

    You speak of the "blind spot"...could it be that some people are not aware of the benefits and power of intuition/instinct simply because they are not open to it? We've seen extended conversations here on TED about whether to use intuition OR logic. My perception, is that we have the ability to use both together when/if we are open to that possibility.

    Regarding intuition and science...it is as you insightfuylly suggest... scientists do experiments over and over and over again...refining and tweaking them each time. I suspect that many of them have a "feeling" (intuition/instinct) that they are onto something, and they continue with the logical, reasonable process which may produce proven results.

    I think/feel that it is VERY logical to use every possible resource for information, so my intuition/instinct/logic/reason are always working together, and I am aware of that process. I wholeheartedly agree with your statement...""Thus it is only when my intuition agrees with the facts and logic that I view this as useful knowledge." I don't agree with your statement that funding is not available to those "tweaking" their experiments. After all, if they are changing something each time around to refine the exploration, it is NOT the same experiment anymore.....is it?
    • Nov 15 2012: In many cases in chess it is the same move sequence over and over. An interesting experiment I was involved with in college was to listen to two nonsense syllables repeated over and over several times/sec. My job was to indicate when they changed; after about a minute I noticed subtle changes and dutifully reported them. At the end of the experiment I was told that none of the sounds had changed, just that my mind got "bored" and made up its own sounds!

      What I do with intuition is what Einstein defined as insanity and I can document leads to paradigm shifts i.e. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." I DO get different results with intuition iteration. Here are the steps:

      1)Get a gut reaction,
      2)Introduce the facts and logic,
      3)Compare and contrast your intuition to the facts and logic,
      4)Try to reconcile them,
      5)If they cannot be reconciled, throw out the your intuition, the facts and logic and go back to step one i.e.
      6)Get a gut reaction.

      Invariably my intuition remains fixed and the "facts" and logic change.

      I regard this as a kind of self-brainwashing!

      In chess I've had to iterate as many as 2000 times sometimes over the span of years to get at the truth; in science it is much easier.

      In geology all you have to know is that the earth is an engine designed to reject heat. It optimizes this by the transferral of dense material towards the core and the displacement upwards of less dense material. When you add this to the efficiency of the earth over long periods of time, you get all you need to know to understand plate tectonics.
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        Nov 16 2012: Richard,
        Is your method and process "brainwashing", as you say? Or is it discovery? Looks like discovery to me:>)

        It appears that you are more science based (left brain?), and I am more right brain dominant, so our "method" looks a little different. I come up with an idea....visualize.....imagine....and usually jump into it. I then use the mind/logic/reason, to figure out how to make the vision a reality. I address the facts, logic, challenges and/or change as I bump into them on the path to creating the vision. I don't ever"throw out the intuition" because for me, that is the dominant or driving force (right brain dominant!).

        We are all different as individuals, which is why I don't think we "train" intuition, but rather, recognize and use it as we are capable of doing.....what do you think?
        • Nov 16 2012: Hi Colleen!

          Probably we all use intuiiton a little differently. Benoit Mandlebrot, the founder of chaos theory in Gleick' book on chaos said that he used to "construct" his intuition with the "usual tools, the hand, the pencil and the ruler."
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        Nov 16 2012: Hi Richard,
        I don't understand this...."construct his intuition with the usual tools, the hand, the pencil and the ruler". Is he saying that there is no such thing as intuition....or suggesting something different?
        • Nov 16 2012: Hi Colleen,

          When I read that I thought it was bizarre! It seems to me that what he is referring to sounds a lot more like logic---his is a totally different take on "intuition".
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          Nov 16 2012: As we are talking here about a mathematician, I have a good guess, I think. Intuition comes from experience, and intuition in mathematics comes from experience with mathematical "objects." In geometry, of which fractals are a part, the tools that facilitate such experience are the tools of geometric construction- the hand, the pencil, and the straight-edge.

          When Einstein talked about intuition, he meant the sort that comes from experience manipulating objects as well, but his objects were more abstract, so his practice in manipulation was with "thought experiments."
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    Gail .

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    Nov 14 2012: Dr. Berne (Psychology Professor Emeritus at Cornell) had a paper published last year. He showed that people are psychic, but generally ignore their psychic impulses.

    In one study, he had volunteers look at random photos on a monitor while they were wired up to an EEG machine. After a few photos were shown, the study proved that people knew when a bad picture was going to be shown next, even if they were not aware of that knowledge.

    He also did a study where he changed the typical order of events. He had the computer offer a random set of words. He tested the volunteer's memory of those words. Lastly, the computer offered the volunteers some of the words on their tests to practice typing. It turned out that those who considered themselves "risk takers" had statistically improbable levels of remembering the words that were practiced after the test.

    As one who used to give psychic readings, I can say that most people are unaware of their innate abilities. So in this regard, yes, it's easy enough to introduce people to their ignored internal experiences.
  • Nov 13 2012: Here is a thought.

    You use the word 'train' relative to intuition? In my mind scientific intuition is sort of an extrapolation of prior knowledge, wisdom, and experience applied to the probable future occurrence of some result. Whether it is vision, foresight, or scientific intuition, it is a logical extension of your belief of eventual truth in a given circumstance. This sort of intuition is what is coveted by companies as they reward the best scientists and engineers for theoretically being able to get to a solution the the most straight (and least costly) line.

    I think that the greater the commonality between the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of all 1000 of the members of the commune, the more likely a blind spot will occur. Figure the number of Scientists and engineers that have all had basically the same training, similar textbooks, similar belief about what is right, etc. There is something to be said for the probability of serendipitous discovery of the blind spot when the commune consists of a diversified group. For example, a physician, military man, engineer, scientist, housewife, machinist, and child might all use different criteria and thought processes to attempt solutions to the same problem.

    There is not enough space to describe or discuss a woman's intuition. I would rather re-watch every political ad on TV than even try to come up with an exact definition.

    However, I think they use different criteria than scientists. They seem to form opinions based on mannerisms, dress, appearance, likely motives, past experiences, gossip, a sense of fear or comfort in a situation, natural skepticism, all relative to past human interactions. Somehow this stuff is neatly cataloged, organized, prioritized, risk managed, valued, and at the ready for instant recall. My guess is that at least part of this conglomeration honed into a "woman's intuition".

    I think nature originally provided it because they were the weaker sex. Now, I am not so sure...
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    Nov 13 2012: The quality of intuition surely grows with experience with certain kinds of situations and problems, provided one is also open-minded in interpretating those experiences.
  • Dec 2 2012: I don't know if we can train our intuition to be more effective but we can certainly train ourselves to be more self-aware and in touch with our intuition
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    Nov 30 2012: There is an excellent book that cover this.
    Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, a 2005 book by Malcolm Gladwell

    Try to get the Executive Summary at Skillsoft Book24/7 if you have access to it.
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    Nov 29 2012: I guess developing an analytical thinking process makes one anticipate problems and over time with several expereinces one becomes perhaps "intutive".

    Many ordinary people who did extraordinary things failed several times before they eventually succeeded. A constat process of self evaluation, rational thinking, and pragmatic approach towards anything in life seems to develop a certain thought process that helps one see things differently and drives them to pursue it until they have exhausted the possibilites that they have.

    By such behaviour patterns I believe that one develops a certain level of intiution or gut feeling that often proves to be right.

    Just my personal and humble belief and opinion.
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    Nov 27 2012: You covered several facets where intuition plays a vital role. On face value and using my own experiences as my filter my bigger question was based on self trust. Exchanging the word train for exercise settled easier for me. As with everything with practice (exercise) comes confidence. Second guessing becomes suspended. The need for external validation is minimized because you have the track record of having already expressed an intuitive nature. Having been the counterintuitive in organizations which later revealed I was spot on empowered me in the next given instance to trust my intuition. Internal bedlam occurs when we are adversarial with the unctions that prompt us to get with or stay with our position independent of external opposition.
  • Nov 23 2012: Re :
    Benoit Mandlebrot, the founder of chaos theory in Gleick' book on chaos said that he used to "construct" his intuition with the "usual tools, the hand, the pencil and the ruler."
    Maybe it means, that to train/construct intuition we should be truly attentive to our experiences, whatever they are. If information is not here , it is nowhere else.
    "the hand, the pencil and the ruler" and Mandelbrot set itself embody the same principle: everything ( all things that seem unrelated ) everywhere are doing the same thing ... infinitely. Or each process of the Whole is the Whole. According to the holographic principle A is not simply connected with B , A is B.
    I hope, this makes sense .
    • Nov 23 2012: Hi Natasha!

      I don't know if I really follow you. Would you be more expansive?
      • Nov 23 2012: Frankly , i have no idea, how intuition can be trained but it works, i guess, by the virtue of the law of correspondence ; intuition is connecting the dots.
        Do you like Zen koans ? A simple story is told with simple language and someone gets enlightened in the end.
        As for the Mandelbrot set , it is a kind of Logos ( visual language ) ; no words no ambiguity here, you see how it is happening/unfolding , you get to know what quantum entanglement means, ' the center is everywhere '. All millennia of evolution behind ' the hand ' ' the pen ' and 'the ruler' come to the moment 'now' to create a line or... whatever and ' the hand, the pen, and the ruler ' alongside with all millennia behind them are doing the same thing with different means the same thing at the moment 'now'
        Sorry, i have serious doubts that it is helpful :) If something comes to my mind that can be more helpful i will come to the page.
        Actually, " one moment holds eternity " or ' to see infinity in the grain of sand " can serve as a soundtrack to M. set, it's all about the same.
        And of course , hermetic " as above so bellow ".
        • Nov 23 2012: I think I understand you---connecting the dots is my specialty i.e. seeing patterns and associations no one else sees. These are what I call communal blind spots and they are present in every discipline I've studied. How does this relate to your 'now'?
      • Nov 23 2012: Time is a 'thing' that keeps everything from happening at once and it is an illusion of the mind , not intrinsic property of the universe. So, remove Time from the picture and you'll get ' now' which is not even a moment ; eternity has no duration at all it's where time stops and all dots are connected into one. Space which is the distance between the observer and the observed is no more ; observer becomes the observed at ' now' . No wonder, you can't describe that experience, because language is Time , it is structured in 'before- after ' fashion and serves the mind which can function only in time.
        Some people can experience such moments of altered consciousness and i believe that they do, but i can't, maybe i am too grounded person and thinking addict, but some approximation is possible via intuition. All points start to converge around one point, opposites resonate and start to complement to each other , you may come up with a paradox , but you don't see it as a paradox you understand that it is the truest truth your mind can possibly get.
        " To be conscious is not to be in time " T.S. Eliot ...and not to be in mind , but at 'now' , but at now the very ' to be' doesn't make sense :)

        Richard, what is your speciality ?
        " seeing patterns and associations no one else sees." !
        • Nov 23 2012: So---if a universe comes into existence and there is no one to observe it, does it exist? Does 'now' exist for such a universe?
      • Nov 23 2012: It is not languagable; 'now ' does not exist for mind. The only way is to open your mind to the great ' who knows ? " :)

        On the second thought, " Does 'now' exist for such a universe?'
        'Yes' and 'no'
        " there is no dance, there is only the dance "
        " now' does not belong to the observable universe ( the universe as we perceive it ), and it is self evident, only ' now' is real.
        When confronted with paradox , the trick is not to push the system to closure, but leave it open. Intuitively you can feel that it is the way it is .
      • Nov 23 2012: Some of the difficulties associated with analysis of time are discussed by physicist David Bohm in his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order .
        I haven't read the book, not yet, but i will when i get it; I think, Bohm is the leading theorist on this and related topics.
  • Nov 21 2012: I went to a spiritualist who used his intuition to guide me just like a psychiatrist would, this was regarding depression. The end result of the analysis that I made regarding the healing brought about by the spiritualist and compared it to the psychiatrist was the same.

    Though there was a major difference. I had to spend less time telling my spiritual healer of my problems as he already tuned in through his intuition and also gave me the counselling I needed in half an hour, while the psychiatrist took up to two sessions to do the exact same.

    The spiritual healer did not charge me as he is not supposed to, while the psychiatrist would have charged me over the roof for her services. My point being the intuition is more powerful than we think. We need to change our systems to incorporate the intuition healers too and we might just phase out psychologists.
  • Nov 21 2012: I completely believe in the power of intuition, and am learning to trust my instincts more and more. In alot of cases I find that my brain can compute something alot faster than I can verbalise, and if something is wrong I get a "feel" that it's wrong, before being able to explain why or how.

    However, how would you compensate for any overconfidence bias?
    • Nov 24 2012: I commented that I have not yet defined what intuition is and I think once I put my finger on identifying what it is, I'll have a better understanding to guide my response to it. I think, not yet believe but close, intuition is the supreme, up to the six-sense level of *knowing*. It is not thinking faster, or computing something clearer; it is instant known. From my perspective what you're describing is the thought process: we will always compute something quicker than verbalization of our thoughts. Verbalization, in fact all expressions and actions come later behind the thought. The only things we don't think about before doing are habitual things and that's because we have learned it already and have imbedded those actions into our physical behaviors. Intuition in the truest form would also be able to prevent you from doing the wrong thing too, should it? If it is a true gift beyond the limits of our minds then it should work for everything, not just the back end, the after-knowledge; I would hesitate calling the experience you described as intuition. I am not saying you don't have intuition, just that what you describe is not it; what you stated is more a cognizant evaluation.

      There is a problem on over reliance on anything--to be human is to have faults; perfection is not in our genes. Overconfidence is in ones character, a part of ego. You have to check that on a personal note no matter what state of brain power one has. If your *feelings* are coming after the fact in situations when you are "wrong" then I wouldn't be too confident as your intuition did not correct or helped your actions to be "right" to avoid the wrong. I think in a lot of your cases what you experienced are after thoughts, computed analysis of all that transpired for evaluation. Now, if you said your intuition has helped you in making a lot of right decisions, then over reliance on that special gift might be a problem.
  • Nov 21 2012: The daily use of intuition can enrich the quality of life one lives. We tend to make better decisions, have equally good friends and do not let ourselves slip to the darker side. All this is made possible by the intuition which by the way is a characteristic of the soul. The intuition is just one aspect of the soul and so it has the ability to guide one correctly.

    In my life I have had many instances whereby my intuition guided me more correctly and accurately than my logic. I'd like to share one experience here. When I was in my teens I was playing with a friend of mine and a flash of intuition occurred to me and told me that my friend was going to get injured terribly, I chose to ignore the intuition and continued playing, and whilst playing my friend bumped in to a passerby thus injuring himself badly whereby he was taken to the first aid room.

    Similarly I also ask invisible forces to control my hands while cooking and I let them direct the movements of my hands and surprisingly I am able to make really good food, if I do not do that then my cooked food doesn't taste that good.

    At times I do not know how much salt / spice to add, and that is when I seek the help of invisible forces whereby I let them control my hand, and as we all know the end result is that there is only the right amount of salt that goes in to my food. Developing ones intuition is just one part, as we evolve we shall learn how to use the invisible forces to our advantage in our daily life, I learnt all this from Sri Aurobindo's yoga and meditation.
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    Nov 15 2012: People don't have any intuition about something / some situation to which they were never exposed with, that's what I feel.

    A lady's uneasiness entering into elevator with a man don't come from intuition actually......it's rather a fear factor that may not be the result of her real experience rather can be stories those were stored in her memory.......I shouldn't be standing on train track while train is coming that kind of decision I don't take from intution........