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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 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 :)

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