Not the grand end-all
Its accuracy
Its value
Why do we still believe this about intuition?
The proper way to use intuition
Conclusing remarks

Apply intelligence to intuition and you'll have a potent force.

                                                  The BuddhaKahuna

"It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover."

                                                 ~Jules Henri Poincaré (1854 – 1912)

"Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition."

                                                - Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast And Slow


Is intuition magical? 

It would seem that many people want to believe it is.

Somehow, through intuition the answer will come from the "higher source". 

Well, it isn't a higher source, but it is useful.

Read the following discussion (also in a Word document, Intuition) and see what you think.


The mind functions to match stored data with current occurrences in order to decide what to do.   When it is missing data, it fills in the gap with something that looks to be logical, but to the extent that it does that it exposes itself to being not valid - and therefore not something to rely on. 

In deciding what to do, it does "affective predictions of the future", as it desires to have good results.  This is called intuition.  Predicting emotions is an important component of decision making.

Affective means "emotional".  The brain predicts  the results "out there" and the actuall results inside oneself, a measure component being what emotion will result.  It wants a positive emotion, as that is a good indicator of survival value.

If someone "just can't do it and I don't know why", that is simply intuition predicting a bad emotional result.  

How we feel about an outcome may override purely cognitive rationales, but that makes cognitive sense - as the resulting emotion is what the mind is looking for.


Although this may sound heretical, I believe it is important to note that intuition is not the accurate end-all and be-all that some people seem to portray it as, almost as if it were "magical".  It can actually be inaccurate and just plain wrong.

But all this is not to say that intuition is not extremely valuable.  It is valuable and it should definitely be paid attention to!


However, since intuition is a kind of “hunch” (guess, vague feeling, etc.) about something it lies in the same domain of accuracy as does perception.  Perception is not reality, since it involves a filter and a limited seeing – and it gets less and less accurate as it leaves the physical domain (I see a chair) and goes to the less tangible (I see that the person is being harsh). 

In the former case, the chair is usually accurately perceived and therefore is very perceivable and the perception of a chair being there is almost always factual, in correspondence with the truth. 

However, the perception of a person being harsh is prone to many inaccuracies and is often not “truth”.  Truth is only that which is verifiable and indisputable, so whether you are really, really sure that your assumption and perception is correct or not is actually irrelevant to whether it is the truth – it may just be an ego thing, a misplaced confidence, etc.  The truth might be more like:  this person’s voice sounds a bit tense (which is also a judgment, but perhaps close to the truth) and I interpret that to mean the person is being harsh, especially since his face looks flushed (closer to being observable, but the cause is not observable), which is a condition I associate with tension or anger.  But, in fact, the truth is not known here!

In the same way, intuition is an interpretation of the truth and is not “the Truth.” 

The message comes to one from somewhere in the head.  Let’s say the message is “my boyfriend may not be trustworthy” (but he hasn’t done anything concrete to prove it).  Some people would interpret that as a message from the Higher Self and therefore being accurate and the Truth.  However, the message could be from the fear response – “I don’t trust men so there must be something untrustworthy about him and I am on guard against that.”

So, the point here is that intuition is not necessarily accurate or valid. 


AND intuition is extremely valuable as something to listen to as a possible indicator of something to look at further, to straighten out in one’s mind.  At the least, in the above case, it could be a signal to look at one’s monkey mind and its conversation around fears.  At the most, it is a unique capability of the brain to put together and synthesize a number of factors to make a giant leap toward a possible realization.  Because of this, it is a vastly important tool.  But I believe you should be cautious about accepting it as the truth, accept it as a signal and something to look at, and if it is accurate it will be able to stand the light of examination in a complete and rational manner.


If this discussion rubs you the wrong way, you might wish to look at the vested interests in your beliefs about this that causes you to want to protect or to have a fear reaction.  If this is considered to be any more than a neutral, questioning discussion, then that is a sure signal that there is an emotional “charge” connected to it and that the “charge” may be something to look at.


The proper way to use intuition, therefore, is:

1.Pay attention to it!
2.Right down what it is
3.Look at each element and ask if it is verifiable
4.Verify each element, making sure it holds together logically, possibly using
         another person (who is logical) as a third party checking mechanism.
5.Then in making your decision consider how much has not been verified
        and use that as a caution about how accurate the intuition is.
6.Decide the action to take.

This is similar to the very basic practice of:

1.Look (To see if something is there)
2.See (Make sure that all is revealed and seen)
3.Tell the truth (What about it is really true [verifiable, indisputable] and not
4.Take action (Decide what to do and do it; without this step there is no
        point in the exercise.


So, go ahead and use it and value it and pay attention to it, but utilize it fully but appropriately, as specified above.

I recommend that you understand The Structure Of The Brain, and see where intuition fits in.

Inner Wisdom - Useful But Not Really So Wise - Look at this based on the reality of it, not the myth or magic attributed to it.

The Structure Of The Brain  

Once you know how the brain works, you will no longer "believe in" intuition as a mysterious, accurate source.  An interesting discussion in
The Believing Brain - Don't be fooled!  (See the book also.)

Cognitive Dissonance - What "feels" right isn't necessarily right and is often quite distorted!

Perception Does Not Equal Reality - Essential Lesson #1

My Emotional Thinking/Reasoning Tells Me What Is Right - Wanna Bet? -  You can't reliabily come to smart decisions without smart thinking.

Possibly of interest, too

Email To Alex On Wisdom 
Not Depending On Outside
Thinking Contents, Links - Learn these and then you'll be operating at a far more workable level in life.