Listening to Intuition
You may have probably felt an uneasy feeling deep within your gut when you saw someone and didn’t understand why at the time; and later, maybe the man who gave you that feeling turned out to be a criminal. How did you know that? How did you perceive it on an unconscious level and why did your body give you that warning signal? It’s all owing to your intuition.
We almost instinctively resort to our intuition during our day-to-day lives whenever there is a quick need to judge a person or assess a situation even without possessing enough information about them. For instance, we unconsciously turn to our intuition to decide whether the stranger standing right beside us is a harmless person or is someone who’s about to mug us. Some policemen with strong intuition often make use of this ability when observing suspects. Even before getting the chance to interrogate a suspect or collect adequate evidence against him, they probably already know within themselves whether that person is guilty or not.
So what is intuition and is it reliable? Intuition is basically the ability to know or understand something without the need for reasoning or evident proof. It is a belief or knowledge that is not generated as a response to something reasonable or something perceived by the physical senses. It is instinctive; something you already have inside of you. Ultimately, it describes the ability your mind has for obtaining new knowledge without needing the use of reason. Intuition can often provide us with the ability to solve problems and make sound decisions.
Intuition has been an interesting subject of study throughout the centuries, all the way from ancient philosophy to modern science. Interestingly, it has been intertwined with religion and spirituality over time, being considered as an ability that only beings with a higher evolution possess. Yet there is still a lot that we don’t know about it or how it works. Most people consider intuition as a simple process of the human mind, while others believe that it consists of glimpses of greater knowledge. For some, it is everything in-between.
Plato talked about intuition as the human capacity to reason and to comprehend reality’s true nature. This trend talks about intuition as something more complex than things we can perceive simply through our physical senses. It talks about how our mind has the ability to see past those impulses and signals, and be able to actually see the reality of things as they are instead of just as how they appear to our limited physical senses.
Freud, however, claims the opposite. He said that human knowledge can only be acquired through the intellectual manipulation of observations, carried out through the physical senses. Carl Jung said it was an abstract function found alongside the human’s judging functions: feeling and thinking. He talked about people who had a stronger intuitive side, who do not rely on their physical experience of the world as much as they do on their intuition.
However vague, inexplicable or incomprehensible the subject matter of intuition can be, it remains as one of our best decision-making assets when all else fails and we’re ultimately left with no other means to work with.