Foundations > Intuition

Small wonder that the scientist has come to hold centre stage for us, not just physically, but in our imagination. In the process, the artist, like the spiritual seeker, the peasant farmer, the craftsman, the astrologer and so many others, has become marginalised. In the public arena, we defer to the scientist as the expert, the guide, whilst the artist features essentially as an entertainer, an eccentric. This reflects our strong contemporary bias towards thought as against emotion, sensation relative to intuition, and outer at the expense of inner.

The world in general remains enthralled with what amounts to boys’ toys. The unbridled expansion of these in quantity and variety now threatens to destroy us and our planet. Just as the more ways we find to save time, the less time we feel ourselves to have, it almost seems as though the richer we are in gadgets, the poorer we feel our quality of life to be. This, perhaps, is what increasingly leads us, at least in the developed world, to ask whether we are prepared to let the scientist continue to be the principal arbiter of truth. It seems ever more reasonable to hypothesise that the human condition might be improved by an attempt at balance: promoting emotion vis-à-vis reason, intuition relative to sensation, inner at the expense of outer.

Let us take a closer look at what such a proposition might imply.
We are, as a society, far less sure about, less familiar with intuition than with reason. When we use the cards, we rely a great deal on intuition, so we should now consider it a little. Other words used to describe intuition are feeling, sense, impression, hunch and presentiment. This faculty is more widely used and accepted than seems at first to be the case. For example, I remember seeing a television programme featuring a man bringing his family up in a large house in a sought-after suburb of London on the proceeds of many years as a successful punter on race-horses. Asked if he would recommend a similar career to either of his teenage children, he replied in the negative. His way of life was, he suggested, possible only to someone with a particular flair which, even if it could be honed with practice, had to be present naturally in the first place.

We may admit quite readily that artists of every ilk rely on intuition in their work, but the same is also true, if less recognised, of entrepreneurs in business, stock market traders and indeed, even scientists! The breakthrough moments in science come in a flash of insight, on a hunch, not by the painstaking accumulation of data on top of more data, or by endless analysis - however useful and necessary, in their place, these more humdrum activities may be. Equally, it is being increasingly understood how intuitive elements play not a peripheral, but an essential role in successful business management.
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