The patron ‘Intuition’ is the feminine side of
Science - displayed as the 'Young Man' in
As research advances human knowledge with
cognitive, conscious reasoning, intuition is its mysterious opposite – knowledge without conscious reasoning.
Some say intuition is a ‘personal spiritual experience’.
Intuition is the act or process of coming to
direct knowledge or certainty without reasoning or inferring; immediate cognizance or conviction without rational
thought. The scholarly philosopher defines intuition as “a priori knowledge or
experiential belief characterized by it immediacy.” In ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ Kant
spoke of “Pure
Intuitions of Time & Space”. While the everyday layman would simply say, "I know the
answer, but I can't explain why".
The famous quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli
(1900-1958), unsatisfied with the purely empirical view that natural laws are
solely determined from the data of experience, preferred to allied himself with those who “emphasize the role of
intuition and the direction of attention in framing the concepts and ideas necessary for the establishing of a
system of natural laws (ie, scientific theory) – ideas which in general go far beyond mere
The sciences (natural & social) are not the
sole benefactor of intuition. Intuition also plays key roles in the humanities - literature, history,
philosophy, religion and visual and performing arts. Philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941) put forward the
idea of élan vital, the
force, which "brings about the creative evolution of
everything". His philosophy placed a high value on intuition, though without rejecting the importance of
The scientifically inclined may be tempted to
ask, “can science produce a machine that thinks intuitively?” A fascinating question who’s answer would
have to be ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
Yes, in that we already have computing
machines based on the brain’s own computing agility – called neural-networks. The best neural networks are
more astute at diagnosis than doctors, better at forecasting weather than meteorologists, and more profitable stock
pickers than mutual fund managers. Beyond ‘data mining' and 'forecasting’, some think computer
neural-network algorithms (NNA or learning algorithms) actually behave as intuition, since it did not perform
any kind of logical thinking in solving the problem. That it is ‘intuitive’ because it didn’t really know the
pattern that it followed during its ‘learning’ session. Of course, they do admit that in simple
situations the NNAs work very well, however in more complex situations (eg, studying protein folding to cure
cancer), the algorithms don’t work so well. NNAs ultimately are based on rules (delta training rule) and
those rules are based on ‘weights’ which are based on notions of averages and errors.
No, in that computing machines can only be as
intuitive as their human creators. The premise being that the ‘brain’ is not solving the problem, but the
‘soul-mind’ is solving the problem which is linked to the divine. This is taking the position that
intuition is akin to the ‘small voice of God’. That premonition and even psychic behavior is no more than
gradations of intuition. A premonition is a forewarning of a future event, like when we know someone is
going to call, or that your pet is going to get hurt. Like intuition, it is an anticipation of an event
without conscious reasoning.
With its ability to apprehend knowledge by two
different approaches (via research & intuition), we see a ‘Sun and Moon’ duality in mind’s nature.
Pauli understood the role of the mind’s powerful ‘sun’ side with its ability to cast a floodlight of facts and
specificity. He also understood the mind’s equally important ‘moon’ side (intuition) – that older, deeper,
quieter aspect of consciousness – that illuminates additional gems of knowledge.