Intuition

The patron ‘Intuition’ is the feminine side of Science - displayed as the 'Young Man' in ‘SCIENCE’. 

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 experience.”

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 √©lan vital, the life force, which "brings about the creative evolution of everything".  His philosophy placed a high value on intuition, though without rejecting the importance of the intellect. 

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.

  z