Intuition – Reason Dressed Up as Magic


It seems a little far-fetched to claim that intuition is totally independent of reason.  The fact is that we have intuitive feelings in areas with which we are familiar. This suggests that intuition and reason are not that far apart after all.


The ‘cocktail party effect’ from perception could be used to prove this point. Imagine that you are in a noisy room with lots of people talking – including yourself – you can’t hear the other conversations, but suddenly you hear your name mentioned across the room. This seems very strange. You couldn’t hear the conversations, yet you heard your name!


It would seem to be that there are all sorts of unconscious things going on in your mind - processing, filtering and so on – and that you become aware of things that are deemed “important”, but not of anything else (it is puzzling to ask, “deemed important by whom?”).


Perhaps intuition works the same way – it is the result of a complex train of analysis which we are only very dimly aware of (if at all).


Intuition, therefore, only seems to be a problem because we can’t explain it. The real problem is not the intuition, but that we don’t have access to certain parts of our thinking processes – a limitation of our mental ability.


If our brains are regarded as information-processing devices, then perhaps intuition is nothing more or less than unconscious empiricism and rationalism.


Nicholas Elchin