The term intuition, like “consciousness” is used everyday, but without much concern over what it refers to.
These graphics illustrate the popular conception that places intuition in the heart and sets up an adversarial relationship with the brain as the ‘rational’ organ that contains all that icky stuff like logic, math, analysis, facts, science, and reason. A ridiculous war between emotion and reason exists in popular culture; it’s an archaic notion. This artificial conflict has been applied in pop science to the supposedly logical male brain vs. the supposedly intuitive female brain, which supposedly arise from the brain being chopped into a right and left half in half by the corpus collossum. If individuals are truly “left brained” or “right brained” then why is every healthy infant born with a whole brain? In evolution, you lose what you don’t use, especially in the brain, which is an energy monster – 20% of a human’s daily energy supply goes to keeping the brain alive and working. This type of black or white thinking is how modern social typicals perceive the world: opposition and competition trump interaction and cooperation.
From The Heart of the Matter by Robert K. Blechman: “What appeared to classical societies as a characteristic of human anatomy has slowly, over the ages, become a metaphor. No one today believes that the seat of consciousness can be found in the heart or lungs and yet the references persist. In primary orality people assigned different aspects of cognition to different organs. We are content in most cases to let the heart represent all feeling or emotion. When placed in opposition to the head or intellect, the heart prevails in modern cultural references as the deeper source of wisdom and the more reliable arbiter of reality.”
Misconceptions and superstitions about human anatomy, the functions of the brain, the electromagnetic spectrum and scientific principles in general, continue to spread like a Medieval pox throughout the internet, couched in faux scientific text. This is a favorite activity of New and Old Age religionists.
What then, is intuition? It is simply brain activity that takes place without words.
Here is a good start: It’s a type of thinking that we share with animals (we are animals) and which predates verbal language. It is the “unconscious” manipulation of information. Consciousness (see previous posts) is created by verbal language. Therefore the “unconscious, sub-conscious” is not a dungeon in the bottom of the brain, a basement or lower level, a Hell that contains bad things. It is simply brain activity-processing that takes place without words. The conscious and unconscious states are not cut off from each other: they communicate via electrical activity. Intuition is viewed as more trustworthy than conscious thinking because it is FACT BASED (facts aren’t limited to expression in words) and draws on PATTERNS tested by eons of natural selection – instinct.