GUT FEELING AND CONDENSED REASONING

Intuition is our ‘gut feeling’. It could be due to ‘condensed reasoning’. It could be the result of ‘unconscious associative processes’. Intuitive decisions are based on understanding, rather than on knowledge. Emotions are an integral part of intuitions. Intuition often outperforms rational analyses.  Brain does a quick search of its stored files, finds an analogy with the present situation, and based on the knowledge, its meaning is ascribed. Logic-based analysis, on the other hand, is slow, controlled, effortful, rule-governed, and emotionally neutral. Intuitive decisions based on pure guesswork are often right. Daniel Kahneman says, “If people can construct a simple and coherent story, they will feel confident regardless of how well grounded it is in reality. But when problems are unique, or fairly unique, then I would be less trusting of intuition.” A strong intuition can herald the beginning of a beautiful relationship. In ‘relationship-threatening situations’ happier couples keep their hunches to themselves, as they understand that such thoughts are temporary, and not serious. Even decisions of skilled arguers also fail. The skilled arguers are not after the truth  but after the arguments supporting their views.  Decisions that are taken on the basis of reasons are often not necessarily poor, because we are bad decision makers, but because we systematically look for arguments to justify our own beliefs or actions. As a result, we tend to rebut genuine information put forward by others. We forget that, in order to pursue truth, the inputs of others are equally essential. We try to be both the judge and the advocate and that is not the way to pursue truth. We need to remember that all arguments are not debates (where the purpose is to win), but also producing arguments that are after the truth.

Intuition is about expertise and tacit knowledge. It prepares us to see things that we couldn’t see before. It gives us the ability to make fine distinctions. It helps us to better our pattern-recognition capabilities, and alerts us to possible dangers. Intuition is a consequence of the experience we have built up. “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant, and has forgotten the gift”, Albert Einstein wrote years ago.

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