What is intuition ? (poorly defined words in action)

We use many words in various context with the implied assumption that we know what they mean and others know what they mean, and my meaning and your meanings are the same. Any non-scientific person assumes that they know and is generally well understood what gravity is. Do we know what gravity is ? We all know that it keeps us down to Earth, but that’s it. We do not know in fact what gravity is.

Do you think you know what “intuition” is ? Most people believe intuition is a form of knowledge that lacks solid arguments. So they use intuition as a way of guessing future outcomes and make decisions on this base.

 I heard many time people saying “I’ll just use my intuition”  as an excuse to skip on preparation to skip on doing the necessary work to anticipate future requirements.

Definition

In context of my theory, I’ll define intuition as ” a result of a simulation(extrapolation) done by the subconscious mind“. We have many data that we are not consciously aware of. Our subconscious mind we’ll use this data to predict an outcome. Not at all different from the way we predict that some apparent random lines we see on a drawing, may actually represent a tiger or a cat.  The accuracy of this prediction still depends on the accuracy and the quantity of the available data. So unless we prepare well, gathering all data that we can, our “intuitive” responses are going to be more or less off the mark, the better the data, the better the “intuition” .

There are some cases were you make a good decision in absence of any kind of data. Well, in the absence of data, and force to make a decision you will choose randomly and if only 2 option are available you still end up with a 50% chance of going with the good option. But this is guessing and not intuition.

Testing the definition.

Since it’s difficult to know what we know it makes it difficult to test this definition of intuition. Basically a group with correct data, should have better “intuitions” about some future event than a test group without  the required data. Yet this is difficult to prove because intuition makes use of data stored at a subconscious level, so we can’t actually know if we have or not have the “required” data.

Implications

This is a particular case of a more general problem. We define poorly many words and the use of this words fail to elicit the desired outcome.

If instead of “intuition” we would use simulation or a type of simulation called extrapolation, then we would take adequate measures, meaning, prepare as much as possible, so the simulation is very close to reality.

Why do we use and allow the use of words that are vaguely defined ?

  • Vague words do not engage the neural networks from our brains and do no give rise to chemical releases, which we call and feel as emotions. This is useful in many cases when we don’t want to antagonize the people we are addressing (see politicians speech patterns)
  • Vague words are used to avoid making a decision and consequentially being responsible of something.

So vague words are quite useful for the individual but they decrease the information exchange, limit action through lack of decisions and have a negative impact on the overall evolution of the species. 

Leave a Reply

Close Menu