Does it feel like your intuition is battling against your analytical mind? Is intuition the opposite of logic? Or is the relationship something else?
Many people are led to believe there is a battle going on inside their head. It’s the battle of intuition versus common sense, but is that really the case? Let’s look at the relationship between these two processes. Then first we’ll define and compare.
Common Sense and Logic
Logic is the capacity for making sense of things through a precise method of checks and balances. Logical thinking applies the scientific process to an argument. Logic and the scientific process go well together.
Putting these two together results in what people call common sense. Common sense is based on logic, and logic is based on sound principles of reasoning which we find in the scientific process.
Logical reasoning is a toolbox that shows us the correct way to use arguments. There are also two other parts of this mental toolset that help us identify the misuse of logic, the logical axioms and spotting logical fallacy. Using all three logical tools will enable you to sift out the facts from the fiction.
Logical reasoning is one way we can achieve breakthroughs of insight. You may have experienced that Eureka moment when you find a solution. This happens when you grasp the understanding of mathematics, algebra, and statistics. When you finally “get it,” that’s what you’ve been working for, that’s the Eureka moment.
The scientific process is responsible for all the advances in science, so let’s inspect this process, which touches everyone’s life.
What is the Scientific Process?
- systematic observation
- formulation of hypotheses
- and modification of hypotheses
This process involves deriving predictions from data to form a hypothesis. This is how those seeking the truth develop conclusions and predictions about how things work. It’s a never-ending process. They continue to carry out experiments based on those predictions to see if the results are repeatable. They expand their knowledge and revise conclusions when they find new data.
A hypothesis is a prediction about how something will act. A hypothesis can be narrow or broad. Scientists test hypotheses by conducting experiments. Under modern interpretations, a scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable. This means the hypothesis must be something others can replicate. This process helps us learn how to reject those preaching fiction as truth. If there is no proof, the conclusions are invalid.
When you combine common sense and logic, you open the analytical powers of the mind. But this is only half of the story. There is another way of gaining knowledge that is just as powerful, this is intuitive thought.
Intuitive Breakthroughs of Insight
Mistranslating the word intuition is common. It is easy to confuse it with instinct, truth, and even belief. The word comes from the Latin verb intueri, which means to contemplate, and so intuition and reason might seem to be two different roads? But perhaps not.
Intuition is the ability to gain knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning. It is a leap of understanding we call a eureka moment. You find an answer or develop some new insight into a problem without knowing where it came from.
Intuition has a range of different meanings from mystical insight to unconscious pattern-recognition. Immediate breakthroughs of insight, the Eureka moments of understanding can come from intuition or analytical thought, or both simultaneously.
Intuition Versus Common Sense and Logic
Intuitive thinking and logic are not opposites but complementary ways of getting an answer. Some Eastern traditions regard intuitive thinking as a spiritual connection with our soul or source. It’s a level of thinking using a completely using contemplative thought instead of analytical thought. The intellect cannot access subconscious information directly. So, we access intuitive thought through contemplative awareness.
Albert Einstein (2) talked about his process he coined “intuitive thought.” While at a physics conference in Kyoto in 1922, explained how he used contemplation, images and music to solve problems.
Einstein’s insightful leap forward in physics did not come from analytical reasoning or mathematics. Intuitive insight gave him the quantum leaps of discovery. These tools became the medium for the communication of these concepts. The actual formula concept appeared out of nowhere. The analytical mind then found out how to explain these quantum leaps of insight.
Einstein says, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.” He did not see it as intuition versus common sense and logic. Rather, it was a matter of using common sense to understand his intuitive insight.
The art is then being able to work with the analytical mind intuitively and resolve the differences so we can understand the answers. The only way to do this is by trial and error. Above all, find those eureka moments, the sweet-spot, between intuition and logic.
What’s your experience? What techniques have you used that enabled you to blend logic and intuition?
Many people realize that it is not Intuition versus common sense. Instead, it’s a matter of learning that these two aspects of the mind to work together. When you learn both together, they are synergistic and powerful.
We don’t care how we get the answer to the solution. Enhancing your critical thinking and intuitive insight is the best way to get the answers quickly.
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(1) The Scientific Method, The Oxford English Dictionary
(2) Albert Einstein, Wikipedia
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia