Humanity loves to explore unchartered territory.
We have explored, inspected, fragmented and dissected every piece — indeed, every atom of our ‘outer’ worlds. And yet, there is still more to discover.
But one area is only just starting to be acknowledged as a possible tool for evolution. We are only just uncovering and questioning something which is often hidden from our midst; which we can’t measure, weigh, or analyse.
Intuition is not used in the way modern science operates, although some organisations attempt to objectively study it. In recent times we’ve discovered that when we subconsciously spot patterns, the body starts firing neurochemicals in the brain and the gut. There is, after all, a little brain in the gut. It’s called the enteric nervous system.
But this is as far as it’s got. Neither science nor society has been able to translate that into practical experience — what it actually means for humanity.
Albert Einstein saw the beginnings of this when he was alive:
‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift’.
This ‘gift’ is something that we all use, but many of us do not know how to harness it. It’s put down to one of those mysteries of human existence, like coincidences, deja vu or premonitions, but we hear people speak about it every day:
‘I don’t know why I chose her over the other woman for the job. I just had a gut feeling’
‘I can’t explain it, but I have a hunch that this is going to work out.
‘I just knew I would live here one day’
We have this explanation in the dictionary, of course:
‘Intuition: The ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.’
It arose in the mid 15th Century from late latin, and they used it to mean pretty much the same thing ‘to consider or to look at from within’.
Even the word itself ‘in-tuition’ supposes that we have some kind of inner guidance system.
Cool, our own internal GPS! But why don’t we use it more often, then?
Maybe we do for choosing romantic partners. But what if we used it for choosing the foods that we ate, the media that we consumed, the areas that we lived in and the people that we socialised with?
Why is intuition not used more in everyday life?
Because of course, our intuition can appear to be wrong. And what’s more, there is a crisis of trust which is seeping through modern day existence like a rising tide. This pervasive lack of trust also makes us doubt and question. It makes us fear.
Fear, in all of it’s forms, is antithetical to the intuition. Why? Because intuition is about sensing. It’s about feeling.
Intuition arises from listening to the body, fear comes from listening to the mind.
The other reason is that we need to be calm and relaxed in order to hear our intuition. After all, our instinctual responses seemingly arise out of nowhere -intuitions are often not sought, they arise spontaneously.
Dr. Gerd Gigerenzer, a German social psychologist and director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, told The New York Times that he didn’t like intuition because “it is not thought to be rational.” Plus, he added ‘it’s slow.”
If we’re really busy, we may not be really present to our life, and our intuition may well be compromised. We need to slow down in order to be present to our gut instincts. In fact, slowing down to hear my own intuition is one of the reasons why I love remote work. It allows me to ‘unplug’ from the system more.
Steve Jobs once said that intuition is more powerful than intellect, and I have to agree, because the inspiration for this article came to me through my intuition. The idea comes to me in a flash; then I have to use my rational mind to plan it out. I know it’s a good idea when I get excited about writing it.
What would the future look like if we all developed our intuition more? Who knows. Perhaps we’d have more trust in ourselves, more faith in our decisions and more understanding about what is good for us personally.
Developing our intuition is the new frontier for human evolution. Perhaps we’re at the end of what we objectively know, and now we need to start using our instincts as another way to gain knowledge. Kahlil Gibran puts it nicely:
‘When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.’