Sunday, June 12, 2005

Conservatives Make Me Think

Two of my favorite people (one IRL, one online) are ConservativeWiccan and our own Irina. Mostly, this is because they are funny, not what my mother would call "hateful", and they make me think about stuff.

The latter has been making me think about intuition -- a factor that most of my real-life associates consider just as much of a given as Murphy's Law, if not gravitation.

My working definition for intuition is "the things you know without knowing them", a statement that means absolutely nothing. It niggles at me to believe in something I can't easily define, but that's the nature of the mystical, I suppose -- while I go to a doctor for my broken bones, I went to a Reiki healer for my last URI and had a much less miserable few days. Doesn't prove that Reiki works -- but I've had hands laid on for years now in various situations, and know in ways I can't prove that it works.

Intuition. However much I would like to pretend otherwise in order to absolve myself of guilt for a few major fuck-ups, I have an extremely accurate sense of the nature of individuals. In Charismatic churches this is sometimes a recognized charism, or gift, called "discernment". The listed definition limits it to spiritual events, but in practice I've heard it applied to individuals as well. I wasn't raised Charismatic, but the fact remains that since I was a young adult, I have had an almost inerrant, initial sense of whether a person meant me good or ill, not just in the short term but the long run. Whenever I have ignored what our friend Mike, the Man from Mars, would call "wrongness" in a person, I have fallen out badly or been hurt by the individual in question -- most recently, LokiKB -- and upon examination, this goes back much farther than my knowledge that such a gift existed. I've stopped ignoring my gift of discernment, trying without much guidance to improve it -- and am, hopefully, succeeding.

The Quakers call that sense, that sense of rightness and wrongness, the "still small voice of God." That's as good a name for it as any. Unfortunately, until we solve a few fiddly problems with quantum mechanics, or build ourselves a dinkum thinkum that can solve them for us, we won't have any way to take that which we know without knowing and prove scientifically that what we hear tells us correctly. Not to discount logic -- logic is required to create true intuition, because it gives you a baseline to make sure you're listening to the right things at the right times -- but perfectly logical arguments fall apart when tested on new data all the time. so it's not out of the bounds of possiblity that all the methods we use to tap into our intuition will someday be accepted as ways to encourage what I consider to be a pro-evolutionary trait, instead of the maunderings of overly emotional thinkers.

It's late and I'm debating going to temple tomorrow, so I'm going to cut this short. Have a good one, y'all.


At 12:41 PM, Anonymous lady alambil said...

"small, still voice of God." yep. Need to get me some of that. Despite that being one of my main points of prayer for the last few years, I still manage to miss the small things and only get God's Message when She gets out the kendo stick. And even then it sometimes takes a few hits. Gr.

At 6:19 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

Oh yes, the kendo stick has hit me many times.
Parce, I've heard before, a scientific explination for intuition. It has been a while but I rebember that they used Pheramonnes(spelling?) as a prime example. Do you know more that can joggle my memory?

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

I've read of a view that intuition is a special type of logic, an extra-quick type when you're too busy processing other stuff and you need to resolve a difficult problem without taking your mind off other things. Surprisingly, I noticed that whenever I feel like I "know" what's going to happen, and follow a certain direction that feels "right", it turns out to be pretty close to what I "thought" would happen. It's really weird.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Memphis Word Nerd said...

Here I come with a book recommendation! Have you guys read "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell? He does a great job of examining the phenomena behind intuition and split-second decision making. You might be familiar with his first book, "The Tipping Point". I have only read part of "Blink" but it seems very interesting so far. "The Tipping Point" is absolutely brilliant. IMHO, they are must-reads for anyone who is interested in why people (in the case of "Blink") or society (in the case of "The Tipping Point") make the choices that we do.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

Irina - Some people believe that intuition works because you
A) Decide what you think is going to happen
and then
B) It happens because you control your own universe

I'm not a huge fan of this theory, but I thought I'd toss it out there anyway

I haven't heard of those books before, MWN
I'll try to get them this week


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