What is Initiation?
The capacity to gain information without resorting to conscious thinking is known as intuition. The term “intuition” is used in a variety of fields, including, but not limited to, direct access to unconscious knowledge, unconscious cognition, inner sensing, inner insight to unconscious pattern-recognition, and the ability to understand something instinctively without the use of conscious reasoning. The term intuition is derived from the Latin verb intueri, which means “to think about,” or from the late Middle English word intuit, which means “to think about.”
Intuition refers to an individual’s attribute of acquiring knowledge without recourse to conscious reasoning for its source. The word “intuition” has been used in different contexts such as unconscious cognition, inner sensing, direct access to unconscious knowledge, inner insight to unconscious pattern recognition, instinctive ability to understand something and much more. However, all these contexts exist devoid of any need for conscious reasoning. The word intuition is said to have originated from the Latin verb intueri. When translated to English, this Latin verb means “consider”. The term also has its roots in the Middle English word intuit, which means “to contemplate”.
In recent years psychological studies have hinted at intuition being an ability to know valid solutions to problems and decision-making obstacles. For instance, the Recognition Primed Decision or the RPD model describes how individuals can make straightforward decisions without even comparing options.
Gary Klein postulated that the act of intuitively choosing the most appropriate solution to a problem depends on many factors. These factors may vary based on time pressure, high or low stakes or other changing parameters. Experts use their wealth of knowledge and experience to identify similar situations from the past and then choose a feasible solution based on this information. Hence, the RPD model is an amalgamation of intuition and analysis. Here, intuition is the process by which one matches the patterns of the past to suggest a possible plan of action, while the analysis is a mental simulation process which reviews the course of action consciously.
Additionally, instinct can be often misunderstood as intuition and hence to rely or not to rely on this instinct becomes dependent on knowledge of the past and specific occurrences. For instance, a person who has had more experience with teenagers is said to have a comparatively better instinct in situations related to them, which is a false assumption. A person who has had a lot of experience in the past might not always have an accurate intuition regarding a situation.
Quantitative analysis of intuitive abilities was done at Yale University in the 1970s. Scholars researching non-verbal communication noted that some subjects found it easier to read non-verbal visual cues while others took a considerable amount of time. They indicated that subjects who were highly intuitive could make quick decisions without understanding the rationale behind them. However, the accuracy of their choices was no different from the subjects who were non-intuitive in nature.
The works of Daniel Kahneman stipulate that intuition can be defined as a virtue of automatically generating solutions to mind-bending problems without long arguments or evidence.
Philosophy and Religion
Sri Aurobindo has elaborated that intuition exists under the dimension of an individual’s knowledge under identity. He postulates that the psychological realm of human beings has two arbitrary natures. While the first one is known to imprint psychological experiences by sensory information, the second one is an action being aware of itself. To elaborate further, the first one is the mind seeking a path to become aware of the external world, while the second one is human beings being aware of their existence and emotions. The second one, therefore, is known as knowledge by identity.
He elaborates that evolution has resulted in the mind becoming associated with psychological functioning and reactions to the outer material world as the standard way of being in today’s world. Hence, all we know about the external world is the dominant habit of an individual’s arrival at the truth. This truth is whatever is conveyed by one’s senses at a particular time. Consequently, knowledge by identity, which is known to describe the awareness of human beings' existence, can also be extended to how one perceives the world around them, which results in intuitive knowledge.
According to his perspective, intuitive knowledge was more common in older generations. Through time, this intuitive knowledge was taken over by practicality and reason, which became the sole factor responsible for organising one’s perception, thoughts, and actions. He has stipulated that finding self-awareness of the mind results in one finding awareness of the outer world. This awareness leads an individual to manifest their identity, which also transforms itself into the form of self-luminous intuitional knowledge.
The Buddhist school of thought has found intuition to be a faculty of the mind that results in direct knowledge of one’s surroundings. This intuitive ability is beyond any mental process of conscious thinking. Considering that conscious thought cannot ever access subconscious information or even translate this information into a virulent form, this intuitive ability is said to be close to a supernatural virtue.
Particularly in Zen Buddhism, a spectrum of techniques has been grown and evolved to help develop an individual’s intuitive capabilities. For instance, one of these techniques is called Koans — the resolution of this particular technique results in a state of minor enlightenment, which is also called satori in Buddhism. In specific parts of Zen Buddhism, intuition can be understood as a mental state between the universal mind and the often discriminating mind of an individual.
Various scholars of Islam have come up with their interpretations of the word intuition. Many of them have related the ability to have intuitive knowledge with prophethood. Siháb al Din-al Suhrawadi, in his book Philosophy Of Illumination, found that intuition refers to the knowledge acquired through illumination. This knowledge is mystical and is known to bring about correct judgements under challenging situations. Another scholar, Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), has postulated that this intuitive ability is a “prophetic capacity” obtained without the intention of acquiring it. According to him, intuitive knowledge has its origin in intellectual certitude, while on the other hand, regular knowledge is nothing but an imitation.
Many researchers of artificial intelligence have put in a lot of hard work and effort to add intuition to the “fourth-generation AI” algorithms. These AIs have been developed to work in many dynamic and volatile industries, such as finance. For instance, one example of artificial intuition is AlphaGo zero, which was trained in skilled reinforcement learning from scratch. Another example of the same is ThetaRay, which has partnered with Google cloud’s initiative of utilising artificial intuition for anti-money-laundering purposes.