“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.” — Albert Einstein
I am writing on this theme again after reading some of the additional comments to my last post. I want to examine the topic further, and it’s nice to kick off with a quote by a revered scientist championing intuition.
Much of modern life seems to idealize “reason” as if it was the answer to everything. It has been that way since the Age of Enlightenment (a misnomer applied non-ironically to the rise of reason in Western thought). And reason is very useful. Watch any crime detective show on TV. Sooner or later the clues pile up, the hero of the show puts two and two together and justice is served. The bad guy gets busted. Logic & reason triumph.
Reason is a wonderful thing. Reason gives us medical and physical guidelines to follow to keep ourselves healthy, and for the most part, science & medicine are correct, but what about those surprising spontaneous remissions? What about the various incidents of people who survived the reasonable odds? I have a friend. Years ago when he was in the military, his parachute became tangled and he fell from the plane to the ground. He lived. After a year of rehab, he was close to normal again. Surviving the fall was unreasonable. So was leading a normal life again. Yet he does. And I am sure most of the people reading this know first hand of similar cases of defied odds.
Reason gives us agreed-upon laws to keep us all cooperating together in public, making sure we are all on the same page when we administer justice. Yet there is an ongoing debate regarding the spirit vs. the letter of the law. The letter of the law is on the side of logic and reason, and following it gives unscrupulous people loopholes to skirt the spirit of the law. One needs intuition & emotion & integrity to follow the spirit of the law.
Throughout history, the parameters of what is “reasonable” have shifted. Three hundred years ago it was considered reasonable to own slaves. A few centuries earlier, being burned at the stake or getting drawn & quartered was considered acceptable. So reason is apparently very flexible, isn’t it?
For a fair part of the past 25 years, I have looked at the patterns of the planets in the sky at any given day, and been able to help my clients understand themselves & their lives a little better and anticipate the future. And it has been positive & successful. I follow logical & reasonable guidelines to use a system apparently based on intuition, because very few astrologers will claim to know how astrology works. But it does.
Altruism also defies reason. On 9/11, what sense could be made of people with boats in New Jersey sailing directly across the Hudson River toward the two damaged buildings to help total strangers flee? What reason might they have had for risking their lives?
And accepting risk is a key factor in non-reasonable actions. How many perfectly reasonable, well-researched, well-marketed businesses have failed, while some absurd little risk-taking start-up has blossomed into a huge success? Who would ever attempt to defy the odds if reason was the only measuring stick?
Reason is of the mind. Not everything is of the mind. Can a song or a painting or a novel be created “reasonably?” And not all “truths” can be rationally proven. Can you prove someone loves you? I bet you can feel it when they do.