Intuition: trust or not?
That morning, Alexander somehow bought a newspaper that he had never bought before. “I don’t know why I did this,” he says, “as if something pushed me. And then the newspaper itself literally opened on the page with announcements, and among them I immediately saw the address of the apartment for sale. The area in which I always dreamed of living, and the price is right! I called the realtor, went to watch – and now it’s already ten years since we live in this apartment! ”
The moments when we commit unusual acts against our will happen to us often, and usually we tend to explain them with the work of intuition. According to a brief psychological dictionary edited by Petrovsky and Yaroshevsky, intuition is “knowledge that arises without awareness of the ways and conditions for its receipt.” Accepting this definition, we thereby admit: not everything can be explained using the usual logic for us.
Attempts to find a scientific explanation
So should one trust the sixth sense? “No,” the scientists answered for many years. Arising from nowhere, not related to any of the five human senses (touch, charm, hearing, taste, eyesight), intuition has not interested the scientific world for a long time.
In 1958, the American sociologist James Staunton decided to find out whether people trust their intuition. He analyzed the information about more than 200 train wrecks and more than 50 plane crashes and found out that on successfully completed flights the train or plane cabin was filled on average by 76%, and in emergency cases only by 61%.
15% of passengers before traveling, trusting their intuition, refused to travel. But why didn’t it work for the rest? It is logical to assume that intuition gave signals to all passengers without exception, but most of them simply ignored it, submitting to more powerful incentives – determination, curiosity or duty.
Later, the leading American neuroscientist, professor at the University of Iowa (USA) Antonio Damazio and the French neuropathologist Antoine Béchara examined the reaction of the nervous system of a person who makes a “random decision”. They conducted an experiment at the University of Iowa College of Medicine: 16 participants took turns drawing cards from the deck, with a serious cash prize awaiting the winner.
And here’s what is surprising: if a player was drawing a card, which later turned out to be happy, his nervous system worked as usual. When the participant wanted to draw out a losing card, he began to worry, the nervous system, as if anticipating failure, gave him an alarm. After processing the results, scientists suggested that “there is an unconscious mechanism that controls behavior, which should be recognized as an integral part of thinking.”
Today, the ability to instantly sense awareness of truth, bypassing logical thinking, is being studied in many scientific centers of the world. The head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, Dr. Dick Birman, says: “Many experiments confirm that sometimes the human mind is really able to run ahead and, after making a small leap into the future, warn us of danger.”
“It’s easy to be wise after something has already happened,” said the English writer Arthur Conan Doyle. This regularity was able to confirm the American psychologists Martin Bolt and John Brink in the early 90’s. They asked students to name the outcome of the Senate vote for a controversial candidate for the Supreme Court. 58% predicted success for the candidate. A week later, when the controversial candidacy was approved by the Senate, the participants in the experiment were asked to recall what their assumptions were, and 78% of respondents said they had no doubt about the success of the candidate. The explanation for this is simple: anticipating an event with an ambiguous outcome, we are considering its various options, including the most unlikely ones. Therefore, when the event finally occurs, we can always resort to innocent self-deception, remembering that such an option also came to mind.
Learn to pick up signals
One of the most successful businessmen, George Soros, has repeatedly admitted that he conducts financial affairs, relying not only on arguments of reason, but on physical sensations: any wrong decision causes sharp pain in his back.
Each has its own “indicator”. Someone foresees danger at the bodily level: for example, a stomach spasm or goosebumps that cover the skin can signal it. A hint to someone is a sudden inexplicable desire or, on the contrary, an acute unwillingness to perform any action. Someone discerns a warning in randomly heard words, someone helps visual images. In any case, intuition is always acutely felt.
Consciousness is able to react in advance to warn of danger
One of its main characteristics is spontaneity. “If a solution literally appears from the air, over which we have been tormented for a month, there is nothing surprising in this,” explains psychologist Sergei Stepanov. – Just the brain analyzed the information and without an additional order answered the question posed earlier. With intuition, everything is different. Sometimes we get an answer before we even have time to formulate a question! ”
In this case, thoughts and decisions arise as if by themselves, without visible tension of the mind. So, Natalya, a mathematician and head teacher of a prestigious physics and mathematics school, has been participating in interviews with applicants for 15 years. “As soon as an applicant enters, I can already see whether he can study with us or not,” she says. “Of course, the commission makes the decision, but for all the years of my work, intuition has never let me down!”
Another manifestation of intuition is empathy, the ability to understand the other person’s world of experiences, to join his emotional life. This phenomenon is actively used in psychotherapy. “How can one be treated without intuition? – asks the therapist Tatyana Bednik. – This is part of human nature, and its roots lie in the ability to empathize and compassion. It’s important for a psychotherapist to believe in feelings and not try to immediately push everything that happens into a rigid rational framework. ”
Can intuition let us down
Intuition helps some, others can do poor service. “Premonitions turn out to be false when people give out the wish for the reality,” explains Sergey Stepanov. “In such cases, it is not intuition that is mistaken at all, but we ourselves, accepting our own hypothesis as an insight coming from above.” Unconscious desires often do not allow to correctly interpret the signals of the inner voice.
“My mother has a very good intuition,” says 28-year-old photo editor Julia. “But in relation to my friends, she is always mistaken: she wants too much so that everything is fine with me.”
“I was so dreaming of getting this position that during the interview I accepted the elementary politeness of the people who spoke with me as a sign that I would certainly be hired,” says 34-year-old Anna. “God, how sad I was when I realized my mistake!”
Another obstacle is our fears. “Most of them are born from past experience,” Tatyana Bednik explains. – Experience becomes part of us and prevents us from perceiving new things. Attitudes like to eat into flesh and blood like: “I never succeed”, “Love is not mine”, “At my age it is already unrealistic” – they make it difficult to understand what the inner voice is whispering. ”
In other words, when deciphering messages coming from the bowels of consciousness, excessive emotionality – it does not matter whether it is with a plus sign or a minus sign – can confuse all the cards and ultimately cause harm.
What psychologists say
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, argued that the world is known by us through four mental functions: sensation, thinking, feeling and intuition. It is the latter that provides additional information beyond the control of the five basic senses.
The Italian neuropathologist Roberto Assagioli, the inventor of psychosynthesis, introduced the concept of “superconscious” – this is the area located above the unconscious where premonitions are born, as well as artistic, philosophical or scientific insights.
Russian physiologist and psychologist Alexei Ukhtomsky considered intuition a special prelogical apparatus of cognition, which included observation, sensitivity, insight, and conscience. By “intuition of conscience” he understood as “a mysterious judging voice within us, gathering in itself all the inherited impressions of the life of the family and warning with special emotions and higher emotions about what is being done before us.”
Intuition – the art of trusting yourself
Intuition is a unique mechanism that allows you to use deep feelings and thereby strengthen faith in one’s own strength. “It’s important for customers to find an explanation for those unusual things that happened to them: hunches, unexpected insights, strange physical sensations,” says Tatyana Bednik. “They understand their importance and strive to learn how to interpret them correctly so that they can be used wisely in the future.”
Psychotherapy helps to get rid of existing blockages, teaches us to understand ourselves and not to remain in captivity of cliched ideas about ourselves and the world around us.
“Starting from this,” Tatyana Bednik continues, “a person gradually gains confidence in himself, in his abilities.” Listening to intuition does not at all mean becoming a controlled machine. Capturing and understanding its signals without trying to downplay or exaggerate their significance is the best way to use this amazing feature of human thinking.
6 tips to develop your intuition
- Meditate regularly in any way. So you clear your consciousness and arrange the “internal reserve space.” Try to meditate at the same time, preferably in the morning, in a place specially designated for this.
- Pay attention to physical sensations. Track how the body reacts to a particular situation, and try to understand what this means.
- Learn Calm. Use moments of solitude to understand yourself.
- Explore your possibilities. Do mini-experiments throughout the day. For example, try to guess who is calling you. And if you suddenly feel that something unusual is happening to someone from your loved ones, call yourself.
- Keep a diary. Every day, write down your premonitions there (it does not matter whether they were confirmed or not) and physical sensations: you will better understand your behavior and you will be able to feel the difference between assumptions and signals of intuition.
- Whenever possible, always tell the truth. If you live in a lie, the sensations will also be false.
Books in the subject
- Aristotle “On the Soul” Peter, 2002.
- Alexey Ukhtomsky “Intuition of conscience”, Petersburg writer, 1996.
- Nikolai Lossky “Sensual, Intellectual and Mystical Intuition” Terra – Book Club, Republic, 1999.
- Eugene Feinberg “Two cultures. Intuition and logic in art and science ”century 2, 2004.