I ate my wafer...


Prizio wrote a nice post about the nature of blogging a couple of days ago, and in general, I would agree with him about the superior nature of more personal posts. However, at least for me there is always the substantial drawback to posting more personal musings in that one is forced to send their ill-formed intellectual ideas naked into the void. That is, I have had several ideas for posts in the last week or so that I have not used simply because they were not well formed, and I would have much rather bounced them off one of my superiors in person first. A few of you have probably already figured that I tend to bounce ideas off people in person if I suspect that I haven’t read enough about the topic, mainly because it is an easier to limit the amount of ignorance one shows that way. However, for the heck of it, I’m going to try an topic today that probably has already been thought about, overanalyzed, and discussed to death. Tell me what you think ( or more specifically, what I should go read).

Intuition, or gut-feelings, etc:

I used to think that there were two categories of intuition which for lack of better terms I will call obvious, and random.
Obvious would be where someone claims to have intuition of an event that seems extremely easy to foresee. Perhaps a good example would be if a large tree was dying in a person’s yard and they became more and more certain that it would fall on their house in storms. As the their intuition that the tree would fall grows stronger the more rickety the tree gets, when it finally falls, if they are particularly superstitious, they may believe that they foresaw it, while most thinking people would realize that it was inevitable that they would have felt most strongly that the tree was ready to fall as it was most obviously getting progressively more unsound.

Random would consist mostly of belchings from one’s sub-conscious. Some of these would be easily traced to psychological stuff, for a crude example, people that are uneasy during storms, and “know something bad will happen” may have a bad experience with a storm when young, etc. I could give other examples, but I would point out that people that tend to have “gut-feelings” of this nature tend to be wrong almost all of the time. Certainly they are willing to take very poor accuracy and still listen to their gut feelings. I think it is fair to point out that under-educated women are most prone to this.

However, as I said above I USED to think that intuition could be simply split into the obvious and random categories. I would like to add that (hold laughter please) that I’ve been trying to keep track of the rare times that I personally have strong “gut-feelings” about things. I’ve tried to keep decent records for about 6 months, in order to weed out merely retroactively labeling “random” stuff as intuition, and conveniently ignoring negative results. In any case, I found several events that I had rather specific gut-feelings about that would not have fit conveniently in either of the two categories. Rather, they seemed to be a combination of the two. Perhaps the better of the examples would be a gut-feeling that my car would break down on a long trip several months ago. It had given some small signs of problems, in backfiring once or twice on cold mornings , and a slight decrease in fuel mileage, but nothing to justify the relative certainty I had that it would break down. As it turned out, the ignition module failed, a process that can give the small warning signs that I had seen. I had read about such failure about 3 years ealier, but had utterly no memory of how they failed until I was forced read manuals, and to fix it in the middle of nowhere. I would like to suggest that although the warning signs were tow small to be considered reasonably obvious, it was not some random process in my mind. Rather, on a sub-conscious level I had associated the symptoms with the potential problem. I would like to point out that this isn’t a common event in my life, and that I shall not expect it to happen particularly often! Since I had been keeping track of such things, I was aware, having written this down before the failure, that it was an entirely different “gut-feeling” than could fit in my other classifications. I wonder if it is common for this type of low level, sub-conscious problem solving to occur. I realize that there is lots of new age B.S. that sounds similar to this, but I’m not implying anything other than a possibility of sub-conscious pattern seeking, and I would like to emphasize that I believe it to be quite rare.