Intuitions and insights

Intuit: from the Latin verb intueri, from in- ‘upon’ + tueri ‘to look.’

“In-” = upon? Does that mean intuition is a synoptic sense? A superficial grok of a whole?

A question: What is the precise relationship between an intuition and an insight? Are either of these words precise enough for such a comparison?

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Jung primed me for this question: he distinguished between an introverted intuition and an extraverted intuition.

 

4 thoughts on “Intuitions and insights

  1. Normally, I think of intuition as a lavender mist that floats in and becomes a somewhat suspect thought. Perhaps because the word is often misused to discuss paranoia or selfish desires. However,”to look upon” implies that a given intuition is not created by the person having the experience, but is an existent reality being studied consciously. That definition brings to mind the click of recognition when what you’ve been searching for becomes apparent or when something is clearly right prior to or instead of proof. But I always thought of that as insight–getting a glimpse of the pattern that already existed as a truth.

    1. “That definition brings to mind the click of recognition when what you’ve been searching for becomes apparent or when something is clearly right prior to or instead of proof. But I always thought of that as insight–getting a glimpse of the pattern that already existed as a truth.”

      The belief that such patterns might exist independently of our own sense-making, though it fits within our culture’s set of normal beliefs, is a fairly reckless metaphysical assumption.

    2. So… taking together, these two comments I made about your comment, let me try to clarify the question I am spiraling in on…

      My belief is that “existent reality” does in fact, in some way exist, but that our access to it is indirect and refracted. We experience reality through our perceptions of it, which means we filter and sort and combine our sensations and all the other things that accompany the sensations (memory, concepts, feelings, hunches, impulses, anticipations, predictions, etc.), and we integrate it all together AS the momentary experience which is part of our life experience. A HUGE part of this experience is other people, who talk to us about their experience, and about this “existent reality” we all believe we share. And sometimes when we really listen, our own experience changes… reality as we have it (which is indistinguishable from existent reality) changes. This is the religious experience of transfiguration.

      SO, what I’m getting at is this: If an intuition is what we ourselves have when we just grasp a pattern spontaneously (when we “look upon” it), maybe an insight is getting a glimpse of what another person is intuiting when THEY look upon reality and spontaneously grasp a pattern. By detecting (and approximately experiencing) the difference in their experience, we see more of that “existent reality” and grasp how vast and mysterious it actually is.

      This might be Christ’s fundamental insight: that our best access to reality is sharing it between us, and that our best access to the beyondness of reality is noticing the properties of the before in the hindsight of after and recognizing that each after is potentially the next before, just as each son is potentially the next father.

      Too much?

  2. “However, ‘to look upon’ implies that a given intuition is not created by the person having the experience, but is an existent reality being studied consciously.”

    Actually, it does not necessarily imply it, except within certain philosophical perspectives, such as the one in which we were raised. An idealist would argue with you that the entirety of “existent reality” as you are able to mean it is nothing more than your own experience. For instance, the opening line of the Dhammapada is: “All the phenomena of existence have mind as their precursor, mind as their supreme leader, and of mind are they made.” Actually inhabiting and living this belief — which is entirely different from theoretically understanding or asserting the concept — is what made me go nuts in 2002, or rather it is specifically how I went nuts.