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“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” Albert Einstein
Editor's 1-Minute Essay: Intuition
Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Albert Einstein: "The only real valuable thing is intuition."
Rainer Maria Rilke: “I am learning to see. I don't know why it is, but everything enters me more deeply and doesn't stop where it once used to. I have an interior that I never knew of... What's the use of telling someone that I am changing? If I'm changing, I am no longer who I was; and if I am something else, it's obvious that I have no acquaintances. And I can't possibly write to strangers.”
J. Donald Walters: "Intuition is the innate ability in everyone to perceive truth directly - not by reason, logic, or analysis, but by a simple knowing from within. That is the very meaning of the word "intuition": to know, or understand from within - from one's own self, and from the heart of whatever one is trying to understand. Intuition is the inner ability to see behind the outer forms of things to their inner essence."
Katori Hall: “Follow your intuition, listening to your dreams, your inner voice to guide you.”
Benjamin Spock: "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do."
Alan Alda: “You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Systems die; instincts remain."
Deepak Chopra: “Many scientists think that philosophy has no place, so for me it's a sad time because the role of reflection, contemplation, meditation, self inquiry, insight, intuition, imagination, creativity, free will, is in a way not given any importance, which is the domain of philosophers.”
Henri Poincare: "It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover."
John Naisbitt: "Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data."
why was Socrates called the wisest of all
Editor’s note: Many of the following concepts are from a lecture by Professor Timothy B. Shutt of Kenyon College.
One of Socrates’ friends asked the Oracle at Delphi, “Who is the wisest of men?” – "Socrates" she said. “If this is so,” answered the famous Greek philosopher, “it is because I know what I don’t know.”
There are two primary meanings here.
- Socrates could be saying, “I don’t know anything” or “I know the limits of my knowledge.”
Some have called the former the “Socratic irony,” a kind of false modesty, which, with a wink, denies erudition. And while there is a sense in which a wise person might humbly make such assertion, there’s another connotation, likely, as the far better meaning.
- Socrates perceives in a non-discursive way, without argumentation or reasoning, that is, he knows by intuition. Not only does he know what he does not know, he also knows that which cannot be known by conventional means, by empiricism, debate, study, or the scientific method. This intuitive pathway to knowledge is what the Greeks called “noetic” insight.
Editor’s note: The word “noesis” refers to a perception or intelligence originating in the mind. The Greek root is “noos,” meaning “mind.” While it’s true that all perceptions take place in the mind, noesis speaks of insight or perception that does not arise from discursive debate or argumentation but via intuitive means. For a full discussion of the Greeks’ noesis, see the extensive article on “Higher Creativity: Liberating The Unconscious For Breakthrough Insights.”
the form of all forms, the fundamental structure of all things
The noetic insights of Socrates allow him to perceive not only what is good, but the form of the good, the fundamental structure of things, the form of all forms. These reveal the origin not only of being but also the very essence of goodness.
all revelation, all gift of intuition, is utterly non-transferable
Socrates cannot make a student see any of this; he cannot directly lend his insights to another. All revelation is non-transferable – it’s for one recipient only. The best Socrates can do is to help a student demolish self-imposed impediments which prevent the student from seeing.
Hence, the “Socratic dialogue” or the “Socratic method.” This way of teaching by asking questions is not unlike the pedagogy of a Zen master. The famous riddles “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” and the like are designed to short-circuit common egoic thought, to arrest the unfruitful ratiocinations of the “monkey mind.” These are meant to stun the mind into “openness, surrender, and acceptance” – allowing noetic insight to break into one’s perceptions and consciousness.
For example, in the Socratic dialogues we find the subject of justice debated. The egos of the world believe that justice is merely the advantage of the strong, that, “the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.” This “law of the jungle” view seems reasonable to the grasping “false self.” Socrates cannot directly impart to another a higher view, but he will try to prepare minds of listeners to discover better meanings of justice within the depths of their deeper persons.
Editor’s note: Imagine having a kind of x-ray vision allowing one to see "the fundamental structure of things, the form of all forms," even "the origin and essence of the good." This can be obtained only by a mystical apprehension, not by the scientific method.
I would encourage you to notice compelling parallels between the noetic wisdom of Socrates and the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, who offers, in modern terminology, a wisdom into the nature of things, thousands of years old.
Nicole Ari Parker: “Raising children uses every bit of your being - your heart, your time, your patience, your foresight, your intuition to protect them, and you have to use all of this while trying to figure out how to discipline them.”
Frank Capra: "A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something."
Jonas Salk: "It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely on it. It's my partner."
Deepak Chopra: “Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention.”
Immanuel Kant: "All human knowledge thus begins with intuitions, proceeds thence to concepts, and ends with ideas."
Edgar Cayce: "The more and more each is impelled by that which is intuitive, or the relying upon the soul force within, the greater, the farther, the deeper, the broader, the more constructive may be the result."
Robert Graves: "Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought and leaps straight from the problem to the answer."
Rainer Maria Rilke: “…most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life”
Honore de Balzac: “The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition.”
Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
Paramahansa Yogananda: “Come into the silence of solitude, and the vibration there will talk to you through the voice of God.”
Ingrid Bergman: "You must train your intuition. You must trust the small voice inside which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide."
Lao Tzu: "The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days."
William Butler Yeats: "People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind."
Ingmar Bergman: “I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition. Then I must send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect.”
Carlos Casteneda: "Conclusions arrived at through reasoning have very little or no influence in altering the course of our lives."
Jonas Salk: "Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next."
Dr. Joyce Brothers: "Trust your hunches. They're usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level."
Piet Mondrian: “Intuition enlightens and so links up with pure thought. They together become an intelligence which is not simply of the brain, which does not calculate, but feels and thinks.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The intuition of the moral sentiment is an insight of the perfection of the laws of the soul. These laws execute themselves. They are out of time, out of space, and not subject to circumstance.”
Alexis Carrel: “All great men are gifted with intuition. They know without reasoning or analysis, what they need to know.”
Shakti Gawain: “We live in a culture that doesn't acknowledge or validate human intuition and doesn't encourage us to rely on our intuitive wisdom.”