“I feel there are two people inside me – me and my intuition. If I go against her, she’ll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get along quite nicely.”
– Kim Basinger
Many other artists talk about using intuitive guidance in their work and lives.
But it can be a challenge for people who are predominantly intellectual to acknowledge and make use of intuition.
Dismissive of intuition
Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D. notes, “Individuals with higher intelligence are likely to be well educated. Higher education indoctrinates students to think logically and skeptically and to dismiss intuitive information.
“Scientific evidence and logical argument are considered legitimate, whereas intuitive knowing and higher wisdom are relegated to the realm of superstition.”
She continues, “It is difficult for highly educated, gifted adults to trust their intuitive insights, to discuss them openly and to write about them for fear of losing credibility within the scientific community. Gifted people have often felt that they needed to align themselves professionally with either science or intuition.
Fearful of inconsistencies
“While the majority of the population seems blithely unaware of contradictory elements of themselves, the gifted have what Betty Maxwell terms a ‘logical imperative’ that causes them extreme discomfort in the face of incongruities in their belief systems and between their beliefs and their actions.
“They are embarrassed by inconsistencies in their thought processes, even if no one else notices. Psychic life is full of wrestling matches between parts of the self that are at odds.”
[From Advanced Development: A Journal on Adult Giftedness, Volume 10, 2006.]
Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D., directs the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development, which has two subsidiaries, the Gifted Development Center and Visual-Spatial Resource, in Denver, Colorado.
Shutting the door on intuition
Another author, Tama J. Kieves (an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, and author of This Time I Dance!: Creating the Work You Love) points out, “It’s hard to let insights in, if we’ve dead bolted the doors. Sometimes we are begging for clarity, just as long as it’s a nice, tidy, respectable answer and preferably one that doesn’t really require us to change much at all.”
[Quote from her newsletter Trusting the Journey Times, May/June 2004, on her site.]
Intuition isn’t always right
But using our intuition isn’t simply a matter of always trusting it, assuming it must be veracious.
In his article Intuition or Intellect, David G. Myers notes, “My geographical intuition tells me that Reno is east of Los Angeles and that Rome is south of New York. But I am wrong.”
He quotes Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”
Both science & creativity rely on intuition
In her post More Curious than Cats [on site giftedadults.wordpress.com – now deleted], Catana writes that “studies of science and scientists also provide a good deal of what we know about intellectual creativity. Some people may find this surprising, assuming that science is a very dry, tedious affair. But one of the better kept secrets is that most scientists place a high value on imagination and intuition.”
Many writers extol the virtues of intuition for developing creative talents and enhancing life decisions. A study by University College London indicates you are more likely to perform well on a symbol discrimination task if “you do not think too hard and instead trust your instincts,” according to their press release article.
It’s perfectly rational
Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, says “Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings — thoughts and impressions that don’t seem entirely rational.
“But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It’s thinking — its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with ‘thinking.’
“In ‘Blink’ I’m trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on in inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better?”
Another book related to this topic: Strategic Intuition: The Creative Spark in Human Achievement.]
Using both intellect and intuition
Being creative isn’t a matter of stopping our intellect, as writer Susan K. Perry, PhD notes, “I don’t believe that when you get into a creative place, you’re giving up thinking. You’re super-thinking — better and with more parts of your mind than you do normally.”
From my article Creativity and Flow Psychology.
Also quoted in the “Awareness – Thinking – Intuition” section of my book
Developing Multiple Talents: The personal side of creative expression.
Kim Basinger photo from Actress Archives.
Malcolm Gladwell photo from post: Linda Silverman & Malcolm Gladwell on the high aptitude personality