the gut chronicles (or) just because.
January 4, 2011 § 7 Comments
trusting your instinct never, ever seems like a good idea.
it’s not something you should make a project of thinking about, actually. it’s something you need to let sneak up on you so when your brain asks, you can pretend it wasn’t your ill-advised idea to let your mind go hippie. like most hippies, of course, it’s probably more pragmatism than patchouli, but who is listening? i’ve read that instinct as a phenomenon is a manifestation of evolutionary ‘memory’, a sort of retrievable databank of what has historically worked best for us as humans, but that can’t be true because it would require everyone’s instinct to always point to the right choice, and that can’t be right because quite simply, it’s too easy. easy isn’t sexy is it? no of course not. so we presume complexity, and onward, christian soldiers!
one way to work around this possible flaw in theory is, of course, to understand ‘great’ as simply indicative of the ability to survive. this theory makes me itchy, because we keep coming back to the bermuda triangle of definitions. who is to define ‘survive’? survive for how long exactly? evolution’s perspective on survival is necessarily in the nature of hindsight, and hindsight is not a lot of use to anyone looking for a theory workable in the present.
however this choice in thought does have some merits. this rationale would mean that it isn’t instinct that is faulty, it is human inability to comprehend it. it provides for a smooth shift from debating the very merits of intuition to simply the extent of probability of it; to assume the existence of intuition in argument is to have won it, for the rest is only details.
another theory is that intuition is simply a parallel problem-solving track to your conscious mind. the extent of the demands we make on it determines how much it needs to work in the background of our conscious mind. after all, multitasking is hot, but the same cannot be said for confusion; (all of you who were about to say ‘bridget jones‘, uh, no. thanks! :) )
why a parallel track though? why give the human brain the ability to take so much upon itself that it is pushed into having to work undercover? why not limit the brain to dealing with conscious thought? why demand overwork and why make that possible? if nobody had the ability to run these parallel tracks of thought, no one would demand it of anyone else. we would work five-day weeks from nine to five and go home to our wives and kids; hell, if our wives smoked, we’d be french. and give or take one inflated euro and one sarkozy, french is a pretty good place to be at. :)
these questions are answered if you consider that a subconscious is an evolutionary response, and that would tie in neatly with the first theory as well. (i must admit i love how this is turning out)
anyway, if intuition is the subconscious track of the rational mind, it follows that it is as dependable as the conscious rational mind. the delicious irony here is, of course, that i am using my conscious mind to evaluate my unconscious one; the fact of it being unconscious means i am effectively blind to it’s mechanics, and have to proceed along a constantly building series of assumptions; this means that every new conclusion i have has a risk of being inaccurate at a squared off rate :) there is some poetry – or poetic justice there – but i can’t see clearly enough to tell.
what is inescapable either way is that intuition is good only as long as you trust it. the infamous leap of faith, and i’ll take it because, well because it, uh, feels right.
i really wish i had a sexier reason. :(