Intuition and Intellect: An Expert's View


Hello, I need your elaboration on this topic: "Intellect and intuition:from Islamic Prespective."
 Secondly, I want to ask you, what is the relationship between intellect and intuition? And, how come we achieve sound and reasonable intuition(s) or how come we verify our intuitive knowledge? Thanks.

A Teacher:

Dear Muhammad,

 I know not enough about Islam to be able to give that perspective on intuition, however I can say more about what I understand about intellect and intuition.

Intellect and intuition are both aspects of how our brain and mind works.  We are born with both: what we inherit from our parents and then though our experiences.  Both can be expanded and developed throughout our lives.  Our intellect is developed though our schooling and our interests.  This is a very obvious process - we start atnursery school and eventually might go on to do post graduate work.  I saw a programme about Stephen Hawkins recently and he certainly has an intellect!

 Turning to intuition that is more a silent process and generally not taught in schools.  However, as children we learn by observation how the world works and we develop knowing that is outside our conscious awareness.  Our intuition will communicate with us in non verbal, silent ways for example it will give us a "gut feel" about something and at the time we might not know what that was about.  A little time later it all makes sense so our intuition is fast and often it takes a while for our conscious mind to catch up. 

 What our unconscious mind - intuition - picks up are small signals, makes and judgement about it.  For example, a racing car driver who was approaching a bend suddenly found himself braking hard.  He did not know why but then as he turned into the bend there was a accident ahead and if he had carried on at his normal speed he would have crashed himself.  Was this intuition?  Well yes and no because later he realised he had seen something out of the ordinary which made him brake.  On previous circuits the crowd were looking at him as he approached the bend.  This time they were facing towards the bend and with hindsight he realised they were looking at the crash.  His unconcious processing knew what ahead was not usual and so put the brakes on.  There are lots more examples like this which explains how intuition works.

 Hope this helps!!


4 did criticisms:

Richard said...

That makes a lot of sense. I think that the intellect has more to do with the conscious mind while the intuition has to do with the unconscious. The two are inherently linked, but the one has more to do with taking in surroundings and processing based on previous experiences while the other has to do with the processing of information which is gathered through research / learning.

At the same time, it makes sense to me that the two would develop together, because the same deductive reasoning skills are applied to both, and as you develop these skills both intellect and intuition are furthered.

M. Umer Toor said...

Richard, whatever little I have read so far about intuition (some call it 'analogical inference', gut feelings, et al), and less little about intellect, supremely testifies your thoughts. Though, I am not clear if intuition can transcend contexts (semantics say that every meaning, of a word or sentence or phrase, is context-bound). But when I look at the word 'Allah', it is a transcendent word, says Hamid Elgar, having no origin from any word, as some claim it to be.

So what do you think about it? I've asked some philosophers about it, as I've published it, they say no, you cannot transcend/go beyond above facts!


Richard said...

Yea, I'd have to say that while facts are an integral part of reasoning, they are not the beginning or the ending of an outcome. As a result I don't believe that facts are the end of everything, and that there must be more, even if only to make space for the fact that we may be wrong.

So, yes I do believe that we need to look pasts facts in order to come to any credible conclusion, even if it requires some level of faith. That's not to say that we must disregard facts that don't 'suite' our argument, but it does mean that we always need to have a touch of faith.

It would be foolish to disregard faith all together.

M. Umer Toor said...

That's what faith demands at certain occasions. Here I come remember words of Martin Lings he said about Shakespeare, "Shakespeare unlike Milton, has no illusions about the scope of reason. He knew that since reason is limited to this world it is powerless to 'justify the ways of God'." For that Lings say we need the 'faculty of vision' which is intellect, symbolised, he says, by 'the Holy Grail and by the Elixir of Life'. Are you availble with books by authors like Frithjof Schuon, Seyyed Hossien Nasr, rene Genoun, Huston Smith???

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