Is It Worth Relying On Our Intuition?

People often use their judgment – the ability to make decisions that are based on careful consideration of facts, principles, etc. We often make plans and analyze the situation before doing something. As the English proverb says, ‘Measure thrice and cut once’. But sometimes we make right decisions and good choices without logical reasoning or learned skill. Such power of understanding is called intuition. Intuition has been the subject of study in psychology, as well as a topic of interest in the supernatural. ‘Intuition is a knowing, a sensing that is beyond the conscious understanding’.

Students, doctors, housewives, teachers, plumbers and stockbrokers all use intuitive judgment. Everyone does. Minor or major decisions are often made based on instinct and feeling, even when the reason for the feeling is unclear. Intuition is a natural faculty which everybody has. But not everybody recognizes and trusts his intuitive information.

Intuition is very close to insight – a sudden, clear, but not always complete understanding. Intuition and insight are important elements in creativity, the human response to an ever changing environment. Both insight and intuition are in the realm of the unconscious.

Some people don’t believe that it is worth relying on intuition. They think that it is eccentric and irrational, but sometimes our inner voice is an excellent guide. Even Einstein arrived at his biggest contribution through intuition. The famous scientist said that ‘the only real valuable thing is intuition’. Of course, there are many situations where analysis and rationality are superior to intuition. Intuition may not be helpful in determining another’s personality. The situation may not give the observer an opportunity to see the traits that would indicate the personality. But there are many situations when our intuition can help us find the right answer to the most complicated question.

We sometimes have an impulse that we should or shouldn’t do something. For example, our intuition silently prompts us that it is better not to trust a particular person or not to go to some place. And these sudden decisions that are difficult to explain turn out to be the best ones. We may feel very enthusiastic about some project, without really knowing why. Or we may be sure that our plans are going to fail but we don’t understand the reason for our apprehensions.

There are some cases when intuition saves people’s lives. For example a person is to go on a business trip. But suddenly he begins feeling some inexplicable fear and discomfort and makes up his mind to buy a railway ticket instead of going by plane. And later he finds out that the plane he was to fly by has crashed. At the same time we shouldn’t confuse intuition with emotions, fantasies and prejudices. Not every spontaneous emotion can be interpreted as intuition.

Some scientists say that it is possible to develop intuition. We need to exercise and educate it. It is very important to become more conscious of our intuition and how it operates and to analyze the situations when it helped us. Making mistakes and learning from them is also essential to developing your sixth sense. The guiding role of intuition should not be ignored or underestimated. It helps us pattern our behaviour and make right decisions in uncertain situations and unknown areas.

1. Complete each sentence (A-H) with one of the endings (1-8): A. Sometimes we make right decisions and good choices without
B. Intuition has been the subject of study in psychology, as well as
C. Intuition and insight are
D. Intuition may not be helpful in
E. We sometimes have an impulse that we
F. It is very important to become more conscious of our intuition and
G. Making mistakes and learning from them is also
H. Intuition helps us
1. important elements in creativity.
2. how it operates.
3. a topic of interest in the supernatural.
4. essential to developing your sixth sense.
5. logical reasoning or learned skill.
6. pattern our behaviour and make right decisions in uncertain situations and unknown areas.
7. should or shouldn’t do something.
8. determining another’s personality.
2. Give the definitions of the following words – judgment
– insight
– rationality
– apprehension
– prejudice
– sixth sense
3. Agree or disagree with the following statements. Explain your point of view – Intuition is more efficient in decision making than logical thought.
– Women are more intuitive than men.
– Problem solving requires both judgment and intuition.
– Listening to your inner voice is eccentric and irrational.
– Intuition is knowledge we are not born with.
– The guiding role of intuition should not be ignored or underestimated.
4. Answer the questions 1) Why is judgment important in decision making?
2) Do you agree with the proverbs ‘Measure thrice and cut once’ and ‘Haste makes waste’? Comment on your answer.
3) What is intuition?
4) When is it worth relying on intuition to your mind? Why?
5) In what situations are analysis and rationality superior to intuition?
6) Has your intuition ever helped you? How?
7) Do you know any cases when intuition helped people make important discoveries/changed their fate/saved their lives?
8) Is it possible to develop intuition? How?

5. Fill in the table
It Is Worth Relying On Our Intuition? For……………

Against……….
6. Read the quotations below. Choose any statement and comment on it – ‘Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data.’ (John Naisbitt)
– ‘Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality.’ (Alexis Carrel)
– ‘Intuition does not in itself amount to knowledge, yet cannot be disregarded by philosophers and psychologists.’ (Corliss Lamont)
– ‘Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.’ (Florence Scovel Shinn)
– ‘Intuition is truly a feminine quality, but women should not mistake rash conclusions for this gift.’ (Minna Antrim)
– ‘Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.’ (Jonas Salk)
– ‘It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.’ (Henri Poincare)
– ‘Trusting our intuition often saves us from disaster.’ (Anne Wilson Schaef)

Read the article below. Summarize the contents of the article and discuss the major problems touched in it.

Should you trust your intuition? Professor Guy Claxton, author of Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind, claims we have three basic mind speeds: slow, contemplative thought; deliberate thought; and intuition, which is faster than logical thought and may be more efficient. There are thousands of cues in our environment that we might not notice consciously, but nonetheless may inform our intuitive choices. Our impulse might be to dismiss our intuition, but, in some cases, relying on instinct is not only faster, it may also give us more satisfaction. Studies show that when we are asked to make a choice without having to explain it, we tend to be happier with that choice four weeks later than if we were asked to give a rational explanation.

Female intuition Popular myth suggests that women are innately more intuitive than men. Men (so the myth goes) are rational thinkers, women are emotional feelers. In fact, research conducted at the University of Hertfordshire found that not only were male volunteers slightly more accurate at recognising a fake smile, female volunteers tended to rate themselves more highly on their intuitive skills. In conflicting research, psychologist Judith Hall found women to have greater non-verbal sensitivity: they were better able to read a situation without verbal clues. Indeed, other research has suggested that the more intuitive we believe we are, the less accurate our judgments tend to be. Perhaps believing the hype about female intuition could in fact, reduce the overall accuracy of your decision making.
Sarah Wilson The Guardian, Saturday 7 March 2009

A. What is intuition? Give the definition of this word and compare it with your group mates’ variants.

B. Read the text ‘Is It Worth Relying On Our Intuition?’ and try to find the answer to this question.


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