Have you ever been thinking of a friend, only to have that friend call you a few minutes later? Have you ever had a sudden sense that “something is wrong,” only to come home and find that your brother got a flat tire earlier in the day? Have you ever had a dream, whose events seemed to come to pass in some way?
Of course you have. These experiences are exceedingly common, and I would be surprised to find someone who could not relate at least one story like this.But here’s the more important question: does your experience demonstrate that you have some kind of mysterious power, that “intuition” is some real ability that can guide us and that we can develop by doing inane imagination exercises?
Of course not. Occurrences like those mentioned above are adequately accounted for by a combination of coincidence, confirmation bias, and the pattern-seeking functions of the brain, as I’ve explained elsewhere on this blog (like here, for example). But one thing I haven’t addressed so explicitly is this idea of “intuition,” the notion that one’s feelings actually provide information about the world and the related idea that one’s feelings actually provide information about what is “right” for the individual.During various conversations with supernaturalists and religionists of all stripes – ranging from Christians to Hindus to people who practice supernaturalist religions based on Thelema – my interlocutors often bring up intuition.
How, they ask, do I account for intuition? Where, they demand, does intuition fit into my view of the world?
The purpose of this post is to examine the idea of intuition and to demonstrate that the common notion of intuition can actually be a great impediment to the intelligent practice of Thelema.Read on for more.