A remarkably thorough tour of the nature of intuition, its important functions, and the means by which it may be sharpened for everyday use.
Nigel Percy and Maggie Percy (Dowsing for Health, 2018, etc.) observe that while everyone experiences some version of intuition, it remains elusive and resistant to rational explanation. Also, it carries connotations of the supernatural as a revelatory epiphany, delivered by seemingly magical means. The authors, with impressive intellectual rigor and subtlety, attempt to provide a scientifically defensible account of intuition that still does justice to how it appears to transcend physical perception. In the interests of clarity, the authors stick to a fairly narrow definition of intuition: any perception that’s not reducible to the five senses or deducible by rational procedure, which provides an “immediate insight or knowledge” that’s “associated with a different time or place.” They explore various ways in which intuitive judgment arises—relating them broadly to the “head,” the “gut,” and the “heart”—and plumbing the biological science behind these perceptions with admirable caution. They also investigate what they see as the greater cosmic context of intuition, connecting it to concepts from modern quantum physics. In addition, the book includes a series of exercises designed to bolster intuition through the exercise of mindful self-awareness and the use of a proper diet. Overall, the authors contend that intuition is only secondarily an instrument of self-preservation—one that’s better understood as a means to enjoying life that is “happier, richer, deeper, and more fulfilling.” As they develop this conclusion, what finally emerges is a profound image of human life that isn’t reducible to any kind of materialistic conception: “Our common attitude toward ourselves as a purely mechanical set of systems is, however, deeply wrong. It would be difficult to ascribe sensations of a ‘gut feeling’ to such a machine.”
An intellectually nuanced account of a mysterious element of the human experience.