Intuition and the Creation of a Better World

Hillman, James

The traditional mode of perceiving the invisible is intuition. Intuition also includes what I have called mythic sensibility, for when a myth strikes us, it seems true and gives sudden insight.

In psychology intuition means "direct and unmediated knowledge", "immediate or innate apprehension of a complex group of data". (1) Intuition is both thoughtless and also not a feeling state; it is a clear, quick, and full apprehension, "the significant feature being the immediacy of the process". (2) Intuitions "occur to a person without any known process of cogitation or reflective thinking" (3).

Another important characteristic of intuition is the way it works. It does not expand slowly as a gradual suffusion of mood; nor does it advance by thought, step by step; nor does it come to its insight by a careful examination of sensate details that compose the whole object before me. As I said, intuition is clear, quick, and full. Like a revelation it comes all at once, and fast. It is quite independent of time – just as myths are timeless, and fall apart when we ask of them temporal questions such as "When did this occur?" "What is the origin?" "Did the myth develop?" "Are there no new myths?" "Don't they result from historical events?" And so on.

James Hillman, The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling, pp. 97-99,(1) & (3) H.B. & A.C. English, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Psychological and Analytical Terms (2) H.C. Warren, ed., Dictionary of Psychology

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