Intuition and the Creation of a Better World

Intuition in Science

Anderson, William

There is a huge hunger to know about the nature of the cosmos. We intuitively feel that the inner exploration of our natures is linked to the exploration of our planet, our solar system and the wider universe, that there is an identity between our highest selves and the mystery of the intelligence in creation.

We possess in our endowment of the poetic imagination a means of judging and evaluating the cosmological theories now current because all cosmologies are based on metaphor. We may not understand the mathematics that guide our astrophysicists on their mental journeys but we can grasp and judge the quality of the metaphors and images in which they express their ideas. Past cosmological systems can be seen very clearly at times as projections on to the heavens of social, political and religious preoccupations among the societies that developed these systems. We should be detached enough now to be able to do the same to current twentieth-century ideas.

William Anderson, The Face of Glory: Creativity, Consciousness and Civilization, pp. 106-107

Capra, Fritjof

Rational knowledge and rational activities certainly constitute the major part of scientific research, but are not all there is to it. The rational part of research would, in fact, be useless if it were not complemented by the intuition that gives scientists new insights and makes them creative. These insights tend to come suddenly and, characteristically, not when sitting at a desk working out the equations, but when relaxing, in the bath, during a walk in the woods, on the beach, etc. During these periods of relaxation after concentrated intellectual activity, the intuitive mind seems to take over and can produce the sudden clarifying insights which give so much joy and delight to scientific research.

Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, p. 32,

Capra, Fritjof

I see science and mysticism as two complementary manifestations of the human mind; of its rational and intuitive faculties. The modern physicist experiences the world through an extreme specialization of the rational mind; the mystic through an extreme specialization of the intuitive mind. The two approaches are entirely different and involve far more than a certain view of the physical world. However, they are complementary, as we have learned to say in physics. Neither is comprehended in the other, nor can either of them be reduced to the other, but both of them are necessary, supplementing one another for a fuller understanding of the world. To paraphrase an old Chinese saying, mystics understand the roots of the Tao but not its branches; scientists understand its branches but not its roots. Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science; but man needs both. Mystical experience is necessary to understand the deepest nature of things, and science is essential for modern life. What we need, therefore, is not a synthesis but a dynamic interplay between mystical intuition and scientific analysis.

Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, p. 324

Goodwin, Brian

While preserving what we have learned from reductionism and analysis, scientific method now needs to be extended to include ways of direct participation and knowing that give us insight into the properties of the coherent, emergent wholes that make up much of the natural world. Often called intuition or non-inferential knowing, this gives us insight into the qualities of organisms, landscapes, ecosystems, families, communities and organisations, allowing us to recognise whether they are healthy or stressed, integrated or fragmented, coherent or disturbed.

As we engage in this process of gaining knowledge, we ourselves are changed in ways that allow us to see how to behave responsibly in our engagement with the creativity of the world. Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, in their remarkable book The Tree of Knowledge, put it this way: "We have only the world we can bring forth with others, and only love helps bring it forth ... This is the biological foundation of social phenomena: without love, there is no social process and, therefore, no humanness." This is the way of 'science with love', which is the essence of the holistic approach to understanding and action.

Brian Goodwin, 'Patterns of Wholeness' in Resurgence, No. 216, January/February 2003, p. 14

Hoyle, Fred

Rather as the revelation occured to Paul on the road to Damascus, mine occured on the road over Bowes Moor. The time was the late 1960s, when Narlikar and I were struggling with the problem of the quantum mechanical signal from the future. We were tackling the non-relativistic theory at that stage, and were seeking a way to evaluate a multiple integral with a complicated integrand determined by a system of equations.

A small party of summer visitors to the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy at Cambridge was spending a few days in the Scottish Highlands. Because of a commitee meeting I was late in joining them. I started alone from Cambridge, driving north by way of Scotch Corner, Penrith, Carlisle and Stirling. As the miles slipped by I turned the quantum mechanical problem mentioned above over in my mind, in the hazy way I normally have in thinking mathematics in my head. Normally I have to write things on paper, and then fiddle with the equations and integrals as best I can, But somewhere on Bowes Moor my awareness of the mathematics clarified, not a little, not even a lot, but as if a huge brilliant light had suddenly been switched on. How long did it take to become totally convinced that the problem was solved? Less than five seconds. It only remained to make sure that before the clarity faded I had enough of the essential steps safely stored in my recallable memory. It is indicative of the measure of certainty I felt that in the ensuing days I didn't trouble to commit anything to paper. When ten days or so later I returned to Cambridge I found it possible to write out the thing without difficulty.

Fred Hoyle

Intuition Magazine

We honour the role of intuitive creative inspiration in literature, art and music, but tend to pay little attention to the fact that in many scientific breakthroughs, something quite unlike rational thought was involved.

For instance: The Periodic Table of Elements, which hangs in Chemistry classrooms throughout the world was revealed to Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in a dream after he had struggled for months to find a way to catergorise the elements.

Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, attributed his experiences of sudden illumination to a "conquering force within".

Nicola Tesla said this of his insight that became the basis for the alternating ÷ current electrical system: "The idea came like a flash of lightning, and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagrams shown six years later in my address before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers."

Albert Einstein described his theories as the "free invention of the imagination", not the result of scientific logic.

Intuition Magazine, December 1995

Lorimer, David

We are so accustomed to using categories which distinguish and divide, that it comes as something of a surprise to find physicist David Bohm saying that we are actually united by space, that a point is an abstraction from a line, the part a manifestation of the whole. In his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order Bohm explains that, from the point of view of physics, it is quite plausible to argue that the dynamic, flowing wholeness underlying the parts is more real than the parts as apparently separate abstractions: 'Each relatively autonomous and stable structure (e.g. an atomic particle) is to be understood not as something independently and permanently existent but rather as a product that has been formed in the whole flowing movement and that will ultimately dissolve back into this movement.'(1)

Bohm's scheme of manifest and non-manifest, explicate (unfolded) and implicate (enfolded) means that the function of the manifest world is to display separate units or individuals, while bearing in mind that 'each individual manifests the consciousness of mankind'.(2) In the manifest physical world the parts are separate but interacting, while 'in non-manifest reality it's all interpenetrating, interconnected in one.' In case there is some confusion about whether Bohm is referring to what underlies matter or to consciousness, it is necessary to clarify that the implicate order for Bohm is the ground of both. By definition each individual has access to the underlying cosmic totality of the implicate order, the source of compassion, love, intelligence and insight ÷ the effective and cognitive sources respectively. The mystical, according to Bohm, goes deep into the wholeness and flowing harmony of the implicate order, but in a way which is actually more consistent with ordinary experience than might appear at first sight. If this were better understood, people would see that 'mystical experience is really a heightening, and intensification, a deepening, of something they participate in'.(3) This penetrating assessment is entirely consistent with our finding that the sense of unity and reality is enhanced when in direct contact with the divine order. The paranormal finding that consciousness is not in space and that our senses tend to screen out more subtle communications in consciousness is taken a stage further by the discovery of an underlying unitive consciousness in which we all live and which provides the matrix of empathetic resonance.

David Lorimer, Whole in One, pp. 92-93 (1) David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, p. 14 (2)David Bohm, in Ken Wilber (ed)The Holographic Paradigm, p. 73 (3) ibid, p. 196

Lovelock, James

It is not commonly known, and it is rarely taught in schools that science like art and music is a very intuitive thing. If you ask scientists how they made a discovery, they will tell you it came to me in a flash. And it did. Then they spend at least two years trying to explain it first to themselves and then perhaps ten to forty years trying to explain it to their colleagues. But it comes to you as a flash of intuition and that is the way it happens. Don't be afraid of that. Don't think there is anything wrong about it. When it is written up in the textbooks, it would seem that it was all logical, but that is not how it really happens.

James Lovelock, Goi Peace Foundation Report, 1999 - 2000, p. 18

Sardello, Robert

The three shaping forces of the present world - science, technology, and economics - are extremely important because they give the soul something to push against in order for it to come into its central place as capable of making a world. When soul-making implies that these factors are wrong and that an alternate world is what is being sought by turning to soul, then we do not have soul but escapism. The danger that arises when there is not adequate balance to these outlooks is that we relinquish to these realms what belongs essentially to the work of soul. For every advance in the domains of science, technology, and economics, two steps are needed in soul work to keep from losing sight of soul. Science must be met by equal disciplines of careful research and observation of the inner side of things in order to complement knowing through the mind with knowing through the heart. Technology must be met at every step by an equal interest in how soul can actually function in the world, the challenge of practicing soul-work in the world. Economics must be balanced by learning care of the soul so that meaning does not come to be equated with outer possessions.

Robert Sardello, Love and the Soul: Creating a Future for Earth, pp. xvii-xviii

Needleman, Jacob

... scientists and laymen alike are taking [increasing interest] in the so-called "moment of insight", the "flash of intuition" that often accompanies influential scientific discoveries. A frequently cited example is the famous discovery of the form of the benzene molecule made by Kekule in 1865. After struggling with this problem until he saw no way out, Kekule one night dreamed of a snake eating its tail and awoke realizing the problem had been solved beneath the level of his ordinary thought. The discovery that organic chemical compounds take the form of rings was the basis of an entire branch of organic chemistry.
Many scientists have described to me their own experiences resembling that of Kekule. I, too, have had such moments; I'm sure many people have.

Jacob Needleman, A Sense of the Cosmos: Scientific Knowledge and Spiritual Truth. Rhinebeck, New York, Monkfish Book Publishing Company, 2003. pp. 105 - 106

Laszlo, Ervin

The current shift in science's concept of the world from a lifeless rock to an interconnected and quasi-living universe has intense meaning and significance for our times. The concept of a subtly interconnected world, of a whispering pond in and through which we are intimately linked to each other and to the universe, assimilated by our intellect and embraced by our heart, is part of humanity's response to the challenges that we now face in common. Our separation from each other and from nature is at the root of many of our problems; overcoming them calls for a recovery of our neglected, hut never entirely forgotten, bonds and connections. Unexpectedly but perhaps not entirely accidentally, the vision emerging in the workshops of the avant-garde sciences could inspire ways of thinking and acting that would go a long way toward facilitating current efforts to transform the specter of a global crisis into the splendor of a humane and sustainable civilization.

Ervin Laszlo, The Whispering Pond: A Personal Guide to the Emerging Vision of Science. Rockport, MA, Element Books, 1996. PP. 224 - 225

Laszlo, Ervin

You can open your consciousness to the sky by allowing the information that flows into your right hemisphere to inform your left hemisphere. To do this you must desist from dismissing your spontaneous insights, feelings and intuitions as fantasy; you must hold them and reflect on them as potentially deeply meaningful segments of your life’s experience....

Einstein, who was a highly intuitive person, noted that, in science, imagination is more important than reasoning. And Thomas Edison declared, in a little-known but remarkable essay, ...People say I have created things. I have never created anything. I get impressions from the Universe at large and work them out, but I am only a plate on a record or a receiving apparatus... (Gary Indiana Gazette, 1911).

Ervin Laszlo, 'Using your quantum brain to connect to the world', Huffington Post on line

Salk, Jonas

Reason alone will not serve. Intuition alone can be improved by reason, but reason alone without intuition can easily lead the wrong way. They both are necessary. The way I like to put it is that I might have an intuition about something, I send it over to the reason department. Then after I've checked it out in the reason department, I send it back to the intuition department to make sure that it's still all right. For myself, that's how my mind works, and that's how I work. That's why I think that there is both an art and a science to what we do. The art of science is as important as so-called technical science. You need both. It's this combination that must be recognized and acknowledged and valued.

Jonas Salk, Interview by Academy of Achievement, San Diego, May 16 1991 page 7/8. Published on line:

Tudge, Colin

Scientists must use their intuition, too, to tell them what is true. The maths alone doesn’t reveal the truth. It merely suggests possibilities. Most famously, the theoretical physicist and Nobel Prizewinner Paul Dirac said he judged the truth of an equation by its beauty. As Keats put the matter, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty … that is all ye need to know." Indeed the greatest scientists, like the greatest poets, are the most intuitive.

Colin Tudge, 'Asking the Big Questions', in Resurgence, Sept/Oct 2011, No. 268, p. 31

Radin, Dean

... experiments now show that people are much more efficient at making accurate intuitive decisions than previously thought. After describing one such experiment, Cosmides and Tooby concluded that "It may be time to... grant human intuition a little more respect than it has recently been receiving. The evolved mechanisms that undergird our intuitions have been subjected to millions of years of field testing against a very rich and complexly structured environment." These findings, all supporting the idea that there may be many valid ways of knowing, have helped to bring about a rapprochement between meditative disciplines and Western psychology and are fostering a new openness to reevaluating assumptions about the capabilities of the human mind.

Dean Radin, 'Testing Nonlocal Observation as a source of Intuitive Knowledge', in EXPLORE, The Journal of Science and Healing, Jan/Feb 2008, Vol 4 No 1, pp 25-35

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