Santa Fe Institute’s Intuition Lecture Frustrates Intuitive

There was a Freudian-slip like typo in the Pasatiempo advertisement for this event. The headline read: “Appealing to Institutions: why we can’t get along without them”. (It should have read: Appealing to Intuitions: why we can’t get along without them”.) Perhaps no one could believe in the pairing of The Santa Fe Institute and “intuitions”. “Institutions” sounds so much better! If I’d seen this before going, I would have probably had the psychic flash the lecture was going to stick to the dismissive party line.

Speaking of intuition, I wonder if last night’s guest speaker on Intuition took a deep breath before speaking, to tune into her audience and get a feel of their level of shared comprehension? Concepts and descriptions were put in a way that tired my brain in no time, which happens when I’m confronted with too many allusions to a knowledge base I don’t have, or language that relies heavily on unfamiliar schematics. I short-circuited after about 20 minutes and got up to leave.

I did retain Ms. Rebecca Goldstein’s initial description of intuition, though: A person can feel struck by the truth of something as if they’re struck by a bolt of lightning, so sure their intuition is true and real. An intuition engenders a state of belief that “floats above reason.” Another person can have their own intuition about an opposite thing, and it also strikes them like a bolt of lightning; they know it to be true. In other words, if it’s an intuition, “p equals p”, and also,” p does not equal p.”

To me this is not a description of intuition, but of one feature of intuition, the distinct felt-sense of intuition, where “you just know it’s true.” This one aspect is fairly irrelevant given the real reason anyone talks about intuition: the phenomenon of being able to know things. The common knowledge that communication takes place in incomprehensible ways.

It’s also all too easy to liken Ms. Goldstein’s example to delusional behavior, or the state a knight (“just knowing God’s on his side”) is likely to be in who joins the Crusades. One religious zealot could be sure that p equals p, and another zealot could be dead sure p equals not-p.

I assume the speaker is intuitive and has experiences of directly receiving knowledge or she wouldn’t be interested in the subject. Why not address that most interesting potential in a more respectful and meaningful-to-people description of intuition, at the very beginning?

Elissa Heyman, Psychic Counseling and Spiritual Healing, in person/by phone,Santa Fe, NM 87501, 505-982-3294 or