|Home||Emotion and Abreaction||List of Articles||Glossary|
|< previous||Article 4 of||Section 1. The Pursuit of Truth||next >|
The links in the table on the left take you to sub-headings on this page.
A Model of Intuition
How does intuition function? Intuition seems to be mysterious and romantic, but it appears this way only as long as it is not understood. It is a feature of consciousness and hence can be analysed. Where does it fit into consciousness ? I consider intuition to be complementary to rationality.
Intuition functions within a mental loop. This is not unusual since consciousness uses many mental loops. One important loop is the loop of projection and introjection, and I consider that intuition works in the same way that this does.
I need to give an overview of this loop of projection and introjection. In addition, I compare intuition with rationality (see also the article Reason and Intuition).
|Sub - Headings|
|The Basis Loop|
|Diagrams 1a, 1b, 1c|
|Loop of Power|
|Loop of Intuition|
According to the model that I use, consciousness is made up of will (or will power), mind and feeling. In this model, consciousness is not the same as mind. And mind itself has two aspects, those of rationality and intuition. These aspects produce mixed responses in people. Scientists prefer rationality and repudiate intuition. Religious people may favour intuition in place of reason. However, there is no need for partiality since these aspects fulfil different roles in thinking.
The production of new ideas requires the creativity of intuition. However, before intuition can function, the thinker has to exhaust the fruitfulness of existing ideas. Intuition takes the person beyond what he already knows. If the person know little or nothing about a subject, then intuition can deliver little except symbolic and vague understanding - just an outline with little content. Fruitful analytical thinking is a dialogue between intuition and reason, within a subject area that the person has already studied.
Analytical thinking requires both intuition and reason, or more correctly, both intuition and insight. These two terms represent different modes of analysis. The two tools needed for analytical thinking are logical ability and the ability to observe the associations between ideas ; for the latter ability psychological acumen is required. The first ability generates insight, and the second one intuition. Each operates in its own way on the base of knowledge that the thinker possesses.
I give two definitions.
is an inference
that is validated by reason.
Intuition is an inference that is validated by the thinker’s belief systems.
|Top of Page|
Now I can introduce my ideas on projection and introjection. How do they work? First of all, the way that I separate them is that the mechanism of projection centres primarily on desire, and the mechanism of introjection centres primarily on emotion. Then the way that I put them back together forms them into a loop. The two mechanisms can be thought of as meshing together and forming a loop, or circle, in the way that they function. The loop is a circle of desire and emotion. The loop ties together desire with emotion. [¹].
In order to formulate the loop, I conceived of two half-circles, arranged around the two different factors that affect the will. The two factors are desire and belief. The interaction of will and mind generates desire, and the interaction of feeling and mind produces emotion. [²]. To understand how the loop functions, there are two factors that need to be separated : that which concerns the control of the will, and that which concerns how the will is used.
The diagrams represent consciousness, with ‘mind’ in the yellow boxes. In this model, consciousness is the summation of three factors, those of will (or will power), mind, and feeling.
Diagram 1a – Projection
This diagram illustrates the mechanism of projection, and indicates that desire is the way of using the will.
Desire is the primary feature of this half-circle. The will interacts with mind and so stimulates desire ; this desire has as its aim the generation of an acceptable emotional response. The emotion has its base in feeling. Desire and emotion link together through their common component of mind.[³]. Hence this route is from will to feeling.
|Top of Page|
Diagram 1b – Introjection
This diagram illustrates the mechanism of introjection and indicates that the will is controlled by beliefs.
Belief is the primary feature of this half-circle. Feeling is directed, via its interaction with the mind, into beliefs that are of psychological or existential importance to the person. Such beliefs become emotive ones. Unless it has a base in feeling, a belief has no lasting value to the person. Beliefs are the means of creating values and meanings. As such they become the way to control the will.
Faith is almost the most powerful underpinning that can be given to a belief (only the need to survive can be more powerful ) ; when this underpinning occurs, the belief becomes a very potent factor of consciousness. Faith can be viewed as the primary basis of emotive beliefs ; in other words, all such beliefs have a component of faith. 
Putting these two half circles together we get the basic form of the mechanism of projection and introjection.
Diagram 1c – Loop of Projection and Introjection
|Top of Page|
The basic form of the loop becomes the model for the use of power. Power introduces content into the model ; more importantly, power brings the role of happiness into it.
Happiness is usually the preferred kind of emotional experience. And the most common kinds of desire usually centre on power, such as power over oneself (or self-control), and power over other people, and power over the environment. As I see it, the most common form of the loop ties together power with happiness. A person can only be lastingly happy if he or she has the power to maintain it. 
Diagram 1d – Loop of Power and Happiness
The ‘Desire’ of the primary loop now becomes the desire for power, and the ‘Belief ’ becomes the expectation of happiness.
|Top of Page|
Using the model of the loop I can explain what intuition does. Intuition has a component of feeling, and it is this that separates intuition from reason. In the loop, intuition links together a desire and a belief through their common, or associated, feeling. Intuition can enable us to identify the belief that is the ground of the desire.
When a person is confronted with a difficult problem, what he desires most intensely is to resolve it. If this occurs then he will be happy. The ‘desire’ component of the loop becomes the desire for the resolution of the problem.
If the problem does not have a psychological component, such as the search for a mathematical solution to a puzzle, then the answer that resolves the problem is likely to represent truth. Whereas, when psychological issues are present, then the answer that resolves the problem is more likely to represent need (the solution is aligned to the person's belief systems).
In either case, the clearing up of confusion over the problem brings happiness.
Diagram 1e – Loop of Intuition
During the early days of my psycho-analysis I was often puzzled by a feature of analysis. Sometimes after making an inference about a problem I felt the joy of understanding that problem ; but at other times this joy was absent and left me puzzled as to the validity of my inference. Only a long time afterwards did I understand that the joy arises from the emotional component of intuition. Whereas logical insight is devoid of emotion. Nevertheless, even after logical thinking there is the glow of triumph at the end of a piece of difficult analysis, when everything falls into place. Though here the glow of triumph represents aesthetic satisfaction rather than understanding.
Insight is more reliable than intuition, but the range of application of insight is far narrower than the range of application of intuition. Neither reason nor intuition is infallible. The deductions afforded by reason are likely to be inaccurate if the range of data is insufficient to adequately understand the issue at hand. And intuition is limited by the adequacy of the thinker’s belief systems.
This article is about how intuition functions as a loop within the mind. This loop can then be accessed by a source of creativity, which usually (but not always) means either the subconscious mind or the person's soul.
|Top of Page|
The number in brackets at the end of each reference takes you back to the paragraph that featured it. The addresses of my other websites are on the Links page.
[¹]. These notes are drawn from a longer article, Projection and Introjection, on my psychology website Discover Your Mind. 
In the model of
that I use, the definitions of desire and emotion
Desire is the activity of will directed into a mental concept.
Emotion is the activity of feeling directed into a mental concept.
They are explained in the 1st article on Emotion on my psychology websites. 
[³]. See note 2. 
. There is an article Faith on my websites Discover Your Mind and The Strange World of Emotion. 
. These notes are expanded in a longer article, Power, on my psychology website Discover Your Mind. 
The articles in this section are :
@2003 Ian Heath
All Rights Reserved
The copyright is mine and the articles are free to use. They can be reproduced anywhere, so long as the source is acknowledged.
If you want to contact me, use the address above but replace the <at> by @
It may be a few days before I can respond to correspondence.