Intuition is the immediate perception that we have of truth. It crops up spontaneously, unbidden, within us without us having to think to obtain it. All of a sudden, we know something, which a second before we were unaware of. With an intuition we obtain immediate solution to a problem, gain clarity in a complex situation or a good idea of the value of a person.

The speed with which an intuition comes excludes that it is the result of reflections. It appears in us with a striking suddenness that it elicits remarks such as: ‘It came like lightning!’ or ‘It was like a flash!’ or ‘In a fraction of a second I had the solution to the problem!’

Another characteristic of intuition is a feeling of obviousness it gives to the recipient, for whom the perception is perfectly true and correct. He is so convinced that it is true that he is ready to take decisions and actions which for the people who are not privy to the intuition seem to be unwise, very risky or even foolish. A person is in a good professional situation but he receives an intuition that he should change and do something else. His surrounding is horrified by this decision, which seems rather impetuous, but even so he is convinced and goes ahead with his move. Hindsight would show that it was a very good decision.

Beside the intuition we have another faculty, which is rational thinking or what is also called the intellect. This is the stance of our day-conscious behaviour. With rational thinking the insight is not immediate; it takes time to come. It is the result of a whole process; we have to gather information, classify and analyse it, make deductions, inferences in order to arrive at a new piece of knowledge. So it takes time and is therefore not spontaneous as is intuition.

Since intellectual knowledge is the result of reasoning, there are proofs that it is correct. But this knowledge does not invoke the feeling of obviousness which is given with the intuition.

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