Issue #48 — 4.4 minutes
Hey y'all—Jake here. Today's post was written by Kirstin Hutton.
Kirstin has been a friend for quite some time now. I got to spend a lot of time with her and her husband, Pete, back when I lived in Columbus, Ohio. Despite living elsewhere now, we’ve always stayed in touch and I was lucky enough to see them when they visited the Pacific Northwest recently. I’ve appreciated our deep conversations and I was excited when she reached out about writing a guest post.
I’m so glad Kirstin chose this topic. She has great insight and communicates in an eloquent and poetic way, so you’re in for a treat.
👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
“Trust your gut” is age-old advice, but what does it really mean? When you’re between a metaphorical rock-and-a-hard-place, how do you define truth? When you’re choosing between the lesser of two evils (or the greater of two goods), how do you follow your intuition?
If you’re like me, everyone gets the benefit of the doubt except for yourself. Years of nature and nurture have trained us that who we are on the inside is far less than trustworthy. The idea that you might have an innate intuition to guide you has been drowned out by a million voices.
Simply defined, “intuition” is a person’s ability to perceive truth by their own knowledge of both their inner self and what they are evaluating, rather than through logical reasoning.
However, most of us learned early on that our instincts are wrong 95% of the time. That childlike faith in our own curiosity becomes a candle we tuck away as we learn:
Education and religion are ultimate sources of truth. The history books are fact and any other viewpoint is fiction. Powerful people have our best interests at heart.
And when these pillars fail us and the foundation cracks, we know we need to shift that trust, but have no clue where to place it. So we cycle through romantic partners that let us down, enable family members and forget to set boundaries with friends. We turn to our own anxieties and insecurities, and withdraw. Sometimes we just give up.
But there’s another option: “trust your gut.” While the concept of intuition has far deeper layers in philosophical reasoning, we’re just going to scrape the most applicable surface level here.
The highest wisdom is to trust this intuition and be guided by it. The answer to the last appeal of what is right lies within a man’s own breast. Trust thyself.
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
Intuition (is) perception via the unconscious.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
As the traveler who has lost his way throws his reins on his horse’s neck, and trusts to the instinct of the animal to find his road, so must we do with the divine animal who carries us through this world.
Notion without intuition is empty, intuition without notion is blind.
Most of us are in touch with our intuition whether we know it or not, but we’re usually in the habit of doubting or contradicting it so automatically that we don’t even know it has spoken.
Intuition is the undoubting conception of a pure and attentive mind, which arises from the light of reason alone, and is more certain than deduction.
But little by little as you left their voices behind… there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world… determined to save the only life you could save.
Finding our intuition again will take time, and earning our own trust again will take longer.
We have to quiet the other voices (heaven knows, they scream as loud as banshees). We have to apply analysis, questioning and experience. We have to re-train our own bodies and minds to believe that we are our strongest defender, our loudest advocate, our sagest advisor.
We have to seek that candle that we hid years ago and patiently add kindling to it, whisper the truth and build it up into a bonfire that can safely guide our decisions and allow us to honor who we really are. You can know yourself. You can trust yourself.
(I’d love if you could take the time to read Mary Oliver’s full poem The Journey here.)
✌️ Until next week, happy philosophizing.
Philosophy Phocus: Diogenes the Cynic
Humankind & Society
The Lazy Philosophy Podcast
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