Monday, July 07, 2008

Why The Gut Is (Still) Not Smarter Than The Head

The Crystal Ball (1902, oil on canvas), wiki_*


[* 'The Crystal Ball' (1902, oil on canvas) by John William Waterhouse, courtesy wiki]


Because It Too Requires Training, That's Why

In the world of business, people give as much importance to the power of the brain as they do to their gut feeling. Is the person sitting across the table worthy of my trust to part my money with, never mind all the paperwork that is ready in the background and that will protect me from any fraud? Should I exercise a call or a put option in my favorite commodity in today's F&O market? Should I short-cover? Or should I sit quiet today and do nothing?

image by joeyt, sxc.hu


In the matter of relationships, it is nothing but the gut feeling that one relies upon - there is very little scope for the brain to give its opinion here. Is this the person I would like to have in my life? Is this the one I should be spending the rest of my life with? Or, in another realm, is my partner lying on me? Is there a whiff of betrayal in the air? Or am I only imagining things?

image by costi, sxc.hu


And when our decisions based on the gut feeling go for a toss, we lose faith in this ability. When we realize that the person who our hunch told us would be trustworthy didn't turn out to be so; when we realize that the put option actually wiped away the margin money kept with the broker and then some -- we feel cheated by our sense of self-interest.

image by clafouti, sxc.hu


When the decisions we make in the all-important aspect of relationships turn out to lead us up the garden path, we lose our confidence in our hunches. When the realization dawns that what we had thought would be bliss turned out to be disillusionment; when we realize that the suspicion we had about our partner or spouse turned out to be wrong -- we feel let down by our sense of self-preservation.

image by giniminigi


The reason why our gut feelings quite often let us down, is to my mind simply because we never pay any attention to training it. This most important faculty that we rely upon in crunch times -- tell me, did you ever seek to train or develop it properly? While there are established institutions to educate our brains to think logically and systematically and rationally, unfortunately there is no academy in this world which teaches us how to hone our gut instincts. And which conducts an examination at the end of the course and gives us a certificate to the effect that we passed.

Largest flawless quartz sphere - wiki_*


[* Largest flawless quartz sphere, weighing about 48 kg, with a diameter of about 13 inches, is displayed at National Museum of Natural History, DC, USA. Courtesy Sanjay Acharya, wiki.]


We train our muscles through exercising and gymming to get a better body. We train our brain cells through continuous practice of whatever concepts we are focused upon. We train our mind through meditation or positive self-affirmations. In the same way, we can train our gut instinct to give us better "hunch answers". But how?

'Consulting The Oracle', wiki_*


[* 'Consulting The Oracle' (1884), John William Waterhouse. Priestesses sitting in a 'Temple of Prophesy'.]


Googling on "psychic skills" throws up close to 300,000 web pages that claim to reveal techniques that can take you to instinct development. Howsoever elaborate and obscure and convoluted these techniques may prove to be, the first step begins with taking a stand that, one, it is indeed possible to develop it, and two, we have it in us to develop it. When the cynicism is left behind, when we get off our intellectual and rational high-horse, it automatically becomes easier to train oneself into anything. Belief is a basic prerequisite.

image by sandstrom, sxc.hu


Like any other, the domain of "psychic skills" has its own set of keywords and terms. Open any book worth the salt on the subject, and the terms begin to absorb you within themselves. "Clearing or releasing negative energy", "enlightenment", "karma", "meditative states", "releasing the past", "chakras", "chakra cleaning"... you better get used to them fast.

'Seven Chakras' by Pieter Weltevrede, wiki_*


[* "Seven Chakras" by Pieter Weltevrede - courtesy sanatansociety.com.]

This is not to encourage anybody to become a clairvoyant or a "psychic medium" or healer, although it would help all of us if somebody tries and does become one. But we would be all very happy if this special training can help our own gut instinct become more perceptive enough and sharp enough to guide us in those decisive moments: whether to buy or to sell some stock or piece of property, whether to let that someone enter our heart or to keep the doors closed... If we can achieve this much, our life would be happier.

image by weirdvis, sxc.hu

[While psychic skills are special techniques that require effort to developed, epiphanies seem to come out of thin air. And they come most unexpectedly, without rhyme or reason. What is so special about these moments when the epiphanies choose to pop into our mind? Here is one article that ponders this question: "Moments Of Epiphany - Be Alert When They Come".]

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