walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

intuition

R. and I had a long, rambling and enjoyable conversation. I had a question about why I am so impatient -- specifically, where most people sometimes think things happen too quickly or too slowly, I almost universally think things happen too slowly. After a lot of discussion about decision making processes, he made a statement about how I decide things analytically, whereas most people do things intuitively. I've been told this kind of thing before, and it drives me nuts -- my _explanations_ are analytical, but the process is not.

It took me a couple hours, but I eventually figured out what the problem was. While the popular current understanding of intuition is "instinctive" and "not rational", the older idea of intuition is "looking over" or "knowing". I tend to think a lot about a lot of things, but particularly I tend to do a lot of "game-tree" thinking. I imagine in a lot of detail what might happen, and how I might respond. Then, when things happen, usually they are not exactly like what I imagined, but there are similarities, so I know quickly how I want to respond. Think of it as establishing a lot of domain knowledge. But it isn't a matter of, something happens, then I analyze it, weigh it, whatever. All that thinking happened ahead of time, when the moment comes, I just know.

Sometimes, the just knowing is utterly incomprehensible to me at the time. For example, my mother-in-law was really concerned about the lack of sidewalks at the house we are buying. I _knew_ it did not matter. It turned out that there _were_ sidewalks under all the snow. But I realized eventually that I _knew_ that if you buy in walking distance of shops and stuff like that, then things like sidewalks will work out. But if you buy a long distance from desirable things to walk to, all the sidewalks in the world will not get you out and about on them. Sidewalks are not the correct thing to make a decision on; distance from the shops (library, work, etc.) is the relevant consideration. But I just _knew_ -- it took me days to realize _why_ I knew.

The answer to the why-am-I-impatient question is considerably more complicated. It involves both the prepackaged domain knowledge/intuition thing (instead of waiting until the situation arrives, and then needing time to adapt), and a personal quirk in that I feel a very strong sense of agency and control over my environment. If I don't like the way things are around me, I very aggressively try to change them and in general, I'm fairly successful. Both these traits result in me tolerating a very rapid pace of change -- unless I'm surprised. When I'm surprised, all hell breaks lose. ;-)
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