Why is Intuition is so Important for Success in Business, Engineering, and Science, but is Missing from the Modern Conventional Education?

Steve Jobs is a brilliant example of an intuitive leader. He demonstrated how to be tremendously efficient comprising sensing and intuition. He knew how powerful his intuition was and used it adeptly. Jobs spent significant time and efforts trying to improve his unusual skills. He was an ardent proponent of intuition. Jobs believed intuition is an appropriate and important subject for young graduates. In the famous Stanford Commencement address (2005) Jobs several times emphasised intuition’ value: “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary” (Stanford).

Many great scientists, leaders, inventors of past and present have distinguished intuition and acknowledged limitations of formal knowledge. In an October 1929 The Saturday Post interview to poet and writer George Viereck, genius theoretical physicist Albert Einstein said: “I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am” (Viereck). In a September 2018 speech at the Economic Club of Washington, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said: “All of my best decisions in business and in life have been made with heart, intuition, guts… not analysis” (Hamilton). An essayist, scholar, option trader, risk analyst, and mathematical statistician Nassim Taleb in 2007 set limits of knowledge as base for his theory of Black Swan: “an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility” (Taleb). Founder of the Virgin Group Richard Branson in his autobiography (1998) wrote: “I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics” (Branson).

There is a big difference how high intuition is appreciated in business and how low in education. Intuition is not recognised as ‘contribution to knowledge’. An Austrian mathematician Hans Hahn in the lectures at the Vienna University in the 1920s considered intuition as a ‘force of habit rooted in psychological inertia’ (Hahn). Founder President of the International Group for the Psychology of Learning Mathematics in Israel Efraim Fischbein in his monograph “Intuition in Science and Mathematics: An Educational Approach” (1987) wrote: “intuition is tacitly but firmly considered as primitive feeling” (Fischbein). In a January 2006 “Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue” issue, a teacher from the Ricks Center for Gifted Children at the University of Denver Kevin Cloninger wrote: “There is such great emphasis on conformity and standardisation in education today that it is difficult to help foster intuition in the classroom” (Cloninger).

Our education system has explainable bias towards sensing. Almost every human has the similar five senses. Our ordinary five senses produce an ordinary outcome. Sensing outcome is measurable and achievable for everybody who possesses our ordinary five senses. By virtue of our five senses we can understand each other and the physical world around us. The issue is the most praised discoveries lay beyond our ordinary five senses. We admire Black Swan coming, we applaud visionaries for spotting Black Swans and for sharing their ability for vision, but we do nothing to reduce bias in our education system. The particular question was formulated by the Honorary Professor at Kings College London Leone Burton in a November 1999 issue of “For the Learning of Mathematics”: “Why Is Intuition So Important to Mathematicians but Missing from Mathematics Education?” (Burton). The general question is: why is intuition is so important for success in business, engineering, and science, but is missing from the modern conventional education? Intuition is a recognised part of human cognition. Numerous intuitive leaders have sung the prizes of intuition and shared intuition skills and experience. It is logical to include intuition training into conventional education system at least as facultative discipline for the beginning.

Jobs’ views are treasured for creating proven connection between rational and irrational sides of humanity. He fruitfully combined engineering knowledge with spiritual skills. His life and death fully demonstrated the current choice of our civilisation in favour of technology. Compelling spiritual powers and outstanding moral dilemmas are left neglected, sacrificed, and used only for technology progress. Jobs passion for harmony between humanity and technology is an instrumental ground rule for the future of the modern human civilization.

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