"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." – Albert Einstein
I often see intuitive personality types (particularly INFPs such as myself, and INFJs) using this quote to praise the intuitive trait. I certainly have no problem with that, and I myself am proud of my intuitive mind, but I find myself praising the intuitive mind less and less when I think of this quote. Don't get me wrong, I love the rush I get when a seemingly brilliant theory just clicks into place in my head, but a problem arises with that process.
The intuitive mind is important, because it gives people the ability to come up with new ideas when there are few outside resources which could lead them to those ideas. However, it is dangerous as well. The intuitive mind reasons in the sub-conscience, and then reveals the conclusions in the conscience without immediately disclosing the process which lead to the conclusion. This is certainly beautiful, and I love it, but it is also frustrating. Those of us who think this way struggle to explain our beliefs to others because others require evidence, and that is good. It is good that proof for the validity of our claims is required.
The reason why that makes the intuitive mind dangerous, is because it often makes us feel pressured to prove ourselves, so we backward engineer our reasoning. It is usually a bad idea to do that. It is better to start from the bottom of whatever we are trying to prove, and work from there, but the intuitive mind does not like to do that. We don't like to set our conclusion aside and take an objective look at the subject in question, because we risk finding a conclusion that contradicts our own. That's a hard thing to do.
I don't think the gift has been forgotten. People love intuition! People love when an idea seems to just slide effortlessly into place, like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, without having to drudge through all the other pieces first. I would argue that the faithful servant has been forgotten. The rational mind which looks at the conclusion, and immediately says, "Let's analyze this. Let's see if this is correct." The rationality which looks at the jigsaw puzzle and says, "Wait, I want to take this apart and see if I can put it together again myself."
Few people want to analyze their own conclusions, and that is the very thing which the rational mind, the faithful servant, excels at. I will always love my intuitive mind, but I hope that I never forget the vital need of the rational mind. The intuitive mind only remains a sacred gift if the rational mind is there to apply rigorous discipline. Otherwise, the intuitive mind becomes like a false prophet, and an unquestioned false prophet is anything but a gift.
Thank you for reading my blog.