How can we know something without learning it?
This has baffled me for longer than I can remember; some people seem to learn things without being taught – this is how social skills are supposed to develop. I can see that some people are able to gauge subtle social clues without the context that I require; but it still amazes me that this is possible. A symptom of my perspective perhaps? Or maybe it is simply not the type of knowledge that is available to me because I perceive something different.
I have long maintained that my tendency towards philosophy was not taught; it was something I came across organically. It evolved from spiritual beliefs that I developed and shed over the course of two decades. I have always wanted to know more about the world we inhabit; my curiosity cannot be sated any other way. However, it was inevitable that I fell into quite a few conspiracy traps.
Trying to distance myself from the ideas I had in the past implies that I am ashamed of them. This would be like saying the journey is pointless thus only the goal is relevant. This is not the case – I try to put some distance between those less verifiable ideas because I value what can be tested and systematically proven. In other words, I advocate for the value of science even though I do not always agree with the conclusions drawn.
That is not to say that I abandon all the ideas I formed prior to academia. When discussing phenomena in general, I try to maintain a philosophical scientific analysis – yet when it comes to personal experience; I have found that trusting that which we call instinct, or intuition, has served to allow me to function in times when I needed it most. Instead of allowing life to happen to me; I take control by shaping my own destiny.
Emotion and logic have never been comfortable bed fellows, yet I believe that striking a balance between the two extremes is what is required to live a life to maximum potential. Can I verify that this is a true belief and justify my claim to this intuitive knowledge? Perhaps this is the wrong question. Maybe we should be asking: why must personal epistemic claims be proven publicly if they work?
I am not attempting to persuade anyone that my experiences are valid for everyone. Neither am I trying to tell anyone how they ought to live their lives – maybe this is where philosophy has failed: there is no categorical imperative for the human condition because we are all truly unique. No one should try and persuade you of their beliefs if they are true; others ought to be able to see for themselves.
There is an issue here in that when we give priority to intuition, we are blinded to the possibility that we can be wrong. I am glad that I kept all my diaries over the years despite how embarrassing some of the ideas are. Admitting that strongly held beliefs are mistaken is harder for than most people realise, but it is equally empowering if handled well.
Accepting the possibility that you could be wrong allows for all sides of the argument to be clearly presented and analysed. This is where the logical aspect of dealing with situations can enhance experience and progress towards a better understanding.
I had to learn social skill my own way because it does not come naturally to me. We can know what we do not know by exploring what we do know and improving upon it. Thinking like a philosopher is what comes naturally to me.
By stretching my imagination beyond perceived limits, I enhance my experience of life.
That is my claim to intuitive knowledge.