Intuition - Part IIWritten by Sam Vaknin
The a-priori nature of intuitions of first and third kind led thinkers, such as Adolf Lasson, to associate it with Mysticism. He called it an "intellectual vision" which leads to "essence of things". Earlier philosophers and theologians labeled methodical application of intuitions - "science of ultimates". Of course, this misses strong emotional content of mystical experiences.
Confucius talked about fulfilling and seeking one's "human nature" (or "ren") as "the Way". This nature is not result of learning or deliberation. It is innate. It is intuitive and, in turn, produces additional, clear intuitions ("yong") as to right and wrong, productive and destructive, good and evil. The "operation of natural law" requires that there be no rigid codex, but only constant change guided by central and harmonious intuition of life.
II. Philosophers on Intuition - An Overview
But are intuitions really a-priori - or do they develop in response to a relatively stable reality and in interaction with it? Would we have had intuitions in a chaotic, capricious, and utterly unpredictable and disordered universe? Do intuitions emerge to counter-balance surprises?
Locke thought that intuition is a learned and cumulative response to sensation. The assumption of innate ideas is unnecessary. The mind is like a blank sheet of paper, filled gradually by experience - by sum total of observations of external objects and of internal "reflections" (i.e., operations of mind). Ideas (i.e., what mind perceives in itself or in immediate objects) are triggered by qualities of objects.
But, despite himself, Locke was also reduced to ideal (innate) intuitions. According to Locke, a colour, for instance, can be either an idea in mind (i.e., ideal intuition) - or quality of an object that causes this idea in mind (i.e., that evokes ideal intuition). Moreover, his "primary qualities" (qualities shared by all objects) come close to being eidetic intuitions.
Locke himself admits that there is no resemblance or correlation between idea in mind and (secondary) qualities that provoked it. Berkeley demolished Locke's preposterous claim that there is such resemblance (or mapping) between PRIMARY qualities and ideas that they provoke in mind. It would seem therefore that Locke's "ideas in mind" are in mind irrespective and independent of qualities that produce them. In other words, they are a-priori. Locke resorts to abstraction in order to repudiate it.
Locke himself talks about "intuitive knowledge". It is when mind "perceives agreement or disagreement of two ideas immediately by themselves, without intervention of any other... knowledge of our own being we have by intuition... mind is presently filled with clear light of it. It is on this intuition that depends all certainty and evidence of all our knowledge... (Knowledge is the) perception of connection of and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy, of any of our ideas."
Knowledge is intuitive intellectual perception. Even when demonstrated (and few things, mainly ideas, can be intuited and demonstrated - relations within physical realm cannot be grasped intuitively), each step in demonstration is observed intuitionally. Locke's "sensitive knowledge" is also a form of intuition (known as "intuitive cognition" in Middle Ages). It is perceived certainty that there exist finite objects outside us. The knowledge of one's existence is an intuition as well. But both these intuitions are judgmental and rely on probabilities.
Hume denied existence of innate ideas. According to him, all ideas are based either on sense impressions or on simpler ideas. But even Hume accepted that there are propositions known by pure intellect (as opposed to propositions dependent on sensory input). These deal with relations between ideas and they are (logically) necessarily true. Even though reason is used in order to prove them - they are independently true all same because they merely reveal meaning or information implicit in definitions of their own terms. These propositions teach us nothing about nature of things because they are, at bottom, self referential (equivalent to Kant's "analytic propositions").
The Psychology of Torture - Part IWritten by Sam Vaknin
There is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed – one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sadistically and sexually, with undisguised pleasure. Hence all-pervasive, long-lasting, and, frequently, irreversible effects and outcomes of torture.
In a way, torture victim's own body is rendered his worse enemy. It is corporeal agony that compels sufferer to mutate, his identity to fragment, his ideals and principles to crumble. The body becomes an accomplice of tormentor, an uninterruptible channel of communication, a treasonous, poisoned territory.
It fosters a humiliating dependency of abused on perpetrator. Bodily needs denied – sleep, toilet, food, water – are wrongly perceived by victim as direct causes of his degradation and dehumanization. As he sees it, he is rendered bestial not by sadistic bullies around him but by his own flesh.
The concept of "body" can easily be extended to "family", or "home". Torture is often applied to kin and kith, compatriots, or colleagues. This intends to disrupt continuity of "surroundings, habits, appearance, relations with others", as CIA put it in one of its manuals. A sense of cohesive self-identity depends crucially on familiar and continuous. By attacking both one's biological body and one's "social body", victim's psyche is strained to point of dissociation.
Beatrice Patsalides describes this transmogrification thus in "Ethics of Unspeakable: Torture Survivors in Psychoanalytic Treatment":
"As gap between 'I' and 'me' deepens, dissociation and alienation increase. The subject that, under torture, was forced into position of pure object has lost his or her sense of interiority, intimacy, and privacy. Time is experienced now, in present only, and perspective – that which allows for a sense of relativity – is foreclosed. Thoughts and dreams attack mind and invade body as if protective skin that normally contains our thoughts, gives us space to breathe in between thought and thing being thought about, and separates between inside and outside, past and present, me and you, was lost."
Torture robs victim of most basic modes of relating to reality and, thus, is equivalent of cognitive death. Space and time are warped by sleep deprivation. The self ("I") is shattered. The tortured have nothing familiar to hold on to: family, home, personal belongings, loved ones, language, name. Gradually, they lose their mental resilience and sense of freedom. They feel alien – unable to communicate, relate, attach, or empathize with others.
Torture splinters early childhood grandiose narcissistic fantasies of uniqueness, omnipotence, invulnerability, and impenetrability. But it enhances fantasy of merger with an idealized and omnipotent (though not benign) other – inflicter of agony. The twin processes of individuation and separation are reversed.