14 new insights reveal how intuition controls mind
1. The dilemma of control. We did not choose to be born. Not only were we pitched into this strange world without our permission, it has also now been confirmed that we lack even sufficient control over our own actions. To all outward appearances, human beings perceive world, recognize objects and events, direct attention and even control their bodies. Outwardly, we also have a free will. But, in reality, we were scarcely in charge. Science described activities of a region called limbic system, buried deep within brain. Being a more primitive part of brain, this region was reported to be seat of emotions. 2. The limbic system controls. Electrical stimulation of neurons in this region caused you to feel anger, fear, or shame. More often than not, wide range of feelings and emotions, generated by this region, controlled our actions. Did your wishes, or limbic system finally decide your actions? This was easily verified. Whenever you wished, could you raise your hand high? Sadly, no. While hand obeyed your wish while sitting alone in a room, it would be frozen in place in, say, a theatre. Fear of public opinion decided issue. It was limbic system, which decided that it was not appropriate. It was same when you first wished to jump off high diving board. Fear of falling decided “NO!” The limbic system made you rigid. There were so many situations, when emotions ruled, while your wishes waited in wings. 3. The mind and maths. Scientists reported that such responses of mind occurred within a bare 20 milliseconds. The nervous system processed all available information and commanded muscles to be frozen in just that span of time. It was a system, which contained over a hundred billion neurons. They processed information from input to output in just half a second. How was this information processed? For most scientists, neural interactions were computations. Maths, or logic based. But, while mind was multi-dimensioned, calculations were limited to “domain specific” problems. Apples could not be added to pears. No formula could compute loss of a loved one and feel pain. The mind could deal with diverse dimensions. It could recognize beauty, shame, or affection. It was obvious that elegance of mind could not be explained by calculations, or by convoluted reasoning chains. There was a flaw in maths approach. There was an alternative. Instead of calculating, nerve cells could be recognizing patterns. 4. Many nerve cells recognize patterns. A vast army of nerve cells recognized signals in environment. Chemoreceptors in nose and tongue reported on molecules which provided information on smell and taste. Other receptors were massed together to form sense organs such as eye and ear. There were receptors which reported on pressure, touch, pulling and stretching. Every sensation was recognized by specialized mechanisms and converted into nerve impulses. Feelings, those mysterious elements which maddened or enraptured humans, were also patterns of recognized nerve impulses. The fMRI brain scans have reported firing of feeling impulses in limbic regions. Patterns of hate and anguish, laughter and disgust. Function specific recognition was key message for millions of cells. 5. The pattern recognition problem. Could pattern recognition be basic neural process? Unfortunately, recognition of patterns was too formidable a task for it to be simulated on computers. The diagnosis of diseases was a typical pattern recognition problem. The obstacle was that many shared symptoms were presented by a multitude of diseases. Pain, or fever were present for many diseases. Each symptom pointed to several diseases. In customary search, first selected disease with first presented symptom could lack second symptom. So there were back and forth searches, which followed an exponentially expanding trajectory as database increased in size. That made process absurdly long drawn – theoretically, even years of search, when searching extensive databases. In light of such an impregnable problem, science did not evaluate pattern recognition as a practical process for nervous system. 6. Algorithms and Intuition. As against such difficulties, an unusual new book, The Intuitive Algorithm, explains a process, which could instantly recognize patterns. Algorithms, were automatic procedures, which did most things in computers. They were mechanical tools, like gear boxes. You gained a predicted output for a specific input. Algorithms looked as far removed from intuition as a jack hammer from a baby. Because, intuition was a fabled gift, which enabled Einstein to discover relativity, or Mozart to compose beautiful music. But, Intuitive Algorithm (IA) was different. It acted more like an adding machine, which could smile. The novel capability of IA opened a new world of possibilities in understanding mind. 7. Instant pattern recognition. IA was unique. In a feat never achieved by computers before, IA could almost instantly diagnose diseases. IA used elimination to narrow down possibilities to reach correct answer. In essence, IA did not calculate, but used elimination to recognize patterns. IA acted with speed of a simple recalculation on a spreadsheet, to recognize a disease, identify a case law or diagnose problems of a complex machine. It did this holistically and almost instantly, through simple, logical steps. IA proved that holistic, instant, real time pattern recognition was practical. IA provided first clue to secret of intuition. The website intuition.co.in and book explain IA in detail. 8. Mind was holistic. Walter Freeman famous neurobiologist defined critical difficulty for science in understanding mind. “The cognitive guys think it's just impossible to keep throwing everything you've got into computation every time. But, that is exactly what brain does. Consciousness is about bringing your entire history to bear on your next step, your next breath, your next moment.” The mind was holistic. It evaluated all its knowledge for next activity. However large its database, logic of IA could yield instant pattern recognition. Since that logic was robust and practical, intuition could also be such an instant pattern recognition process. Intuition could then power mind to instantly recognize an infinite variety of objects and events. Each living moment, it could evaluate context of a dynamic multi-sensory world and its own vast memories. But, how could data be stored for such instant access?