Intuition and Scientific Discovery

Einstein said:

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why”.

Intuition and intellect really are inseparable. It is true that all human beings have a certain amount of gut feeling and animal intuition.  There is nothing extraordinary about everyday intuition. But for those who are well-read, intellectual, are able to problem solve and analyze data, the brain/mind is changed.  Consequently, the intuition is raised along with it. The two work concurrently.

So it is with scientists who read, write, study, across disciplines, across authors, that the ability to coalesce information and come up with a new hypothesis or theory can lead to breakthrough ideas. I believe this is the case for women or for men. Here is an example of science and intuition working together;

A well-documented case of intuition concerns Frederick Kekule’s (1829 – 1896) discovery of the structure of benzene.  Kekule saw the answer in a dream of a snake coiled and biting its tail.  In an intuitive flash, he realized that the molecular structure was characterized by a ring of carbon atoms.  Benzene is a 6 carbon ringed compound with 6 hydrogen atoms with the carbon-carbon bonds arranged alternately single and double. This discovery opened the way to modern theories of organic chemistry.

Kekule wrote about his dream in his diary.”I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere.  I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were jumbling before my eyes.  This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation; long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion.  But look! What was that?  One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes.  As if by a flash of lightning I awoke…”.

The archetype of the snake coiled and biting its tail is the Ouroboros. It originated in ancient Egypt through a magical tradition that led it to be associated with alchemy, the science of turning base metals into gold. It symbolizes eternity or the continuation of nature re-creating itself. It is essentially the world serpent which is an ancient archetype of the natural cycles of the Earth, life and death, the alpha, and omega.

Remember that before there was science there was magic. Or…magic has just always been, a force of nature, not something unusual. To understand and control nature/magic, the human institutions of Religion and State were created. So far, they are failing at doing a very good job of it.

Science has taken magic and turned it into forms, technology, medicines and seeks to control these forces for the so-called advancement of civilization. Religion has codified and edited its books and called them holy to hit people over the head with. Religion’s main contribution has been to convince humans that sex is bad, their bodies are bad and we should not be attached to either; especially since that would make us too happy and then we wouldn’t be obedient to our betters. What is civilization but greed and money used to control humans and enslave them for the upper classes?

We know nature is the most powerful and will eventually win out as it always does but in the meantime when we speak of intuition and science as different, the fact is, they are two sides of the same coin. NATURE is what our ancestors called magic simply because they didn’t understand how it worked. We are still working on that. While doing so, it’s important to keep in mind that one is not better than the other.

Ouroboros

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