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The New Frontier
in Democratic Theory and Practice:
Organizational Forms that Simultaneously Optimize Autonomy & Community

©1997, Andrew Dinkelaker

The Five Levels of Intuition

The intuition function at level one, like the feeling function, is in its most undeveloped state. Because intuitions are not recognized or owned at this level, it is usually expressed in the form of a “suspicion” or as a premonition of a future danger. Wild and “irrational” images that come through dreams will be felt to be a foreshadowing,

usually of a sickness or a foreboding circumstance. At this level, intuition is usually associated with the occult, witchery, or black magic — all of which are to be avoided or crushed and repressed.

At level two, intuitions are found to have meaning. What were originally hunches and suspicions to be avoided and feared are now seen at this level to have a functional purpose for providing new insights, innovation, and problem solving. Dreams and fantastic thoughts are found to have latent meanings. The intuitive function at this level accesses the imagination (fantasy) in an unpredictable and sometimes unreliable fashion. Though there is an honoring and recognition of these momentary glimpses as possibly positive there is no attempt to further develop or educate the intuitive function beyond this point. Rather, the intuitive function is only recognized as sometimes offering advance warning or guidance where knowledge can be gleaned from dreams, visions, or other extemporaneous intuitive occurrences. Importance is placed on the object, of having an intuition or hunch, not on the process of encouraging and developing the function itself.

At the third level, intuition is seen as linked to the creative process; there is an attempt to harness the intuitive function. Techniques are devised to do this, such as the brainstorming method, which is used to creatively play with images and ideas and which results in freely associating the material in new and innovative ways. Errors, anomalies, and mistakes are part of the creative process and are likely to be recognized as potentially leading to new ideas or solutions. According to Fudjack and Dinkelaker, “the role of the unconscious (or its equivalent) is honored — and processes which encourage altered forms of awareness or incubation are invoked on occasion.”84 Willis Harman and Howard Rheingold, in their book Higher Creativity: Liberating the Unconscious for Breakthrough Insights, state that at a certain stage in the creative process there comes a time when all the preparatory work is done and that the information and ideas have to be left alone in order for the subconscious to work on the problem. A method for reaching this state is through alert relaxation:

…alert relaxation, is designed to induce what has been called in medical science the relaxation response. This facilitates the “incubation mode” — through taking the mind “off-line” and quieting down surface thoughts that might disturb the workings of the deep unconscious…85

The incubation state calls for a relaxation of the mind and opens up one’s perception to the possibilities where new forms and associations are recognized and developed. Philip Goldberg, a psychologist, in his book The Intuitive Edge, found that “Arthur Koestler speculated that incubation allows the mind to discard the ‘tyranny’ of discursive thinking habits.” Goldberg goes on to say that “we [all] tend to get into mental ruts”, suggesting that, “an incubation period might break those patterns, freeing the mind to entertain new possibilities.”86Koestler has been called the act of creativity. Frances Vaughan, a

contemporary psychologist, in her book Awakening Intuition, describes the association between intuition and enhanced creativity:

Intuition can open up new possibilities, sometimes by allowing you to see alternatives you have overlooked, sometimes by offering a fresh, creative solution to a situation in which you feel stuck. Being a nonlinear mode of knowing, intuition can frequently point the way out of a double bind. Giving yourself space to playfully consider alternatives as real options which could become available, despite rational objections… Letting all the possible and impossible alternatives into one’s awareness can stimulate the creative process.87

By actively entertaining possibilities through the use of the intuitive function, one is developing the capacity to act without a frame of reference. The intuitive function allows the individual to be free from the cycle of conditioned behavior and the habitual patterns of perception and response. Therefore, the individual acts more spontaneously because of their freedom from the frame of given rules and norms. In addition, instead of only seeing meaning “out there” the individual at level three actively expresses meaning through the creation of symbols. Symbols come to represent certain thoughts, actions, and meanings to the individual in order to help guide and focus awareness.

At the next level, that of level four, the intuitive function is recognized as the capacity to shift paradigms which is a more advanced state of creativity, according to Fudjack and Dinkelaker. Whereas level three is about the creative process of symbol generation and myth-making, level four is about the capacity to create “whole” new realities through envisioning utopian possibilities. The intuitive function heightens sensitivity toward and the appreciation for the paradigm specific nature of truth, language, facts, and theories. In addition, intuition involves the letting go of a frame through deconstruction of the unquestioned assumptions and fundamental structures of that paradigm. To assist in this process, the intuitive function acts as an anomaly detector. Every frame, context, theory, or paradigm is going to have these anomalies and the intuitive function will act as an attunement mechanism for locating them. When paradigms shift (many times in response to the uncovered anomalies) everything within the paradigm shifts in meaning accordingly. Thomas Kuhn, a philosopher of science who introduced the concept of “paradigm shifting”, in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, states “…within the new paradigm, old terms, concepts, and experiments fall into new relationships one with the other.”88 Intuition is the faculty by which the old “whole” is perceived and through which new “wholes” are apprehended in a “flash”.

At the fifth level, the intuitive function involves the appreciation of the world as a symbolic creation that is ultimately self-transcending and connected with the “ground” of pure unmanifest potential (possibility). The individual is capable of continually stepping out of their own paradigm and into new frames. Intuition is the faculty which allows the individual to constantly create their own frame of reference and to make the rules by which they live, thus becoming their own source of meaning. It is here that we can find

the deepest and most thorough “deconstruction” of habitual patterns and perceptions. This process of radically dismantling the prevailing frame prepares the ground for the reconstruction of a new one. Therefore, any and all forms and ideas are transcended by the intuitive function allowing for the experience of undifferentiated awareness and “pure” consciousness out of which form arises.