Intuition is the subject of much speculation and disagreement, though discussions of its nature tend to be good natured. There is no consensus whether the matter is spiritual, spiritual with the aid of deities, an inborn biological process, or an unconscious process we have acquired through experience. There is not even any condenses on how much we should trust it.


Eastern traditions tend to equate intuition with religion. Views vary with the different school of thought, but an intuitive mind was thought to see beyond mere appearances, and into something behind the scenes. If so, it should apply well to new situations. A new situation is not an unknown situation if we have insight.


Some western traditions see intuition as an unconscious, systematic form of thinking. Our minds have put patterns together from isolated facts and past experiences, and can approach new situations as extensions of these patterns and systems. Entirely foreign situations may seem strange to us because they do not adhere to any previously known pattern. But many other situations that are superficially new will feel comfortable as long as their underlying operation is similar to others things form our past. This view means intuition does depend on at least some past experience.


Greek philosopher Plato thought intuition was knowledge that we have forgotten, rather like repressed memories. We can encounter a situation and find that some of the lost memory returns, and the situation seems familiar. We know at least some things before we have experience and before we consciously try to work them out. Philosopher Descartes had similar views, but believed the knowledge within us has to be uncovered with rational reasoning. The pre-existence of knowledge within us implies either a spiritual origin of information gains through hereditary.


More modern psychology sees intuition as an ability to see the connection between facts. The situation we encounter may be new, but it has some form of systematic organization. If we can grasp this organization, how the pieces fit together, we have an intuitive understanding of what we are dealing with.


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