THE NEW FRONTIER

Source: Directions for Art

Indigenous cultures are based on intuition and strongly identify with a community orientation, whereas our rational modern cultures celebrate the individual instead of the social whole which leaves the individual with a need to find their own identity.

The intuitive approach emphasizes the discovery of meaning through interrelatedness and the value of community over individual development. While the rational approach emphasizes command over the physical world through separation and lauds the values of the individual over the community.

It goes without saying that the two approaches have had mutual antagonism. When rationality moved to the forefront, it was fought bitterly at first. Many early scientists were killed or imprisoned for their discoveries. In time, the scientific approach was viewed as a valuable new tool.

Eventually, however, rationality bullied its way into being the only reliable means for knowing reality. As a consequence, intuition has been marginalized and treated as unreliable or even malevolent by current decision makers. In the process, the basis of meaning has become quantity not quality and most importantly the spiritual underpinnings of community have been devastated.

It appears that our greatest challenge is not rejecting rationality in order to return to intuitive thinking, but instead of finding ways to integrate the two into a new paradigm for knowing what is “real”. Intuition sees the whole, while rationality understands the parts and makes the vision practical. Intuition gives us the path and rationality provides us with the means to travel the path.

However, the difficulty of integrating intuition with logic is that these two ways of knowing the world are highly competitive with one another and tend to see themselves as mutually exclusive. In addition, rationality, because of its greater command of implementation tools, naturally has the edge in winning. Nevertheless this integration is now critical for human survival.

Intuitive truth must lead the way while rational truth checks on the usefulness of its “vision” for society. This is a radical departure from our current values, as this tenet reverses the power relationship between intuition and rationality in modern life. More importantly, it assumes both intuition and rationality have something important to contribute to our survival and that neither can be marginalized if we are to know what is “real”.

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