Friday, 5 September 2014

Analeptic and proleptic (intuitive) thinking - clues for truth, validation of truth

Continuing from

There is a direct, feeling-based, non-rational way of thinking which Robert Graves termed analeptic and proleptic thinking- analeptic thinking is a vision of the past while proleptic refers to the future.

This happens in what could be termed a trance state, a state of altered consciousness, somewhat detached from immediacy and distraction - in which some other time or place (or person) or even an idea (a concept, an image, a belief) is perceived and felt as real.

What does this mean?

I think when something is analeptic/ proleptic it means that there is a certain validity and coherence to an idea. It does not mean that it is true - but it means that it is... well, that it is worth considering, worth thinking-about at least.

So, when something appears through analeptic thinking it then needs to be validated in whatever ways appropriate - by logical analysis, experience, new observations and so on.


But there is more to it than this; I think intuition is necessary to truth - for it to be meaningful, purposive truth.

Truth is contained-within intuition.

If you don't have an intuition, a personal sense of the reality of a time, place, person, idea, vision, notion... then it cannot be really real.

So, to evaluate an idea that is just an idea - then there must be a process of seeking intuitive confirmation; and unless or until the idea is confirmed by intuition (analeptic or proleptic thought) then it is not rally real and not much use could or should be made of it.



Thursday said...

This is why socially conservative/traditionalist ideas get no traction. Even when a modern person can understand the logic behind a sc/trad argument, it just doesn't make sense to them on an intuitive level.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Th - It's something neglected in the Christian tradition with which I am most familiar - for example CS Lewis, who often urges people to ignore feelings and simply do what reason and duty urge. But I think we should be actively testing by seeking intuitive confirmation of what matters most to us. So long as this is sincere, serious and sufficiently prolonged, it is a valid and perhaps necessary evaluation method.

Leo said...

Women are, I think, more attuned to intuition. We have the phrase "woman's intuition." Men and taught and urged to be logical. Is there something deeper theologically in this? Perhaps the book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, which I have on my shelf but have not read, might shed some light on the subject.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Leo - Actually, I think that is wrong. Intuitive men are rare - but intuitive women are even rarer.

Boon Vickerson is out there said...

That is a really nice piece you posted Sir.
Oh yes, intuitive thinking is wonderful skill to posses. I think if you follow it instead of pushing it around it is pure in its commission, and can be trusted to lead you to figuring a lot of things out.
It is a kind of altered state of mind.
That is how I perceive it. And use it. It works well for me in the mechanical world as a welder/metal fabricator in figuring out a way to solve complex problems, as I have no formal education in engineering or math. It has been a trustworthy method of thought.
I really enjoyed how you wrote this essay, it was kind of intuitive in itself.
ps, Dave over at Happy Acres sent me over.