mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF logic & coin-flip

It's Intuitive!

I belong to a mailing list where a debate has been raging about the pros and cons of certain sound editing software. "But the interface on my brand is so intuitive!!" is what I read. Humbug, I say.

"Intuitive" is a marketing word that leads you to believe you don't have to read the manual. It's meaningless. It all depends on the circumstances. Learning Spanish might be "intuitive" if you grew up speaking Italian, but not if you grew up speaking Chinese. It all depends on what you know already.

Sometimes I hear people refer to themselves or others as "intuitive." What does it mean applied to people? I usually take it to mean they are extremely "tuned in" people who "get" things by inspiration rather than by logic. They describe themselves as right-brained and sometimes "magic" is ascribed to them.

This isn't really the definition of "intuitive" that is part of the Myers-Briggs personality test. It's probably more like what Malcolm Gladwell describes in Blink!

It's a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, "Blink" is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good.

It's a controversial topic. Some people jump to conclusions because of years of accumulated expertise and wisdom. And their conclusions are usually correct. Others just jump. They "trust their intuition," but basically they are just flipping a mental coin because they don't know how else to get to a decision.

I think George W Bush is one of those guys who always trusts his intuition. Need I say more?



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