For years, I had this quote by Albert Einstein hanging in my office in our Professional Development Center, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I thought about this quote often, particularly as it related to the gifted children and families that I worked with in my district. So often during the years, I had students tell me things like, “I just knew it,” or “My brain just told me,” or “I feel it in my gut,” or “I don’t know how I know this. I just know it.” or “This just doesn’t feel right to me…” In many cases, these words were spoken by otherwise rational thinkers who seemed to have a “second sense” about things. I also had a second quote in my office that read, “Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next,” by Jonas Salk. For me, linking these two quotes together gave me some real insight into how some of my gifted students thought and worked. And yet...the missing link for me was how these two kinds of thinking, the intuitive and the rational, worked together, and how I could help strengthen the bond in my students, and in myself.
Recently I came upon this article by Bruce Kasanoff in Forbes, Intuition is the Highest Form of Intelligence, and once again it got me thinking about this conundrum. Is intuition really a form of intelligence? And could it be the highest form of intelligence? And if so, how do we honor it, nurture and develop it, and reconcile it with rational thinking? In his article, Kasanoff suggests that intuition is indeed the highest form of intelligence, “especially when we are talking about people who are already intellectually curious, rigorous in their pursuit of knowledge, and willing to challenge their own assumptions.” Voila! Could this be the key to marrying the two kinds of thinking? What if we cultivated both the rational mind, “the faithful servant,” AND “the sacred gift of intuition” simultaneously? What could that look like, sound like, and feel like in our homes and our classrooms, in our children and ourselves?
Here are some ideas I have for cultivating the rational mind, “the faithful servant” in ourselves and others:
And here are some ideas I have for cultivating the intuitive mind, “the sacred gift” in ourselves and others:
As a thinker, a parent and grandparent, and an educator, I am convinced that there is so much about teaching and learning that we are just beginning to understand. I hope that these Gifted in Perspective articles stretch your thinking, make you wonder, and challenge you to dig deeper. As always, I welcome your thoughts. Together we grow.
Jackie Drummer, Past President
WI Association for Talented and Gifted
Gifted in Perspective
A column designed to link the gifted perspective to other perspectives, and to make you think.