Chapter 14: Intuition: A Non-Explanation
Can intuition be explained scientifically? Is it a phenomenon of the mind?
Intuition cannot be explained scientifically because the very phenomenon is unscientific and irrational. The very phenomenon of intuition is irrational. In language it looks okay to ask, “Can intuition be explained?” It means: can intuition be reduced to intellect? But intuition means something beyond the intellect, something not of the intellect, something coming from someplace where intellect is totally unaware. So intellect can feel it, but it cannot explain it.
The leap can be felt because there is a gap. Intuition can be felt by the intellect - it can be noted down that something has happened - but it cannot be explained, because explanation means causality. Explanation means: from where does it come? why does it come? what is the cause? And it comes from somewhere else, not from the intellect itself, so there is no intellectual cause; there is no reason, no link, no continuity in the intellect.
For example, Mohammed was an illiterate person. No one knew about him; no one ever felt that such a great thing as the Koran could come out of him. There was not a single act, not a single thought, that was special about him; he was just an ordinary man - absolutely ordinary. No one ever felt that something extraordinary was possible in him. Then, suddenly, this parable is recorded:
An angel appeared to Mohammed and said, “Read!”
Mohammed said to him, “How can I read? I do not know how; I cannot read, I am illiterate.”
The angel repeated again, “Read!”
Mohammed again said, “But how can I read? I do not know anything about reading.”
Then the angel said, “Read! By the grace of God, you will be able.” And Mohammed began to read. This is intuition.
He returned to his house trembling, trembling because he could not conceive of what had happened. He could read - and he had read something inconceivable. The first ayat of the Koran had been given to him. He could not understand it because nothing in his whole past related to it. He could not feel the meaning of it; he had become the vehicle for something that was unrelated to his past, absolutely unrelated. Something from the unknown had penetrated him. It might have been related to something else, to someone else, but it did not relate to Mohammed at all. This is the penetration.