Opposable thumbs, forming new languages, the capacity to consciously destroy our own environment, these are all things that make humans different from other organisms. Another thing that makes humans different, even from each other, is that we have biases. We usually don’t even realize that we have these biases, but they shape so many of our daily decisions. It’s okay to be biased. It’s okay to have opinions. We all have them. Sometimes, our biases our biases are involved in our important decisions, and sometimes, those important decisions are made using intuition. Intuition is instinctive and subconscious, and bias is instinctive and subconscious. It seems like these two would cancel each other out so that they become a powerful decision making team. However, their problems can end up compounding each other to cause us to make bad decisions, choices, or beliefs.
I admit that I have some beliefs that are affected by my bias. They are mostly affected by my confirmation bias. This is a form of bias where you ignore information that goes against something you already believe in, which causes your belief in that topic to become even stronger. I’ve realized that I selectively ignore information in two completely unrelated topics: astrology and the Harry Potter universe.
In terms of astrology, I always find an excuse when someone doesn’t act like how I would expect their sign to act. This even comes into play when I’m guessing someone’s sign. One time, I guessed that someone was a Gemini using my intuition and they turned out to be a Sagittarius, which are opposite signs and completely different from each other. Instead of accepting that astrology may not be as accurate as I believe it is, I justified this by saying there must be Gemini somewhere else in her birthchart. I still don’t know if that is accurate, but it satisfies my bias. I’m completely making up information to keep my belief in something that I believe so strongly in. Astrology’s importance to me as a person is more important to me than being correct. It is strongly based on speculation and intuition, so it is a good way for me to see my intuition in action. Not only has it shown me how intuition can be unreliable because of biases. It has also shown me that I should trust it sometimes, which is what makes it a complicated way to know information. Once, I couldn’t decide if someone was a Virgo or a Libra, and he turned out to be a Virgo/Libra cusp, which means that he displayed both characteristics. Intuition is tricky like that. It is difficult to know when it will be reliable and when it won’t.
Similarly to zodiac signs, Hogwarts houses are an important indicator of someone’s personality. I don’t actually know what my Hogwarts house is because I’ve never been able to navigate the Pottermore website. So, I assigned myself to a house. I chose Ravenclaw because I relate to its values the most and it just seems like the right house for me. This was an intuitive choice for me. I didn’t realize that this was a biased choice until other people told me that I act more like a Hufflepuff. Online quizzes, Harry Potter enthusiasts, and astrology posts have told me that I belong in the house of the badger. I chose to ignore all of them and continue to say that I’m a Ravenclaw. My intuition feels like the right decision for me, but it may not be the most factually correct. I probably won’t have to make arguments regarding my Hogwarts house, but relying incorrectly on intuition as the basis for other arguments will not be effective at all. The real world needs facts.
Both of my examples have shown that intuition is a complicated way to know information because it is difficult to know whether you can trust it or not. One way that you can try to understand it is through determining your biases for the given situation. If you know that you are biased, you know that you should most likely put less trust into your intuition for that particular topic.