What is eureka?
When you have a problem that needs to be figured out, you may opt to figure it out by concentrating on it until you find the answer, maybe stroking your chin and saying hmmm. Or, the answer may come suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, when you weren’t even thinking about it. Why does only the second method seem like inspiration? There isn’t a lot of difference here. Either way, any solution you ended up with came from your unconscious mind.
In the first example, the conscious mind thinks it worked it out or was in on it in some vital way. But the conscious mind has no capacity to use logic or math. Those talents lie in the hands of our organic mind. Our intellectual talents developed long before consciousness and are performed in a multi-tasking parallel manner which is impossible for the conscious mind to perceive. Likewise, the unconscious mind has limited ability to cope with problems that require even a minimum of conceptual structure. That requires higher stage mental organizations to create a mental workspace where the problem can be broken into parts and then separately and sequentially presented to the unconscious mind which processes and responds with answers.
If you think about it, that act we think of as thinking is simply us consciously herding or steering what other parts of our mind actually do. The role of thinking in problem solving is compiling and organizing a conceptual representation of the problem at hand, like a Power Point presentation to ourselves. Thinking of this sort is a conscious experience, and can create the illusion that thinking is strictly a conscious process.
From our conscious perspective, a sort of process is going on, unfolding in time. We see ourselves thinking logically or working it out, even though at any step of this process we have no perception of how any answer was actually arrived at. Most of the time, we see enough continuous steps to be satisfied that we are consciously sorting things out. But there is a threshold of steps below which we lose the illusion of thinking and can no longer account for our emerging ideas. That’s when we call the process intuition.
Intuition has been called body knowledge, or race-memory, or a spiritual message. The first two are embedded in the design of our physical forms. It is knowledge learned by your ancestors passed on genetically and built right into your emotional and intellectual character. It is knowledge from every move you’ve made and experience you’ve had, the vast majority of which you had no conscious experience of. It’s knowledge you can’t know- somatic knowledge.
Our computers are a good analogy. You might know how to tell your computer to store a bitmap as a jpeg, but you probably don’t know how the little electric chicklets inside do it. It’s the same with our minds. If asked, “What was the capital of Assyria?”, you might remember the answer… but how? Historical facts are no different than a charging gorilla. Do you know how you switched on your adrenalin?
As this inner knowledge is revealed through life experience, consciousness recreates this knowledge into information- what we think we know. That information becomes more conceptual building blocks of the conscious world. Once experienced, we can consciously have known something all along and know that we knew it, but we can’t consciously know something that we haven’t experienced hence don’t know yet. This is why intuition isn’t known, intuition is experienced.