Checking Intuitive Information for Accuracy, Novelty and Relevance
“People speak of belief when they have lost knowledge. Belief and disbelief are mere surrogates. The native primitive doesn’t believe, he knows, because the inner experience rightly means as much to him as the outer. He still has no theory, and hasn’t let himself be befuddled by booby-trap concepts. He adjusts his life—of necessity—to outer and inner facts…. whereas we live in only one half and merely believe in the other, or not at all.” [Carl Gustav Jung] 
Whenever one receives new information—from any source, intuitive or another—one is confronted with the issue of its credibility: can he accept it as true and a valid answer to his inquiry? Intuitive information may be inherently correct at its source, as some claim, but by the time it passes through the mind of the intuitive and is communicated in words to an inquirer or other listener it can become very distorted by bias, omissions, misinterpretation, the ambiguities of language or downright error. Some kind of verification is almost always required before it can be trusted, passed on to others and applied.
Where does this validity come from? In the most fundamental sense it is the same as the truth we attest to when checking anything against the real world in which we live. To find such “truth” behind a piece of information we can sometimes turn to our own minds to establish its validity, for this is surely the most acceptable personal criterion when we can find the answer there. Ordinarily, though, we must go outside of ourselves to an external source we have already learned to trust: a parent, a friend, priest or scientist, a textbook or the internet, or some similar authority. All of these are available to supply answers, albeit with less than perfect acceptability and reliability. Only rarely can intuitive information be validated on the basis of the source from which it came or the individual intuitive through whom it was transmitted. All of these secondary sources are all compromises because validity is a property of the information itself, not the source, the receiver, the vehicle which generated it or the channel through which it has come to us. Perfect validation, if it is possible at all, must rely upon a criterion of truth appropriate at least to the purpose of the inquiry and the intended application.
Is there not a universal test of validity?
Our world has not yet seen a universal standard of truth. Religions have always sought for one, and they have offered their best selections to their followers, typically with much compulsion, promises of great rewards and threats of heavy punishment if not accepted. The institution of science now holds the greater sway and is more benign. Its promises take the form of countless practical offers for meeting popular demand, producing pleasure and striving for ever greater “progress” toward attractive goals it has itself generated. At the present time science provides the broadest criterion of “truth” man has ever seen, and it is also most widely accepted, despite its known limitations and some tragic consequences which arose from past failures. Science’s test for truth is now utilized in many social areas which lie far outside of science itself.
As just suggested, there is occasionally no need to verify a fragment of new information because the intuitive or inquirer recognizes it as a significant and relevant piece of personal truth. It may be spontaneous or build upon prior personal experience, but is immediately acceptable as valid with no doubt at all. This is the very essence of intuition in action, for it is still uncluttered by words of explanation and interpretation by oneself or other persons. … More commonly, though, the recipient fells must check the fragment against what he thinks he already knows, as the more valid of the two, before accepting or rejecting it. He may dig deeper into his past experience, priorities, current interests and values. He may turn to external sources—friends, experts, books, internet—or conduct personal experiments to test its validity before he can trust it and act upon it. When the information is more factual and intended for public or critical use, an empirically based scientific method is usually the preferred choice, since this is the most commonly trusted authority for accuracy in Western society, even on nonfactual matters. We then to use the more scientific term verification instead of validation.
While the personal means of validation are fairly straightforward, and are the most natural and reliable when they can be used, rather little need be said about them. (see next section). We will confine ourselves here mainly with the more formal approach, especially since the general credibility of intuitive methods depends so strongly upon proven factual examples.
[Different kinds of information call for different means of verification but otherwise the approach is basically the same, whether assessing a stranger’s advice on the best way to travel to Bali, a doctor for your recommended surgery, how to prove a theorem, does the Higgs boson really exist or your new suitor really love you. As we accumulate fragments of evidence for and against, we gradually build up a body of arguments and knowledge about the new information, until we either become convinced of its validity, or feel we can reject it, or must take a risk and decide, consistent with our purpose and needs.]
Starting Right at Home
“The mind can assert anything and pretend it has proved it. My beliefs I test on my body, on my intuitional consciousness, and when I get a response there, then I accept them.” [D. H. Lawrence] 
Before launching into formal, external means of verification we must first recognize that everyone has a built-in capability to discern for himself what is right and true. This personal source lies within each of us; it is not external or learned but inherent and natural; we confirm with almost every thought that it truly exists, though we may not be aware of doing so even when it touches us with a clear and certain insight—then we know that the result of that insight is valid and trustworthy, quite apart from any beliefs, reasons, arguments, evidence, opinions and what others may tell us. Young children experience this kind of direct perception of knowledge more easily than do we adults, though they may be limited in their ability to express it. We adults are more inclined to doubt, question and deny—all very necessary at times, of course, but not the best route to discovering what is real, valid and relevant.
This inner criterion is intuition at work. It is a gift of human life, our most trustworthy vehicle for learning the truth of matters and our most reliable ally, our ever-present back-up or last resort if all else should fail. Every other means of personal verification source is less reliable: acquired beliefs, typical religious faith, external counsel, the best books in the library, your parents and even sound scientific evidence. None is better than your personal inner knowing, if you can contact it. To do so, you must first seek it out, become familiar with it, practice using it and learn to listen to it; only then can you recognize it, rely upon it and trust it above all else. This is everyone’s potential, opportunity and challenge.
Moreover, it is neither strange nor difficult to do so. Because intuitive knowing is a part of our daily lives from infancy to our last hours on earth, all of us use it continually even though we do not normally recognize we are doing so. It functions as a part of what we call “thought” even when undeveloped and unpracticed. You are being reminded on these pages that this inner capacity is your deepest and most direct connection to the truth, and even to the primordial space from which you originated, whatever you choose to call it. This connection is never broken. There can be no higher source of knowing. Your intuitive capacity gives you direct access to this space, and provides the highest wisdom that your inner mind, including your unconscious mind, can comprehend and absorb. It is to your great advantage to learn how to strengthen your intuitive skill so as to establish a strong and deliberate communication with this built-in source and put it to work for yourself.
Rather few persons, especially in the Western world, are able to maintain an intimate and ongoing connection with this inner source. Expert intuitives can achieve this state of communication when called upon and they may therefore serve as an interim source in response to questions posed inwardly with or without spoken words. But even then, we may need to turn inward again to confirm that we have asked for what we truly want and have interpreted and understood the response correctly. Most of us are inclined to hear what we want to hear, interpret as we choose and believe what we want to believe. The final verification takes place at home, in one’s own mind, and no one else can do this for the inquirer.
Having recognized this ultimate and individual form of verification, let’s look now at the external options for verifying intuitive information.
Verifying Through Science: Not a Clear Course After All
“A scientific world view is impossible; it is a contradiction in terms. The reason is that science does not treat of the world; it treats only a part of it. One world at a time, one hears. Fair enough, but not half a world, which is all that science can offer.” [Huston Smith] 
Our modern world is literally flooded with information, and it is becoming more vast, freely available, varied and more complex with every decade. It has already become a marketable commodity, necessary for ordinary life in our society. It may be recorded, exchanged, bought and sold, taught, distributed and utilized. It is an instrument of exceptional power to which we all have access as we choose, and also vulnerable to the extent of our acceptance and use of it. Yes, advertising, the media, popular reading and “infoglut” can be very useful, and we can usually figure out how to discriminate the valid and relevant from the invalid and irrelevant. For personal counsel in some areas—medical, legal and financial, for example—we must be careful and selective what we should believe and whom we can trust. In areas of public responsibility, where large social programs are being planned and implemented, the cost of mass credulity can be high indeed.
This sometimes overwhelming expansion in available information has a positive side, for it is forcing us to learn to discern its validity within ourselves, mainly by the intuitive process just described. It is often just too easy to surrender our choices to external sources of authority without the necessary discrimination. We are nowadays being compelled by necessity to become less dependent on outside sources and instead turn within for answers—an ancient warning reborn, and now more compelling than ever.
For some important purposes we may be willing to go to great lengths to determine if a piece of new information is valid and relevant to our interests and needs, especially in fresh areas of knowledge expansion such as intuitive research inquiries. The accumulation of human knowledge already gathered by others in the past is often incomplete or otherwise inadequate, sometimes downright wrong. Confirmation of the validity and accuracy of totally new information can become a major concern. How can one verify it to be certain that it is true?
In past centuries virtually all collective knowledge was held and protected by religious institutions, according to their doctrines of what is right, wrong and relevant. With the emergence of science a few centuries ago the base of authority shifted, so that modern man now entrusts, above all else, the huge mass of knowledge accumulated scientifically, allegedly through empirical and objective interaction with the natural world. This vast repository, and science’s powerful methodology for growing more, are responsible for generating most of what we rely upon every day in our so-called civilized world. Portions of it have been so energetic, progressive and convenient that we find it easy to accept science’s associated view of the world in which we live as equally valid and apparently fairly complete. Unfortunately, this acceptance is not at all justified.
The limitations of science
This wonderful science, and all it implies in its many beneficial applications to human life, is seriously limited because of the narrow lens through which it perceives our shared “reality.” It is not so much wrong as incomplete, as Huston Smith reminds us in the above quotation, because major portions of this reality have been totally excluded from its purview. What are these omitted portions and why are they so significant ?
In broad terms science’s view of our world is very much at odds with our daily experience of it. For most of human history this did not much matter since science was of interest only to philosophers and scholars played only a small and specialized part in society. As scientific knowledge expanded, however, it began to have a greater influence, mainly through its practical and convenient impact through technology and the consequent role it began to play in policy decisions in government, industry, medicine, social actions and the military. Without the moderating effects of humanitarian concerns, formerly provided by religion, these decisions became more and more dominated by science’s materialistic values. Popular ways of thinking also began to shift to conform to these values.
Science gradually gemerged as the dominant authority for assessing the validity of all matters, scientific or not. Our natural world is now perceived not as it is but through a darkened scientific mist. We cannot see clearly see what we most need to see if we are to create functioning and wholesome societies on our planet, let alone to live wholesome, meaningful human lives as individuals. Even worse, this distorted vision is now restricting our very ability to perceive what is missing, like the man who loses his glasses and cannot see well enough to find them. Modern science is no longer, if it ever was, a trustworthy basis for verifying much of anything outside of its own relatively sterile, materialistic territory.
More specifically, the limitations of materialistic science arose out of its exclusion of all of natural reality except what can be observed by the five senses and be assessed rationally, objectively and causally. As a result, everything invisible, including all subjective experience, the human mind and consciousness itself fall outside of the scope of “scientific” knowledge. Modern man is now constrained more and more to rely upon this body of incomplete knowledge to understand himself, his relation to others, his place in the cosmos, his origin, where he is going and what he is doing here on Earth. Is it any wonder he is having trouble finding meaning in his life and his place in the world? Without this very necessary core he has largely lost control of his societies, his planetary home and his evolution as a social being. While most of the many consequences of scientific knowledge are unquestionably beneficial, some have turned out to be terribly destructive: the unregulated spread of potentially harmful information, ever more destructive weaponry, iatrogenic global diseases, unconstrained genetic modifications, restless minorities out of control, dysfunctional local governments which cannot deal with the changes, and so on.
How did this tragic situation come about? How is it that such a positive contribution to mankind as new knowledge and understanding can have such disastrous effects? It is easy to blame science for providing dangerous information in the first place, or society for its misuse of the scientific knowledge that being offered, but such a simplistic allocation of responsibility is premature and naive. The actual picture is much more complex and without any visible course of change.
Even more specifically, science’s view of reality is distorted because proven scientific facts are not inherently and automatically proven reasons, at least not until one can show their direct relevance and sufficiency to the issue at hand. This crucial step is often skipped, even in the best rational thinking, when reductionistic methods are employed in scientific studies. The entire issue of causality is an unresolved and a misleading pitfall. The full set of causes, effects, influences and interrelationships, assumed to be sufficient for analysis and understanding, are typically unknown or acausal and can only be guessed. Some topics are simply unverifiable because they lack the common base of understanding which is essential if they are to be recognized and communicated, let alone be formally verified. For example, this last is the primary limit that constrains studies on deep mental processes, certain aspects of cultural and religious history (the Christian Bible, for example), legends of prior civilizations, how the brain learns a new language, and many more which are simply not accessible to present day science.
Finally, not all scientists are willing even to examine intuitive ideas and hypotheses, which are considered to be too controversial, subjective and immeasurable, a relic from the discarded superstitions of religion, even though science’s methods for verifying new insights are claimed to be applicable regardless of their source. As a result, some possibilities for verification are blocked from the start, whether suitable or not.
Despite these limitations, the accumulated base of scientific knowledge is today the largest, most widespread and acceptable public candidate at hand for verifying intuitive information in general, despite its serious limitations. We have little choice but to employ it for verifying the more factual intuitive information, at least initially before it is used for any applied purpose other than the strictly personal.
This level of verification has been completed as a proof of credibility and applicability of intuition for four of the ten applications of intuition investigated by CAI and reported here. All four are largely scientific in content and are therefore amenable to this evidential approach, which has succeeded. While not every detail has been substantiated, the omissions have not been found to be wrong but only still unverified.
For the next four applications the scientific criterion may be employed only partially and conditionally, since most of the new information lies outside of science’s domain of cognizance and competence. That is, for these applications the scientific test is not a sufficient criterion for distinguishing right from wrong and for assessing novelty and significance. If they are to be proven or otherwise substantiated, other means and arguments must be found and employed besides science.
For the last two applications, and for all future intuitive applications that deal with the workings of the mind itself, science’s criterion of validity is almost totally inapplicable. In particular, it cannot complete with even the weakest personal perceptions, for it has no more authority for the truth than our own subjective intuitive capacities.
For all applications of intuition, including the ten presented in this website, we must be on guard against the too common temptation to let science tell us what is true and relevant. Once again, this is because the conclusions it is inclined to offer lie outside of its limited grasp of the reality we live in. Moreover, every time we surrender to science in this way, we raise it a bit higher on the scale of authority we are giving it, both individually and as a society. We let it run our lives a bit more, and have already gradually and inadvertently given up much of our freedom to think for ourselves, to come to our own responsible conclusions and to know and choose for ourselves.
Any Other Options?
“True intuition comes from a deeper understanding that transcends evidence and proof and logic and reason, and all those tools with which we try to determine whether something is true or not—and thus whether it is important.” [Neale Donald Walsch] 
Are there any other alternatives besides science for establishing what is true and accurate in our intuitive pursuits? Not many, and none is as broadly applicable as our personal intuitive insights, even when they are not fully developed. Sometimes the intuitive inquiry process itself can be called upon to suggest feasible means of verification. Some special means of verification can be employed for certain kinds of information, or when they depend upon who is inquiring for it, who will be the ultimate user and the purpose for which it is being sought. Here are a few examples of such exceptions:
- Sometimes we may conduct a small individual test of our own, just as a research scientist would carry out formally with a larger hypothesis. This was illustrated previously for intuitive spying, finding lost objects, self-improvement suggestions, medical diagnoses and mineral prospecting.
- Some intuitive information is predictive and may be validated simply by waiting and allowing the event to occur. This approach is most helpful as a call for patience, to avoid the unfortunate consequences of acting too quickly. It is also useful when the main intention is to show that information was obtained intuitively rather than by conventional means of prediction.
- Another possibility arises when a body of the intuitive information depends upon a non-intuitive and uncertain fact, but it can be established immediately if this fact can be proven. This occurred in the xenoglossy study, when the validation of a questionable language enabled a large and important body of intuitively derived text in the language to be verified.
- Finally, intuition information can be verified through its participation in certain social changes. Intuitive Edgar Cayce’s unusual medical recommendations probably played a positive part in accelerating the public acceptance of alternative medicine in the 1950s and 1960s. Similarly, the recommendation of CAI’s intuitives to use a Chinese medical approach for immune enhancement against HIV infection has the potential to extend the present global drug program against AIDS beyond its present limits.
While most verification applies to the accuracy and truthfulness of the intuitive information, it is sometimes important to show that it is new and not previously known, thus confirming that the intuitives were tapping their own inner resources rather than obscure information in libraries, on the internet or from a privileged private source. Verification of novelty can usually be accomplished by an historical search through public records (as was done in three of four verified applications). In less factual areas an investigation of their private lives may be necessary.
Another kind of verification may be necessary to assure that the intuitive information given is a complete response to the questions asked, rather than just a true fragment that appears to be enough. This can occur when a crucial condition that governs its accuracy, utility or consequences of application may not have been mentioned. (Like a surgeon describing the details of your coming operation without mentioning that you will be lame for the rest of your life!) This difficulty can be obviated with proper questioning. It is reminiscent of scientists who announce their discoveries without taking into account the human impact of their subsequent development and use.
Modern science, despite its limiting principles, assumptions and methods, will surely continue to be the preferred choice for verifying future intuitive discoveries within factually and rationally oriented disciplines and their immediate applications in technology. In other areas for expanding knowledge, verification is possible only in particular situations or on a piecemeal basis, or under the pressure of necessity when information can be justifiable applied without first being formally verified. Sometimes individual users will be inspired to undertake independent verifications on their own.
- Jung, Carl Gustav. (1973). Experimental Researches, Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 2, (Princeton Univ. Press).
- Lawrence, D. H. in Sagarp, Keith M. (1955). A D.H. Lawrence Handbook. (Manchester Univ.Press); p. 575.
- Smith, Huston (19976, 1992). ForgottenTruth. (Harper Collin); p. 7.
- Walsch, Neal Donald (1996). Conversations with God: An UncommonDialogue. (Putnam’s).