Intuition

“[A]t the very start, I made a grave error. I permitted my feeling—my very strong feeling about the letter to remain a mere impression. I treated it as though it had been an intuition. In a well-balanced, reasoning mind there is no such thing as an intuition—an inspired guess! You can guess, of course—and a guess is either right or wrong. If it is right you call it an intuition. If it is wrong, you usually do not speak of it again. But what is often called an intuition is really an impression based on logical deduction or experience. When an expert feels that there is something wrong about a picture or a piece of furniture or the signature on a cheque he is really basing that feeling on a host of small signs and details. He has no need to go into them minutely—his experience obviates that—the net result is the definite impression that something is wrong. But it is not a guess, it is an impression based on experience.”

Hercule Poirot, [The ABC Murders]

Les femmes! They are marvellous! They invent haphazard—and by miracle they are right. Not that it is that, really. Women observe subconsciously a thousand little details, without knowing that they are doing so. Their subconscious mind adds these little things together—and they call the result intuition. Me, I am very skilled in psychology. I know these things.”

Hercule Poirot, [The Murder of Roger Ackroyd]

“One calls things by different names. I am quite ready to believe that you have noticed something, or heard something, that has definitely aroused in you anxiety. I think it possible that you yourself may not even know just what it is that you have seen or noticed or heard. You are aware only of the result. If I may so put it, you do not know what it is that you know. You may label that intuition if you like.”

Hercule Poirot, [Dead Man’s Folly]

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