What is Insight ?

  • July 22, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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Suggest the session will look at two questions in succession.

 

Q1: What is your personal definition of insight ?

 

My own reflections:

 

Insight is that unique experience where we sense we have expanded our understanding of the world in some specific case. What is happening here ?

 

Would argue that insight is different from intuition on the one hand and different from deductive or logical inference on the other hand. Some have suggested that insight can be a form of 'rational intuition'.

 

Key feature for insight is we have generated some explanatory concepts which helps explain some feature of the world. The insight has some generalizability and logic to support some predictive power.

 

In the sense logic inference adds nothing new to the explanatory framework and raw intuition has no perceived generalizability . Of course intuition can lead to insight on further rational reflection.

 

Can we say that all analytical propositions are not formed by insight ? [Analytical propositions are where the meaning of the predicate is contained in the subject in the proposition. “All bachelors are unmarried “, for example.] Mathematics is tricky as to whether it is analytic or not.

Clearly some synthetic propositions are formed from insight but not all. For example, there is no insight in 'there is a book on the table', but there is tremendous insight in water is H20.

What feature of synthetic statements show signs of insight ?

What are interesting examples of insight ?

 

Are there knowledge domains where insight is just not possible. I can think of a few..

 

Q2: What does your understanding of insight imply about what you think the theory of truth is ?

 

My own reflections:

 

Clearly when we have insight we think we have some handle on the truth in a specific circumstance .

There is some quality of self evident justification or the clear and distinct perception that carries a strong warrant for belief.

 

Does the experience of insight suggest that truth is embedded in the objective world in some mysterious way and that the rare experience of genuine insight is where we glimmer an aspect of this truth ?

 

Or is the self evident nature in the experience of insight merely a psychological buzz so we are motivated to biological survive and happily pro-create the next day?

Other theories ?

 

Looking forward to the discussion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • A former member
    A former member

    It may be worth remembering that in ancient Greek literature the seers, or those with the highest degree of insight, were always blind. That was presumably because the sight of the eyes, the sense organ that gathers the most information of all the senses, was a distraction from the deeper truths, visible only to the inner eye.

    July 23, 2013

    • Dr S. Ranga S.

      Insight is the vision seen through the INNER eye!

      July 24, 2013

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    Insight DOES exist and truth IS its holy grail! Insight into TRUTH can be the vehicle through which one may perceive truth. It is like Faith which is the vehicle to perceive, sense or feel whatever one might wish to comprehend as GOD, a light, spirit or just energy, indestructible and infinite.

    Time flows like a river as the lady visualised, last night, it is a continuum like the river, but TIME is an interval unlike the river, and she had a point!

    Insight is a destination not a process, and intuition, logic or rational but quick analysis are the means by which insight is gained.

    July 23, 2013

  • alice g.

    alice groves
    If insight exists, then 'truth' is its holy grail'. We may not need to provide a theory of truth to understand the relationship between the two. For this moment, I think we need to acknowledge that truth does exist, and that insight into it can accessed in many ways through our minds. We need not over-complicate these verities, as shown all too often that it is children whose uncluttered minds are capable of perceiving truth and of articulating it in the simplest of words as they access some branch of truth. Be it the 'grail' itself or some subsidiary truth, it is not confined to the world of the abstract, but reveals itself to the 'sight' of one who would 'see' it. (e.g.s: the 'Fool' in King Lear, or the Socrates member who gained insight into the nature of time during her "flowing water/river".

    Like · just now

    July 23, 2013

  • Audie

    Sounds like there should be an "Insight Part 2" discussion.

    July 23, 2013

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    I do not know if insight can be cultivated! One can try to be more observant, thoughtful, reflective and imaginative. But few men and women have that gift. Just look at the history of art, science or any other human activity. The Einsteins, the Kants or the Michaelangelos are few and far between. It is they who light up the drab world with their insights! One can work hard and follow the Masters but the inspiration and insights are given to a few.

    July 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    i didn't go to this, but there's an interesting book by Jung and Pauli on synchronicity. It departs from science in that archetypes are appealed to, but both authors are pretty science savvy.

    July 23, 2013

  • alice g.

    Yes, David, and thank-you for expressing this astute observation. When personal experience leads to a universal insight (as in one woman's dynamic narrative re the river as a symbol of time flowing backwards and forwards and her remarkably heightened awareness of the present moment in which she found herself - name?? Luiza??) , then that experience becomes fertile matter for exploration of the topic of Insight. The symbolism of her experience resonated with her 'insight' and she was able to demonstrate a moment of what James alluded to in his introduction to the topic, as:
    "..... embedded in the objective world in some mysterious way and that the rare experience of genuine insight is where we glimmer as aspect of this truth?"

    July 23, 2013

    • ines o.

      Sorry, I did not finish: Like I was saying If that experience happens to be full of excitement and surprise, does not make it less valid to expose it as possible topic to lead us to a deeper understanding of "what is insight"

      July 23, 2013

    • alice g.

      Of course. As long as the "excitement and surprise" just happen to accompany the discovery/revelation of insight and are not interpreted as the SUBSTANCE of insight itself. When listening to the group last evening, some of whom expressed moments of "AHA" when they came upon what they believed to be some insight, I wondered about the "AHA's". I think that being insightful is more of a pattern, once the individual has reached levels of observation and the accurate application thereof - i.e. of the deep understanding which is the essence of insight. And the word 'insightful' is more the mental habit to be strived for and attained overall.

      July 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Perhaps we should have spent less time on personal insight - by definition subjective - and more on the insights that are appreciated by many.

    July 22, 2013

    • alice g.

      Thnx for this. As you said: "This is the Socrates Cafe....."

      July 23, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Well we could always have another discussion on what are the greatest insights of humanity....

      July 23, 2013

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    Some personal insights were interesting.

    July 23, 2013

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    Interesting

    July 22, 2013

  • alice g.

    Hi James, thanks for posting context. In response to your statement/question:
    "Does the experience of insight suggest that truth is embedded in the objective world in some mysterious way and that the rare experience of genuine insight is where we glimmer as aspect of this truth?" I offer the following lines from 19th century poet William Blake:

    To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour.

    (from "Auguries of Innocence" from his opus magna "Songs of Innocence and Experience")

    July 18, 2013

  • Jonas W.

    I probably won't be able to make it (an exam and a paper due on the 25th). So I thought I'd RSVP: No to make my space available just in case.

    July 12, 2013

  • philip G.

    Wow, thank you., Alice. Finally someone has seen the forest: the topic.

    1 · July 11, 2013

  • Audie

    There were 15 meets prior to June 17th, of which 2 had 20 attendees. The last 2 had >20, no waiting list for "Burden of Proof". One coming up is full with waiting list of 14. Unless the next & last 2 are the new norm, maybe there's nothing to worry about. If waiting list is the new norm, I envision (are new members allowed to do that?) 2 groups of 15 each on the same night at say, Royal Oak Laurier. A brief 5 minute intro and then 2 groups for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs, one at each corner sitting close together so that we can hear each other. Then, free for all after 9pm.

    Dr S has a good point, ballet dancer - short, brief, full and disciplined, maybe not more than 40 seconds per utterance.

    July 11, 2013

    • Dr S. Ranga S.

      I do not mean to be disrespectful. We are part of a SOCRATES Cafe. Let us remember what he said and why he was considered a good teacher. I was a professor for too long and I have heard students tell me often who makes a good teacher and who does not. Every year we were all evaluated by our students and some of us got really dumb scores!

      July 11, 2013

    • louis

      Is it a viable option to continue with the same maximum number + restriction for the no show , but when the waiting list is ,say more than 3, 3 days before the meeting, an other meetup on the same subject would be scheduled at an other day?

      1 · July 11, 2013

  • alice g.

    I am looking forward to getting past all the back & forth about the logistics of where/when/how many, etc.. and onto the topic of "Insight". In view of the numerous comments in this current thread
    about the dialogues at the OSC, (people monopolizing the conversation, people who talk just because they want to - rather than because they have something incisive to say, etc. etc.....the comments are all below for all to peruse), I am interested in knowing upon which direction this particular dialogue will embark - i.e. Shall we be attempting to provide definition to the term "insight" and, through a possible meeting of minds, to come away with an enriched understanding of the term? Or will the direction be less specific. I am hoping the former will prevail. Looking forward to this one with alacrity.

    July 11, 2013

  • Kristine

    What's the deal with the waiting list? How likely do we get in if we're on the list? Do people generally withdraw their RSVP's if they can't come or should we show up and stand outside to wait and see if everyone attends or not?

    July 9, 2013

    • Dr S. Ranga S.

      Can the Pub on Bank street accommodate more than 20 or 25? That is one possibility to meet the increased demand.

      July 11, 2013

    • alice g.

      Very doubtful. Our book club ('Thinkers---Classi­cs/ancient to modern) has been meeting at the Clocktower on Bank most of this current year. We max. at 12 participants. And that works. I could envisage 20 in the space, but not more. There is a pool table in the room. Another factor which need to be addressed is the type of table arrangements. There is no large boardroom-type table (such as the ones at the Royal Oak on Laurier). There are just small tables and chairs (as one would expect in a bar/resto). When I led the group in April, I arrived early and re-configured the tables and chairs into one long 'table' so that the group could have a better sense of togetherness and communication. Since then, we have taken on this practice with the small tables. Of course, we are responsible for putting the tables back in their original positions when we leave.

      July 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Finding another venue would be a big problem. The pub on Bank Street is noisy to the point that a conversation amongst 20 people or so is impossible. I think we should increase the number to 30. That would necessitate people confining themselves to pithy comments and ensuring that every person who wishes to comment has the chance to do so.

    July 11, 2013

    • Dr S. Ranga S.

      We need not increase noise of another kind. I have already made the comment about being brief and to the point.

      July 11, 2013

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    Will the Pub where we meeting have room for more people like about 30? It seems that it can hold 30 people. It may not be necessary then to hold two sessions which means more organising labour for those who are now doing an excellent job. I suspect that 30 might be a reasonable number to accommodate.

    July 11, 2013

  • nicoleta

    Those of us who are waiting -quite a few- do not have too much change to get to participate in the discussion....maybe we should meet at a different location and still have the opportunity to share about this topic?

    1 · July 11, 2013

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    I have the experience that not every one shows up and it is unfair for those who are waiting to go . People should withdraw if they cannot make it but then how will those who are waiting know. Check with Mila. Last night not every body, who had said they were going showed up!

    July 9, 2013

  • Dr S. Ranga S.

    Thanks, I will come if I am in town.

    ranga

    May 14, 2013

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