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Ed Lantz

I agree with your “rational knowing” versus “direct knowing” differentiation – it is an extremely important one in these discussions.
As was alluded to in the conversation with Davidson, objective and subjective are radically different domains and care must be taken when cross-referencing from one to the other. Phenomenologists and mystics have often confounded scientists by making sweeping metaphysical proclamations about the physical domain based on an intuitive realization. While they no-doubt experienced that “everything is light,” “physical reality is an illusion,” or that “lords of karma are living in the sun,” that does not make it a physical reality to those of us who did not join them on their experiential journey.
Likewise, rationalists sometimes belittle mystics who speak of “cosmic consciousness” or epiphanies by telling them it was “just” a brain state. After all, Einstein’s theory of relativity was also just a brain state – a very profound brain state. I believe these phenomena of consciousness will one day be incorporated into our daily lives just as logic and rationality now are. Mastering our own consciousness the next challenge for humankind.
I have a personal practice that keeps the two domains separate. It is as if there are two file drawers in my mind – one for rational knowledge and one for intuitive knowledge. When I sit and listen to a mystic rant about cosmic stuff, I nod yes and file it appropriately… who knows, it might be true!
There are occasional crossovers, to be sure. Like Einstein, we can have an intuitive flash about a real-world problem that we are working on. Or we might evoke a rational explanation for a mental phenomenon that we experienced.
Your work at SRI is compelling to me because is bridges the two domains. Could intuitive insight provide information about real physical places that we have never visited before? Intuition is fleeting and imperfect – not at all like our physical senses. It could be the result of massively parallel processes in the brain… or maybe it is an “extrasensory” informational channel. Could these fleeting images be glimpses of non-local quantum information?  Things that make you go hmmmm…