Driving through Hollywood Hills more than a year ago, I was awed by the view, the homes and the unusually large number of “For Sale” signs. But I was struck even more by what I couldn’t see-a sense of foreboding or impending doom. Something just didn’t feel right, though I was clueless to say what.
Back in New York, I shared the experience with a commercial real estate broker I’d called to discuss technology. And he knew exactly what I was referencing. “Real estate,” he acknowledged, “has a heartbeat. And sometimes you hear it, even when you don’t want to.”
I hear a lot of things, but when the sounds exist only in my head, I try not to acknowledge them. So I changed the conversation. “How about those virtual servers…”
But as the economy turned from bad to worse to What Now? I started to wonder. Why is it so easy to build virtual worlds and still so hard to live in the real one? What have we lost?
According to bestselling author Laura Day, “Intuition.”
Day is a New York City psychic (she prefers the term intuitionist) who, as Newsweek reported last June, “has become a hot commodity among certain high-profile business people, bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the 49-year-old mother in the process.”
Intuition, she explains, is “a process of broadening your attention to include the impressions that come from your imagination and from your emotions as well as from your intellectual senses.” In other words, trust your instincts.
“Intuition isn’t mystical,” Noble Laureate James Watson has said. “It’s a sort of background sense of how things should work. It’s facts hidden in the brain. Intuition is logic.”
It’s a common sense concept. But have we given up common sense to embrace technology? Could we have mitigated the economic mess we’re now in if we’d followed our hunches as often as our data? It’s impossible to say.
But this much is certain. “We are more than the sum of our software programs and analytical methods, more than the databases we can access…” At least that’s my hunch.