A few days ago, I was bicycling along the waterfront—Marina Green, for those who know San Francisco—when I suddenly remembered something that happened to me the day after the 1989 earthquake—the “Kind of Big One,” as some people here call it. I was riding my bike through the hardest hit section of the city, the Marina, checking out the damage, when I saw ahead of me a stooped, white-haired man. He was around 100 yards away, and from that distance I couldn’t make out his face, but somehow I knew instantly that it was Joe Dimaggio. When I got close, I saw that it was indeed him. I’m not even a sports fan. That reminded me of a day ten years earlier when shortly after entering the Stockton tunnel I saw, from the same distance or greater, a large group of walkers coming toward me. The tunnel was loud with passing cars, so I couldn’t hear them talking, but the moment I saw them I had the instantaneous thought, “Germans.” And it turned out that it was, indeed, a group of Germans.
We live in a time where many people insist that the only mind that’s real and trustworthy is the rational intellect. But that’s wrong. I find the intuitive mind more fundamental and of greater value than the dry, crusty intellect. More entertaining, too. We need the rational mind to make sure that we don’t go overboard, but our denial and suppression of intuition is killing the spirit. It’s one of the three great afflictions of Western Civilization.