SCG Daily – The Sixth Sense of Magic: Intuition

Good work, Sherlock!

Hey there, glad you could make it. Was it the layout of the page that tripped your eyes, or did you just hear something amiss from a friend? It’s all good, glad you could put the information into action.

Intuition an interesting capacity in Magic. Most people would say reason out the turn, considering all the relevant factors, weighing the probabilities and logic, and make a decision. It’s not a bad way to go with perfect information. How often do you have that?

Magic requires an occasional leap of consciousness and faith to succeed. Some logic, some experience and a sprinkling of hope can give you the right move, imperfect information and all.

Our senses continue to take in information, way below the conscious level. You aren’t aware of the feeling of clothing against your skin, or every smell you inhale; every little detail of minutia that intersects our everyday life. So too in Magic do we not fully grasp every twitch of the wrist or wrinkling of the brow of an opponent. That’s unfortunate, because your game goes a lot better with all that information at the ready. Still, too much would be overwhelming, leaving us precious little energy to actually go about winning the game.

So our subconscious takes up the slack of all this data, useful and otherwise. While you’re engaging your active mind on immediate, obvious matters at hand, your sublime mental resources are still churning the info into something useful for you. Ever look at a crossword clue and be stumped, yet come up with the right answer an hour later? Thank you, subconscious.

I don’t believe in ESP or psychic powers or anything of the sort. Yet as for as your capabilities are concerned, the end result is not dissimilar. Your intuition is not a sense like the other five; rather it’s a filter and condenser, taking all that data and giving back something golden.

The trick is to be able to listen to these clues. Have you ever just had a “feeling” he was holding Second Thoughts? But it didn’t make sense, his only White source was a Ravaged Highlands, and he would have had to topdeck it this turn anyway! So you blindly attack, and lo and behold, there it is. Where did the flash of reasoning come from? More importantly, why didn’t you heed it? You have a lot more answers at your fingertips than you realize. On multiple-choice tests, administrators suggest going with your first choice, because that’s usually the right one. People don’t, though; that flash of intuition is put down by talking yourself into the wrong answer. Your brain is smart, man.

Whether it’s playing a game or running from a po-po, ideas are going to come to you. These flashes of reason do not come from empty space, they’re a speedily-executed reasoning of your memory, senses, and common sense. Allowing yourself to trust yourself goes an awfully long way to utilizing your potential. After the fact you can analyze why you had the idea and why it was a correct one, but in the game, you’d do well to just act. Your brain is smart when you’re smart enough to listen.