James D. Watson
Lesson of Intuition
Collective Evolution

On Intuition

When James D. Watson came to Cornell
for a talk on campus, I wondered whether
he could offer more insight on the
greatest discovery of molecular biology.
Walking up to the podium after his lecture
I asked him whether the role of intuition
played a part in his discovery of the
Watson-Crick DNA double-helix structure.
He struggled his shoulders, raising his palms
and eyebrows together in a quizzical look:
"Intuition? What's intuition?
Woman's intuition? I don't know any?"

Disappointed at his reply, I probed more
deeply into books of creative geniuses
who dropped hints here and there
on how to attain direct knowledge
without rational thought or inference.
Mozart composed an entire symphony
in the flash of a moment while walking
in the woods. Newton gathered pebbles
and seashells by the ocean. Einstein
contemplated for an entire night
in a meadow gazing at the stars.
Buddha was enlightened in the forest
under the Bodhi Tree, while Christ
fasted for forty days in the desert.

It seemed that they were all alone
stilling their mind in the quietude
and grandeur of Mother Nature.
Yet calling the intuitive muse
to inspire my work remained elusive
till one day while writing the word
Intuition as Intuitiveness, it broke
At once I realized that intuition
comes when we enter into the depth
of the object or subject of inquiry.
By going into ourselves
we find the inner light
that shines into all things.

    — Peter Y. Chou
        Palo Alto, 8-23-1987

Watson & Crick (1953)
double-helix discovery

Mozart (1756-1791)
composition method

Newton (1642-1726)
gathering seashells

Einstein (1879-1955)
on intuition

Buddha (563-483 BC)
under Bodhi Tree

Christ (4 BC-33 AD)
in the desert