Don’t throw a penny into the wishing well. If the penny lands on the hole, it will block out the air. If the penny falls on the hole, it will block out the sky.*
The Black Dog – Wishing Well
* My transcription
Don’t throw a penny into the wishing well. If the penny lands on the hole, it will block out the air. If the penny falls on the hole, it will block out the sky.*
The Black Dog – Wishing Well
* My transcription
Introduction. We all know: Goats have been around for centuries, millennia even. However, it’s not obvious to most that goats are also an important factor in terms of economy — today more than ever. They are actively co-shaping our world, making it a better, more nutritious, and at times more complex place. Without goats there would be no bees or trees, not to mention goat cheese. This interview is all about these divine creatures.
Talking to: Claudiu-Vlad Ursache
Who: Goat Expert and Software Writer
I’d like to thank the expert interviewee Claudiu for dedicating a bit of his precious time to discuss this deeply existential topic with us. Get in touch with him here (‣ Claudiu’s website), in case some of your personal questions remained unanswered in this interview.
If you look at the DNA of a goat, you will discern many similarities to human DNA. In fact, goat’s DNA is ten times closer to human’s than Michael Jackson’s DNA. That is not to say that goats function in the same way we do. There are crucial differences regarding methods, goals and values. Before we get nosebleeds trying to figure out goats’ internal life and their role in co-shaping this world, it’s best to ask an expert. Here we go.
Let’s talk goats. How important are they for global economy?
Like the rubber O-rings of NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger, goats may be often forgotten but they play a crucial role in today’s
no government involvement, unless we’re in big trouble, in which case taxpayers please, please, please pay for our gamble free-market system. To give just a few examples of unexpected places in which these agile ruminants exert their influence: increased demand for capretto (found in Gucci shoes and narrations of 85$-dishes delivered by Michelin-starred generals) directly leads farmers in Texas to owning fewer cattle; a glance inside Palestinian smuggler tunnels uncovers animal fodder priced ten times above global market value as a direct consequence of goats kicking ass at being livestock in war-ridden terrain (and the Israeli trade embargo, of course); finally, the feral goat herds of Senkaku Islands are a diplomatic aura that keeps the $350 billion trade between Japan and China on track. ‣ Further reading
Can people and goats be friends despite different value systems?
Yes! The viral Hand-shaking Hoof-Facebook-profile-picture-filter movement in low-GDP countries has brought to light millions of homo-caprine relationships. A better proof for this natural inter-species bond we share is hardly necessary, especially considering the embodiment of aristotelian virtues that every goat has shown itself to be.
What kind of goat would have the most difficulties changing a light bulb?
Survivors of the Capra eléctrica project — the undertaking planned by Thomas Edison in which goats were bred, trained and clockwork-oranged over the course of two decades for the sole purpose of discrediting AC-powered light bulbs in a carefully planed public demonstration at a New York amusement park in 1903.
Imagine you’re walking down the street at night. A goat crosses your way. What goat is it?
The Trump-supporting billy goat.
Pick any goat you can think of and say how it fits in today’s world and society.
I’ll go with Armin Ibrisagic’s goat. Even though it’s made out of bytes, vertex shaders, git commits, not atoms, molecules, eukaryotic cells, this digital Magna Capra has brought evening peace to as many people as Paris holds by unleashing the wrath of straight-horns upon unsuspecting cities.
Takeaway. This interview leaves us with quite a few insights into how goats act within our system. I’m glad our interviewee mentioned Armin Ibrisagic’s goat, as I was secretly hoping. You gotta see this special goat, if you get the chance, during the Goats United Festival, next edition kicking off coming June. There will be surprise guests and a firework, as I’ve been told by insiders. Keep an eye open for that one. As for economical advice we can derive from the above: Ditch gold and art hedgefonds. Invest in goat stock.
As I’ve mentioned in one of the previous posts, I see a lot of potential in using technology to experiment with ideas. For my current purposes I’m going to narrow down technology to digital technology.
Contact forms and buttons, for example, mainly used for meaningful interaction between user and website, can be taken out of context on so many levels. The whole thing boils down to working with the concept rather than with the medium, and doesn’t have to be limited to a digital UI (but can also be printed on paper).
Some theory on conceptual art, because it’s so interesting: The movement itself started in late 60s, but the influences date back to Duchamp’s Fountain (1917), which had caused controversy back in the days because it challenged two ideas:
a) a work of art must demonstrate artistic skill.
b) a work of art must be created using a traditional medium.
Both of these claims are to this day subject of discussions, dividing the public roughly into two groups. People who obviously lack the capacity of being sufficiently open-minded about the nature and potential of art would therefore often say something like my grandmother could do that about a conceptual artwork.
This is something I often find idiotic. I just cannot see their grandmother doing that. Not because she’s physically or mentally incapable of bringing a urinal to a museum with the intent to get it featured, but because she won’t do it. She won’t do it because she, like many other people, likely won’t have what it takes to make conceptual art: confidence in an idea, courage to break conventions, ability to think on a pure level, artistic vision, motivation to bring forward public discourse. But I’m sure she can paint nice flowers.
What I love about conceptual approach is that it’s pushing the boundaries of art further than a traditional approach could do, by asking things like what objects can be art, does it have to be a physical object at all?
It goes even further asking questions like who owns a concept or how do you sell a concept? Maybe if you’re good at selling concepts, you can sell an invisible sheet of paper for $45.000,- to a respectable art collector.
“When an artist uses a multiple modular method he usually chooses a simple and readily available form. The form itself is of very limited importance; it becomes the grammar for the total work. In fact, it is best that the basic unit be deliberately uninteresting so that it may more easily become an intrinsic part of the entire work.”¹² Sol LeWitt, Paragraphs on Conceptual Art (1967)
Conceptual artworks will often confuse, but it’s what they’re meant to do. The process of consuming conceptual art is entirely different from, say, going to a Biedermeier-themed exhibition and marveling at nicely painted realistic looking horses. Horses are for the eye, concepts are for the mind.
We arrived at the big dematerialization of idea about 50 years ago. Sol LeWitt’s Paragraphs on Conceptual Art (1967) is probably the most mentionable manifesto-like work on this. After all the discourse and movements and Duchamp and everything that has been put in a museum (throughout the history) it’s absolutely ridiculous to insist on traditional values in the way the above mentioned people do. Same goes for anti-conceptual movements, such as Stuckism4, whose members claim to be “on a quest for authenticity”. Please.
Present times need current methods, because ideas as well as tools change over time. Traditional art gets challenged by conceptual art. Conceptual art gets challenged by post-conceptual³ art.
I’m not saying an oil painting on a canvas in a golden frame is an obsolete form of art, because anything from the past can be referenced to and because traditional way is an equally valid way of expression.
Conceptual and traditional can both work or not work and be good or not good. But out of all things in this world, art requires an open mind. If you just want pretty pictures, then why don’t you watch a documentary about New Zealand.
¹ Paragraphs on Conceptual Art
² If You Don’t Understand Conceptual Art, It’s Not Your Fault
³ Wikipedia: Post-Conceptual
4 Wikipedia: Stuckism
Figures: Joseph Beuys, Sol Lewitt, Marcel Duchamp, John Baldessari, Marina Abramovic, Damien Hirst, Joseph Kosuth, Jeff Koons […]
Dear Sir, dear Madam,
perhaps there’s some way you can help me. I’m a promising artist who makes unique art. I was wondering whether you would be interested in working on my behalf. Let’s help me together. Don’t bother booking an appointment. I know what your consulting fees are; lunch is far cheaper.
I just want to call and ask you a bunch of questions about myself and my situation. Please take time out of your day, read and study everything I’ve sent you, consider my circumstances, come up with some worthwhile ideas about how I can do things better, and then write everything up in a report and email it to me. I have no website traffic; you have lots. If I can get a link to my website on yours, then I can increase my traffic.
I would really appreciate if you would review everything I’ve emailed you about my situation, and either call and speak with me, or write up a report with your opinions on what I’m doing now, recommendations on how best to proceed from this point forward, and then email it to me.
I’d like to ask you questions about how I can improve everything I’m trying to do. Please review my situation, circumstances, resume, work history, website, approach to the marketplace, business plan, overall presentation, and then write up a report with your ideas and recommendations, and email it to me. What do you think about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it?
Please write your thoughts up in a report along with your recommendations and email it to me. Review my materials, think about what you can do to improve my status, stature or quality of life, write up a proposal about how you intend to do that, and then email it to me. I’ll look it over and decide whether you’re good enough for me to work with.
The above text is for the larger part selectively taken from Alan Bamberger‘s amazing blog about art industry. It consists of everything not to do when writing to galleries, agents or art dealers. This has been done purely for the joy of the experiment. Main lesson to be learnt here: Do not approach people in such a self-centered way, unless you really overdo it.
Photo cred: (c) Michael Birt
Introduction. Hello and welcome to the first interview. The interviewee is me. The questions come from my friend Katy, who happens to be as enthusiastic about the idea as I am. As I’m still experimenting with layout and methods of display, this may not be the final form of how all upcoming interviews will look like.
In this introduction section I’ll usually talk about the interviewee and the topic of the interview. In this case, Katy decided to talk about creative practice and general things like places, seasons and cultural differences. Next interviews will revolve around goats and Marinara sauce, among other things, and might turn out completely different from this one.
Talking to: Yournamehere
Who: Description of whatever role is relevant to the interview. Can be occupation, something hobby-related or anything else. I’m open to suggestions here.
What: Topic (here: predominantly creative practice). Can be virtually anything.
Having talked to some of my future interviewees, I’m coming to the conclusion that an interactive interview might be more interesting or profound. The reasons are pretty obvious: Sending a list of questions means not taking the opportunity to immediately build on what the interviewee is saying. At the moment I’m still settling for just sending them five questions, because it’s the easier thing to do. About this specific paragraph: Switching to italics might put more structure into the layout. This is the extended part of the introduction.
You have a number of online names or personas. How far do these divides permeate? For example, is your creative process different for each name?
This is a complex question. I do at times have different names for different projects, yet I feel like I, as the person behind them, am the common denominator. I’m not trying to be anonymous at all costs when using a certain pseudonym, but I do enjoy taking a little step away from myself as a person by using a different name. The creative process feels like the same thing for everything I do, as it originates in my head (and ends up outside of it), so I always feel some kind of integrity towards what I want to represent.
You articulate in a number of mediums – painting, photography, writing, animation, to name a few. I wanted to know if you start your work with a disembodied idea and then you seek to find the right medium in which to express this idea (like perhaps a multi-lingual person searching for the right language through which to articulate in the least compromising way*) or if you begin with the medium and the idea comes from that point? Or if neither apply, please elaborate.
It starts with an idea. Disembodied idea is a good term for that. I tend to create very spontaneously (in all of the cases), and then work excessively for a couple of minutes or hours. In my case I think the ideas are born very quickly, it seems like they would appear out of nothing. So I pick the medium after the idea came up. The only (partial) exception is perhaps photography, because it relies on what’s happening in the outside world (you have to have the camera ready to take a picture when someone catches a beer glass with their forehead, for example).
As for languages: Similar usage dependence issue as with photography, for me at least. Even more: I almost always use English for everything I do. I’m never really aware of the ‘least compromising’ way, as I’m rather focused on possibilities instead of limitations. Language limitations can also be seen as an advantage, or as something that can potentially enrich the idea, by challenging the ‘creator’ to think more.
Knowing that translation and language use always has to do with limitations though, I can also relate to people seeking to reduce compromise when it comes to expressing their ideas. Language kind of falls out of the above mentioned group of mediums by the way, because it’s so omnipresent and much more basic.
*I only speak one language, so I am not sure if this is something people commonly feel, but I’ve experienced multi-lingual friends reference feeling something like this.
You’ve become increasingly interested in coding and web design. Do you consider this work as a creative practice and in what way? And if not, how would you position this work in relationship to your more traditionally ‘creative’ work.
I think coding is the cleanest version of creation. You create something that makes sense or has meaning in whatever way, and it’s relatively free of certain references — the ones that are typical of traditional art. Artists often work with references, or they’re unintended but identified by the audience. References are not always manageable, so the outcome or impact of ‘traditional creative practice’ is not manageable either. With coding you can have a more streamlined and pure realization of your idea. Yet coding requires a lot of knowledge of crucial details, so the learning process, or the process of developing skills in this area, is slow (at least for me).
I’m sometimes impatient when it comes to executing an idea. That’s why I’ve always appreciated ‘traditionally creative’ work for being more effortless. I won’t give up on the coding though. For now I’m working on a new, more lightweight, way of deploying dropdown menus so the user can determine what phrase fits best into sentence, as in here. I believe this can turn into a new way of deploying technology for ‘creative practice’.
A more personal question: You’ve mentioned wanting to find a work that demands you leave the house during winter. How do you see that the city of Berlin changes from season to season?
Seasons are very crucial around here. The climate will decide whether you stay indoors or go outside. The reason for this is very simple: It’s just the temperature. In the summer you always have more options, like a BBQ or a nice hike. In the winter the hikes always seem more difficult and laborious, and not only them, but every step you’re taking outside of the house. You then stay indoors more, but as you’re surrounded by the same setting, you need to constantly get something new into the setting. For example, many people would watch TV shows. I don’t really watch a lot of things and would like to leave house more in the winter to have more of a change or dynamic in my day.
I am interested in the period you spent in America and would like to know if, and to what extent, on returning from america you saw Germany and Russia in a new light? If so please expand.
I guess you can feel the ‘old world order’ in everything on our continent, as opposed to the U.S. It’s applicable to Germany as well as Russia. I’m thinking architecture here, but also interior design, the look and feel of everything. Other than that, I’ve come to understand political or ideologic differences a little better. Also I might tend to (want to) see more similarities between people of different origins, their beliefs and values. For example I think every culture would appreciate similar values, such as honesty or empathy. The appreciation of values and following these values might just be expressed in a different way or with different intensity with people from different cultures.
Takeaway. This section will aim to summarize the topic of the interview. What do we learn from this demo interview? Because I’m the interviewed person, my insights here are mainly related to layout. If we wanted to nevertheless talk about the point of this interview: Katy seems to be interested in how people come up with ideas and how these ideas work with certain mediums. I’ve been talking about this just yesterday, and I’m noticing that the way we see the medium is different for everybody. When you use a medium to express an idea, the medium can control you (by limiting) or you can control the medium (by not feeling limited). Thank you for these thoughtful questions, Katy!
Explanation of what this is Show explanation Pressing the button will send an email to me. As I’m not using fields for name, email or message, I only receive the phrase, without knowing who or why chose to customize the phrase in the way they did. Some might think this is pointless. I don’t think so.
Pressing the button will send an email to me. As I’m not using fields for name, email or message, I only receive the phrase, without knowing who or why chose to customize the phrase in the way they did. Some might think this is pointless. I don’t think so.
Do you sometimes wonder what other people think? I certainly do. This world is full of people and many of them have something to say. That’s why I’m going to focus more on interviews from now on, or at least give this format a shot and see how that goes. One of the main advantages I see here is the possibility to continue dealing with a wide scope of topics while sticking to a consistent mode of representation. ► Manifesto
Recently I’ve been asked by an artist agency if I would like to be featured on their platform with an interview. I said yes. Funny thing is, they barely know who I am. I guess my fake artist Instagram suggests more than it actually is. In the end it might not matter whether I’m a “real artist”, as long as I (pretend that I) have something to say. This made me think about interview as a format. Like, why don't I just interview anybody I can think of?
I’m surrounded by all kinds of people, such as photographers, programmers, sociologists, architects, writers, psychology graduates, hackers, painters, actors, project managers, teachers, politicians and musicians. Imagine what’s possible when you interview any of them about something else than their field of expertise. Asking them about basic concepts related to their field of expertise could be equally exciting.
"If you're not trying to be real, you don't have to get it right. That's art." Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol wasn’t the first person to emphasize importance and possibilities of conversation, and he won’t be the last. Nowadays numerous magazines work with this form of expression and consist almost exclusively of interviews (and, well, ads, who are we kidding).
As coincidence would have it, this publication is called commonpeople, a name that is more than suitable to represent the idea. What started out as an outlet for uncategorized thoughts might now turn into something more streamlined.
As for my other plans: I’m now going further into experimenting with social media and my next thing is Twitter. What I’m generally learning recently is that there is a lot of extended potential to social media. Most people seem to ignore this potential and mostly use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the like for plain distribution of usual content, such as media, hyperlinks or text. But, like, what becomes of all your #food pictures and how relevant will they be five years from now? I will try to cover this topic in detail soon.
If you wish to be interviewed for commonpeople.de, please use the email address provided via the above home menu. Indicate what topic you’d like to talk about and tell something about yourself.
Recently I got asked to pick and describe a specific challenge characteristic of German language. I went for the obvious one: Compound words. The sheer generative power of building long words is a prevalent feature of German and will likely give linguists and computer scientists headaches for ages to come. How is an algorithm supposed to tell apart a valid term (e.g. Teppichreinigung) from an invalid (e.g. Teppichunterhaltung) one? Given that the invalid term can turn into a valid one at any time, depending on how the usage develops.
Compound words in German bear several challenges for spellchecking and other algorithms. Because of the amount of combination possibilities these words are often unknown (or unseen) to the algorithm/dictionary, resulting in an overall high out-of-vocabulary rate, despite consisting of known terms. This problem is especially present in models that heavily rely on dictionaries as main sources of word recognition. This is why a hybrid approach (1. dictionary of known terms and 2. analysis of the compound parts) is necessary in order to increase accuracy. In German, compounds can consist of different parts of speech, e.g.:
adjective + adjective (dunkelrot)
noun + adjective (massentauglich)
noun + noun (Gottesdienst)
noun + noun + noun (Genussmittelsteuer)
Noun lexemes can occur in singular or plural form. The number of compound elements doesn’t stop at three, which is further multiplying possibilities up to complete ridiculousness (Massenkommunikationsdienstleistungsunternehmen is one of the saner examples). Additionally, prefixes and suffixes are used, leading to further diversification of possible outcomes of the combination. Being relatively short, prefixes and suffixes increase potential ambiguities when parsing/recognizing the term.
For example: Words like Erdrücken are morphologically ambiguous (Erd-Rücken vs. Er-drücken) in terms of lexemes involved, and are thus difficult to segment. This kind of ambiguity can potentially be resolved by analyzing the context (left and right). Using statistical language modeling and bigram analysis would make sense in order to increase recognition accuracy.
In some cases, parts of compound words need to be modified (e.g. by appending a linking element, such as -s-, as in Vorstandsvorsitzender or -n-, as in Tortenguss). Usage of linking elements itself is based on morphological rules that can be formalized without much effort. There are also cases that require hyphenation (particularly the compounds involving words of a foreign origin, e.g. Open-Source-Quelle). This problem can be addressed by using dictionaries and tagged corpora.
Moreover, although it’s less relevant for the spellcheck and the like, several semantic problems arise when automatically recognizing constituents of a compound. Identifying the head of the phrase or the modifier as well as determining the role structure among the constituents are just few of the sub-problems.
Weller M, Heid U. (2012): Analyzing and Aligning German Compound Nouns. In: Proceedings of LREC. (PDF)
How are you supposed to maintain composure when you see Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton singing Time Of My Life like they were born for this moment, see this video. It’s so heart-breaking, yet addictive, of course it'll go viral overnight. I must have watched this video like ten times. Time to sober up and write a review about reality (specifically Trump).
First of all, this video inherently contradicts the actual situation. Trump and Clinton didn’t even shake hands in the beginning of the second debate. The more beautiful the imaginary scenario featured in the video, which is pure harmony. Makes you wish this magic was real. Although who knows, maybe all of this is a show and Hillary “hired” Trump, who doesn’t really want to become a president and is used as an antihero placeholder to eliminate the real competitors and distract from Hillary’s shady background. So much for bold theories.
The main achievement of this video is probably that it makes Trump seem so different than he is usually perceived. This is due to him not speaking, not using his voice, and instead singing a beautiful song. In fact, words are his greatest weakness and blessing at the same time.
For the larger part I’ve been really allergic to Trump’s rhetoric, because for a long time it has just sounded dumb to me. I couldn’t even bear to watch the debates completely and had to close the window a couple of minutes into him speaking because my brain started to hurt. But this obnoxious outer shell could be a very smart construction.
While he’s being perceived as not very bright by many people1, mainly due to his repetitive, simplified (basic cognition level2) language use, he does take advantage of extremely effective techniques, which is a bit scary and which has probably helped him get that far in the first place.
1. For one it’s this kind of direct imagery (crooked Hillary, poisoning the minds of American people) that has the potential to stick in people’s heads, even though it’s not backed by any facts, or is an empty statement. Metaphors have been used in politics for ages, Trump just takes it further by being more bold and speaking of building an actual wall, of putting Hillary in jail or the media rigging the election.
2. Another key aspect of Trump’s rhetoric is surely the overall emotionality that he’s radiating. Most of what he says sounds either like agitation, has an aggressive undertone, or outrages people. It is known since Aristotle that emotion is one of three means of persuasion.3 4
Emotional rhetoric draws attention and makes you stand out more. This stuff is everywhere, in his speeches, in his tweets, it seems like it’s in everything he says, and it makes him so polarizing.
3. He also uses a lot of repetition. This is the most stupid and at the same time the most effective method of getting your message across. If you repeat something often enough, people will eventually believe it.5 It’s like the brute force of rhetoric. The brain likes patterns and it likes repetitions. I for my part sometimes find myself annoyed by repetition in everyday conversations. But in this case I mean repetition in the widest sense: stuff like alliterations, chiasms, rhymes and so on.
4. His vocab is way reduced. This has several effects: His appeals are semantically very direct, simple and general, so they are accessed by rather primary levels of perception, maybe bypassing some critical mechanisms of the viewership. Also the interpretation spectrum for these statements is really wide, making people rather agree than disagree at times. Most importantly though: Using simplified English ensures exposure to all people.
It's somehow disquieting to watch irrationality, self-contradiction and almost barbarian loudness move political agenda out of the focus, turning Trump more and more into a brand and distracting the media. Becoming personal means stepping away from professional. There must be very competent people behind this, as I seriously doubt that Trump himself is that good. Regardless of who of both candidates is ethically more questionable, this is going to be, to put it in a euphemistic way, interesting.
As for the whole grabbing them by the p*ssy part: I think the media outcry might go a bit too far, or maybe I accidentally surrounded myself by certain media channels and am seeing the same phenomenon everywhere. Yesterday I watched the footage of Trump and Billy Bush, during which Trump said these things that got many people so outraged, and judging by the context and Trump’s body language (especially when he gets out of the interview bus to meet the woman who was the reason for the whole convo), he doesn’t seem like someone who would actually break social conventions and approach women like the animal that the media6 portrays him to be.
Of course this still doesn’t take back the effect his remarks might have on public perception of him and (trust into) politics in general, not to mention all the young impressionable minds who now might develop the ambition to grab p*ssies when they grow up. So the true disaster here is the impact on public opinion, collective state of mind, zeitgeist, whatever fits best. Because this topic has been going around in many, many headlines.
The more potentially destructive consequences are at stake here: Triggering a discourse based on these circumstances means regression towards othering of women, who make up about half of the population and are now again treated as a minority by the public. Most people (I’ve read about), including public figures7, now have to “stand up for our wives/daughters/mothers/sisters”. While this movement looks like a legit reaction, it’s rather reinforcing the problem and reinstalls stereotypes that we're supposed to overcome in order to get to some kind of equality. I don't think it's leading to a constructive discussion. This topic is to be continued.
[Edit:] Because I seem to be especially enthusiastic about Trump's rhetoric lately, I wrote a similar, but way more simple and spontaneous article in German to test a website for freelance writers. Make sure your AdBlock is turned on, should you click the link. A report is coming up.
(1) Also see the George W. Bush phenomenon. Obama, on the other hand, who doesn’t seem dumb, is following a different strategy. He puts more weight in intellectual rhetoric and doesn’t use a wide range of emotional devices. He certainly did make people cry though.
(2) There’s this article on this, although in German (Zeit)
(3) Aristotle on rhetoric (Stanford Encyclopedia)
(4) The three means of persuasion, according to Aristotle, are Ethos, Logos and Pathos. See this graphic (a reinterpretation for research publishers, via):
(5) Coined by Hitler and Goebbels, see Big lie
(6) Wikipedia: Mass Communication
(7) Michelle Obama's speech on Trump scandal
(*) Neil Gaiman inspired Add-On for Chrome that'll replace 'political correctness' with 'treating people with respect'
(**) I don't know what the heck this is, but I stumbled over this article as well
There’s a right time and a right place to do the right thing. What do we mean by that? We can put logic behind any decision and action, and sound really plausible to ourselves and other people. It was right to do what I did because XYZ. Examples:
___‣ It was right to shut the window in the evening because it got colder overnight.
___‣ It was right to vote for Donald Trump because I, too, want to build a wall.
___‣ It was right to drunk-rage-destroy my neighbor’s selfie stick because my neighbor is a jerk.
All of these kind of make sense. The perception of doing the right (or at least not the wrong) thing is almost always there.1 The thing in question here is not the logical path, it's the decision itself, or the state of mind that's producing a decision at a given time.
Despite being a fuzzy, culture-dependent concept, intuition2 is interesting to deal with, as it's connected to many related topics, like the subconscious, gut feeling3, the inner voice, the true self, the inner knowing, that unstructured larger area of the brain that doesn’t perform analytical or rational processes and stores everything that makes you you.4
It’s an evolutionary mechanism that can start up an alarm reaction during a decision making process. It's probably the predominant feature in animals' brains. If it's flawed, damaged or malfunctioning, it can make things seem more blurry and decisions less clear. Whatever it is, it is probably a key to a lot of things, such as (successful) communication, its timing, form and content. This seems like one of the more insight-bringing areas as it's related to everything from our daily conversations up to a general sense of something or someone being contemporary or adequate.5
Problems with intuition can occur when the signals coming from it are distorted by e.g. stored traumatic episodes or conflicts in the subconscious. Other people’s (metaphorical) voices also have influence on your inner voice. Constant exposure to same events can lead to forming of stereotypes in the subconscious, making intuition less reliable at times, for failing to adapt to individual scenarios.
Somewhere in Psychology Today6 they warn about potentially being misguided by intuition. The inner voice people would say that this misguidance is not listening to the inner voice, or too loud outside voices. The true self people would say that it’s a blocked true self. Therapists would say that your ego is interfering with your subconscious. Neuroscientists would probably say something fuzzy about correlations of neuronal network clusters activities.
Pathological scenarios related to intuition would surely include both neuroses and psychoses (Did I perceive this correctly or Can I make sense out of this could be some of the central questions)7, but in more harmless ways also general self-doubt, fear, and lack of (perceived) consistency, or, as some might put it, hazy decision paths. You’re not sure if you’re doing the right thing, and it makes you question yourself and your actions.
Admittedly, it's not easy to get a grip on this topic without sometimes sounding like a fortuneteller or a meditation teacher. Let's just leave it at that anyway.
(1) Meaning that you could get anywhere with (on behalf of) logic, as in: You can always pave a way towards something.
(2) in·tu·i·tion ˌin-tü-ˈi-shən, -tyü-:
___‣ a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence
___‣ a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why
___‣ something that is known or understood without proof or evidence
____[All definitions by Merriam-Webster, from now on]
(3) An article on gut feeling (not sure about this source's general trustworthiness, but some parts are spot on)
(4) Of course we needn't generalize too much about the whole brain area thing. I'm merely taking you on a journey towards an approximate understanding of complexity.
(5) For example, I don't consider Kanye West contemporary (anymore). Although it would take long to explain this and is not really worth the time.
(6) This is where a URL for the article should be. I appreciate Psychology Today for their topic sensitivity. They're being really precious with first world problems.
(7) The common practice of diagnosing and treating such disorders, as also proposed by Foucault, could use a readjustment, although I can't see that happening in the near future.