Do We Really Need A Brain?

Where does our intelligence come from?

Posted Mar 01, 2010

How much of our intelligence even comes from our brain? Despite many new studies that are being conducted using state-of-the-art technology and imaging, scientists still know very little about consciousness and where intelligence comes from.
In one study, British neurologist John Lorber concluded that the loss of nearly all of the cerebral cortex (the late evolutionary part of the brain that gave humans their vaunted mental powers and superiority over other animals) does not necessarily lead to mental impairment. One student at Sheffield University, who had an IQ of 126 and won first-class honors in mathematics, had virtually no brain from a condition called hydrocephalus. This led scientists to wonder--where does intelligence come from?
Moreover, scientists still don't thoroughly understand where intuitive intelligence comes from -- that form of knowledge that goes beyond the so-called rational brain. Why do we sense danger before the event even happens? Why do we hear from a long-lost schoolmate moments after we've thought of her?
As a psychiatrist who integrates intuition with traditional medicine, I believe that consciousness and intuition involve a kind of wisdom that goes beyond the rational mind, beyond neurons, beyond the time space continuum. I have spent my career integrating intuitive medicine into the practice of traditional, biologically oriented, psychiatry. But my personal journey--which I chronicle in my new book Second Sight--is one where I  grew up as an intuitive child in a family of 25 physicians--scientifically minded relatives who raised their eyebrows to intuition and revered only the statistics = reality oriented paradigm of reality. My message is that we can blend intuition with the analytic mind to make us smarter, more insightful and more loving. I know when doctors "tune in" to this other form of intelligence; it greatly expands the scope and effectiveness of their healing practice. By tapping into your own intuition, you can also enhance work performance, athletic skills, health, relationships, and much more.

I want to raise the discussion about:

• What makes humans conscious beings
• What intelligence is -- and where it can be found in your body, besides the brain
• Why coincidences happen--and why they are not merely random events
• How to strengthen your intuitive intelligence--and make better decisions
• Why you should pay attention to "gut" reactions

I invite you to keep an open mind, perhaps explore areas you haven't ventured in before, and be prepared for lively debates with colleagues and friends as well as exploring new methods of discovery.

Judith Orloff MD, a UCLA psychiatrist is author of the new bestseller Second Sight: An Intuitive Psychiatrist Tells Her Story and Shows You How to Tap Your Own Inner Wisdom (Three Rivers Press edition, 2010) and Emotional Freedom NOW available in paperback and upon which this article is based. Second Sight describes how to tap your intuitive intelligence in your work, relationships, health, and everyday life. She is also author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom. For more information and inspiration, visit