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Sea Kayaking, Intuition, and the Theory of Knowledge

by David Pinel

gazing up trunk of ancient tree"David, could you pleeeeease please write me something about this for my book - I neeeeeeed this type of reflection," pleaded Eileen Dombrowski way back in 2006 during a meandering and reflective dinner conversation.  Sounded like fun!  So, several months later, there I was, a contributor to the Theory of Knowledge text published by Oxford University Press as a companion for the International Baccalaureate course by the same name.  Go figure!?

Recently In 2012, Eileen asked for an even more in-depth contribution to the expanded and full-colour 2nd Edition just published in April 2013!  Again, with Eileen and her husband Theo as long-time cherished friends and mentors, this was a pleasure and good for my brain.

This little piece offers but one of many possible reflections from kayak guiding that describes the role of intuition as a "way of knowing" for decision-making. 

My separate interests in both sea kayaking and epistemology (the "theory of knowledge"), began in 1985 and have been unexpectedly intertwined ever since.  In hindsight this is no surprise:  time in the wilderness, active meditation while paddling, and immediate consequences from decisions all collaborate to fuse the two.  Besides, what better than 'solving (and/or escaping) the world' with intelligent people, food and drink in hand, and the crackling warmth of a fire under the stars...

For anyone similarly interested in honing their critical thinking skills and exploring knowledge, Eileen's book does a great job of breaking this down into bite-sized pieces to form a delicious meal.

sunset reflections over water