Sunday, January 05, 2014

The Subconscious Is Powerful

Noise and signal my friends. Noise and Signal!

Thoughts merely arise in our consciousness. There is no complete theory of mind, even for those who study it relentlessly. Maybe if somebody does understand what consciousness is, they at least don't to the point where the can explain to me so I understand what consciousness is.

I have no fucking idea what qualia is, I've watched Dan Dennett explain it twice now.

But there's this freaky freakish thought I think - if our conscious mind is something that merely happens, then our consciousness is more of a witness than an agent.

I've been coming to terms with the fact that the smart part of my mind is my subconscious, and when it comes to some kind of clever conclusion it just lets the part of my mind I think of as me about it.

My conscious mind is slow. Doofus slow. I've literally spent days marveling at my subconscious deduction and how many months (or years) it can be ahead of conscious realization.

What I'm trying to train myself out of is talking, and to do more listening. Which is difficult when dealing with the external world, but is super difficult when you are talking about your internal conversation. I have my bright but shy subconscious, that can figure things out without being able to prove them in coherent arguments, but is right. Then I have my yammering conscious mind, that can articulate shit and reason and all that sort of stuff and it's really impressive, but it can talk me into believing just about anything.

Gabor Mate says we have three predictive nerve centers, our mind, our heart and our gut. Actually lined with nerves. I haven't done my research, but I can believe it, I can be persuaded by my own experience, something that doesn't happen with my own experiences of psychic phenomena, dream interpretation etc.

Here's the break down though -

gut - signal.
heart - signal.
mind - noise.

which isn't to say that the conscious mind is useless. Clearly it is. Reasoning is useful, and is perhaps the only thing that gives us choice.

For example, recently I was in a situation I found emotionally dangerous, and without understanding it (until reflection) I got mean to scare off my assailant. The thing is had I been consciously able to acknowledge what was upsetting me, I could have reacted in a much better way.

My subconscious managed to do it's job, it was just messy, a blunt instrument it solved an immediate problem but created another one to deal with.

And I guess that's the hard task of learning to listen to impulses and instincts, they protect us from bad stuff, they acknowledge realities we find too uncomfortable to face consciously. The balance between conscious and unconscious behavior may actually be a mix I shouldn't fuck with.

It's easy for me to talk about now, because for now I can just marvel at the unconscious ability to set me up for good stuff too. But my instincts and intuitions have always been something I'm bad at listening too in the good times and bad.

It's much smarter than I am.

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