Let’s ditch the subconscious. It’s a myth, Nineteenth Century woo-woo Freud made popular. It fit the uptight Viennese of the time, but today, it’s a default for misunderstanding our own nature.
by David Stone
We gained a lot of knowledge after the Nineteenth Century disappeared around the corner. It swept superstitions and some unfounded moral hangups into the gutter, but some bad ideas are tenacious.
It’s the 21st Century now, time to ditch the subconscious, the world’s worst myth. It’s a big, scientific mistake.
We learned that viruses kill, but vaccines save us. Nutrition improved when we learned about vitamins and health when we learned about sanitation. And we know enough about inner and outer space to keep us exploring for decades.
Yet when it comes to understanding our emotional lives, we linger in a virtual dark ages of misconception.
Freud pitched “the subconscious,” working in Vienna, which hadn’t yet discovered how repressed it was. But maybe the dictionary definition for it really described something else…
The unconscious is the part of the mind which is inaccessible to the conscious mind but which affects behavior and emotions.
Viewed objectively, that should make you cringe. It’s as if you’re under a spell or occupied by demons. It “affects behavior and emotions,” but it’s “inaccessible.”
Really, that should scare the living hell out of you. Only a secular exorcism known as psychotherapy helps.
We accept the subconscious as fact, but it’s a theory, an idea. No one’s yet seen a subconscious. A theory fills in the blanks, but it’s wrong.
Ditch the subconscious…
Try ditching the subconscious, discard it as an explanation for a moment, and better ideas spring up right away.
Hurry back to the myth, if you like, but know that it insists that you’re blind to a crucial part of yourself. It affects your life dramatically, but it’s unknowable.
Really? Are you willing to do that?
I’m no, if for no other reason because it’s ridiculous to think that evolution prepared us for such a miserable waste of resources.
Evolution isn’t always a perfect adaptation, but it doesn’t squander resources like a drunk on a bender.
That said, I have a better idea.
What if the “subconscious” is the sad result of scientific conceit?
What if it’s emotional illiteracy given a catchy name? And an excuse for bad behavior? It’s your unconscious, and it’s inaccessible. So, how can it be your fault?
We have a built-in insanity defense.
What’s science got to do with it?
With a fervor approaching religion, modern science condemns anything it can’t measure. That is, proof for being real requires that someone can, at a minimum, observe its affect.
That’s how we confirmed gravity. Nobody’s ever seen gravity, but since we’re not flying off the planet as it spins, we know it’s there. Sophisticated experiments prove it on galactic scales.
But we should ditch the subconscious because, although the claimed affects are known, there are better explanations.
Modern science is so addicted to rational materialism, it fails to see the obvious. Emotions and feelings occupy a vast, invisible realm, and in our illiteracy about them, we pass them off as the unconscious.
There’s more to it, though, but our failure to manage our hearts leaves emotions growing like weeds, untended and wild.
We’re taught that emotions must be corralled by controlling thoughts, and that leads to repression and the myth of a troubled unconscious.
If we don’t ditch the bad idea known as the unconscious, we mistake incompetence for blindness.
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
E. E. Cummings understood that we’re incomplete without emotions and that feeling, not thinking, comes first.
Blind leading the blind…
We’ve been taught all our lives to think first, feel second, that emotions are irrational and, therefore, unreliable. We’re told to “think things through,” but not to discount rational thought, there’s more to life than facts, figures and things ordered by thought.
Emotion likes disorder, and sorry, control freaks, it’s healthy.
Probably the main reason modern science embraces thinking and discards feelings as guides to what’s real is a centuries long war with religion.
Invisible feelings come so close to spiritual that alarms go off.
Spiritual beliefs are science’s enemy.
The insistence on being able to see, touch or feel something stems from a battle against airy beliefs that mislead millions. While making millions and giving power to churches.
Ditch the subconscious because it’s just another religious belief
The truth is that science is as dependent on hopes and beliefs as any religion, and it can be just as harmful. Or beneficial.
Point your finger at the horrors of the Inquisition, a favorite target, and find one pointed back at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It’s not that one can claim superiority over the other, it’s that the battle denies us truth.
Step outside that battle, and ditch the subconscious.
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