This article will attempt to explain how we can improve our responses to stimuli and better understand the real world. The method described will separate the practitioner, psychologically, spiritually, from the majority of individuals. In order to achieve this worthy goal, two familiar words, conscious and subconscious, will be used in a new context, as the names of two groups of people. One group, the subconscious is easily deceived, manipulated, and swindled, while the other group, the conscious, is not.
The individuals who claim to have escaped from the subconscious sometimes identify themselves with unique names. Some identify as a truther, a seeker, a critical thinker, an awakened person, etc. This article will refer to this group as the conscious. Sometimes, these people, the conscious refer to those of the other group, as sheep or zombies, or some other term. Sometimes this is intentionally meant as a derogatory identification, but not always. Nevertheless, the individuals called sheep or zombies usually do not appreciate the designation. This tends to socially distance the groups from each other, insidiously.
But whether or not an individual considers themselves as members of this group, the conscious, are they really?
Before describing the individuals referred to as the subconscious, let’s contrast them with another group, the unconscious. Everyone can spot an unconscious person. They’re easy to identify. They won’t respond to normal stimuli. Usually they’re asleep, but sometimes they’re in a coma or maybe in a trance. Their body is functioning, but they cannot or will not respond to most external stimulation.
In the above scene from The Matrix, two people are having a conversation in a computer generated environment. They are unconscious in the physical world. Their minds are responding to input from an electrical machine, which has somehow suspended their usual senses. The Matrix movie is only referenced in this article due to its content, but the production and its psychological poison will be the subject of a future AP article. For the purposes here, it is a relevant and dramatic example.
Everyone spends time unconscious and this is not usually a problem. The question of where we are, or what is happening to us there is not the purpose of the article, as previously stated. The unconscious was discussed to prepare for the subject of the subconscious, and to explain how to become part of the conscious, and how to stay with the conscious.
Before continuing, please do not get the unintended impression. Being unconscious, subconscious, or conscious has nothing to do with the quality or character of an individual. These terms only describe an individual’s attention, the origin of their stimuli, and their reaction.
As a dramatic way of explaining, the subconscious are slaves who think they are free. Seems kind of harsh, but the audacity of that statement depends on the term, slave. So, in this context, what is a slave? This article will use one of the definitions from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Slave: one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence
Then what would be the dominating influence? The answer to that important question is discussed more deeply here, but for brevity’s sake, the dominating influence is the information the individual has consumed, or more likely, had shoved down its throat. Ultimately, those who have the most control of information dominate the subconscious.
So, what’s the fundamental difference between the conscious and the subconscious? The two groups react differently to stimuli. The conscious react cautiously, intentionally, and with curiosity, but the subconscious lets their pre-existing information set control their reactions, much like a computer follows its if/then code.
- The Subconscious
- if stimulus, then access memory for response.
- The Conscious
- if stimulus, then reassess memory and search for missing information for response
To fully understand this, examples are needed, table below.
For those who take time to read some of the examples in this table, one important point becomes apparent. Being a member of the conscious group requires aggressive effort. No one can always remain a member of the conscious. Just as easily as joining the unconscious, we can slip and fall back into the subconscious.
Before concluding this article, let’s consider how the subconscious would respond to these assertions. As an instrument, I’ll slide into the head of my good friend, Ben, and see how he would respond. (Sorry, Ben, but you’re my favorite example of the subconscious.) Having said that, let it be known that I consider Ben as one of the most intelligent people I know. When he says something, I listen. One day, I told him about how we need to do our own research. He said something like:
There’s no need to scrutinize most topics. There are experts who we can and should trust. We’ll not get far in this life if we have to re-invent the wheel for every subject. We should begin where they left off, so we can achieve more.
In some ways, Ben is giving great advice. There are many people we can and should trust as information sources, link. But there’s also poison embedded in the Ben’s response. We often trust a chain of people, and only 1 faulty link can disconnect us from reality (believing false information). We may be trusting people who may have trusted the wrong person or organization.
We can usually trust that our professor, doctor, or service is sincerely trying to help us, but we can’t automatically trust the people they have trusted, or the people who they have trusted trusted. For example, we might trust the information provided by our doctors, and they trust their professors in medical school, and they trust the pharmaceutical industry. Any broken link can mean the connected information is garbage. In a driving situation, we should not trust in the other drivers, and give them responsibility for our safety.
As a non-linear, trust-chain example, we often trust what a company claims about their product, such as no artificial ingredients. This trust may be based on positive experiences with that company, or their image. But we’re also trusting the FDA, and that they have successfully audited the company’s compliance to regulations, which in turn is trusting in the regulations, which in turn is trusting those who wrote the regulations.
Sometimes, we need automatic reactions. Thinking can slow us down, waste our time. But we need to program our automatic reactions through conscious effort, and not allow someone else to program us. There’s also danger in thinking we have found the best possible response to a specific stimulus. That arrogance will hinder our progress. Circumstances constantly change, so we should often re-evaluate our current situation and programming. This requires the gathering of updated information, which should be sifted, rinsed, and summarized.