Why and How ‘Subconscious’ is an obstacle in
Our inquiry into the subconscious or the ‘unconscious’ (the term originally proposed by Freud) is mainly from the standpoint of understanding it in the context of mental restructuring. That is, for identifying, grasping and rectifying the problems it poses during the process of understanding and restructuring of our mental processes. Of course, we hope that this inquiry and the understanding derived from it will also become a stepping-stone for a serious and mature examination of this phenomenon and a revision of the main concepts and ideas pertaining to it. In our view the presence of Subconscious actively prohibits us from perceiving and understanding the dialectical struggle within our minds for evolving the autonomous intellect based mental system, and hence becomes a major hindrance in operationalising the process of mental restructuring. Therefore, we need to intelligently understand it and then see how we can use that understanding to control its current functioning and eventually get rid of it.
More specifically, we need to clearly grasp what the subconscious actually is and then carry out a historical analysis of it as a part of the evolving human mental phenomenon, to determine how and at what stage it came into being as a mechanism within the human mind. Or in other words what was the logical causation for its emergence as a mental process? This inquiry will enable us to look for ways and means to tackle and reject it now, when we can clearly identify it as a liability instead of an asset in the healthy and normal working of the human mind. This will free our mind of at least one major obstacle in the process of mental restructuring.
What is the subconscious?
The subconscious, in our view, is a mechanism (probably a part of the memory module) in the human mind which harbours the memory of those perceptions and experiences (mostly unconscious but emotionally relevant) which remain undigested or unresolved in the human mind. That is, they are not completely processed both emotionally and intellectually. In other words, the processing mechanism of the mind is unable to reach a clear-cut decision in relation to them and hence not able to use them during the processing related to specific and immediate tasks confronting an individual, which require resolved decisions that can be implemented.
The reason why some experiences and perceptions remain unresolved in the human mind is that human perceptions and experiences are quite complex and so is their processing. During processing they go into the various departments of the mind; memory of likes and dislikes, emotional and mental programmes and response mechanisms, imagination, mental habit patterns, the Will, etc. This results in generating diverse permutations and combinations of these perceptions and experiences leading to greater complexity. On the other hand, the processing of data which is normally applied to situations in the outside world, requires that a large number of these permutations and combinations be discarded to reach an unambiguous decision to act within the context of a specific situation. Which means that irrelevant and unresolved perceptions and experiences cannot be utilised by the mind and their presence would only serve to overload and boggle it.
It is in this situation that the mind comes up with a survival devise of removing the unresolved and irrelevant perceptions and experiences from our consciousness and putting them on the back burner of our mind. So that they do not interfere with our day to day life. The mind, in other words, creates a ‘suspense account’ of subconscious where it puts away all such memories that are immediately irrelevant for its aware functioning but which it is unable to completely discard due to their emotional relevance.
However, the problem is that unlike the entries of a ‘suspense’ account, these unresolved perceptions and experiences in the subconscious do not remain inert or inactive. Due to their strong emotional relevance for an individual they continue to interact amongst themselves and with other such subsequent perceptions forming within an individual’s mind from childhood onwards. Resulting in the formation of a complex and multi-layered structure. This informs us that the subconscious is not just a repository of these perceptions but also a lower-level processing mechanism. In which the existing and new perceptions continue being processed amongst themselves and at the same time keep interacting and influencing the on-going data processing functions of the mind.
Essentially, all this is happening at an unconscious level or below the surface of the aware functioning of the mind, hence our aware mind is unable to pinpoint the source of interference in its functioning and therefore incapable of controlling it. To take a simple example. There could be a childhood incident that a person may have been unable to understand and resolve at the time of its experience. Its memory keeps coming back in an unresolved form to interfere in the experience of new perceptions. It keeps intervening and influencing the thoughts and feelings of a person and the worst part is that he is unable to do anything to stop this interference. Moreover, this process continues operating throughout the life of an individual where a major portion of the new experiences and perceptions continue becoming a part of his unresolved subconscious and thereby obstructing the normal functions of his mind.
In another, more extreme case, a child may inculcate within himself a constant fear of being beaten, to an extent which is beyond the conscious intellectual capabilities of his mind to handle at that stage. As a grown up man he starts ignoring his fear during the aware functioning of his mind, but the memories keep coming back as nightmares and hallucinations whenever his conscious defences are down. These nightmares and hallucinations then create an artificial world because the actual threat of being beaten up is no longer valid, while in his mind it is very real and imminent. So he starts coming up with imaginary solutions to this (subconscious) problem, which do not work. As a reaction, he comes up with a further series of equally imaginary and invalid solutions. Thus, in this specific situation, if the imminence of a subconscious threat does not recede, and that person keeps formulating new series of solutions which fail miserably and visibly, then he is on a sure path towards insanity or suicide.
From the above two examples it is evident that the subconscious impairs the normal functioning of the human mind and can cause a lot of destruction both within and outside of an individual. Of course we must not forget that it was created because of the mind’s inability to get rid of unresolved and irrelevant (in relation to specific situations) perceptions and to save the aware mental functions from overloading and breaking down, but today it has become a major hindrance in the normal functioning of the mind. And thereby, in our opinion, a major obstacle in its further evolution as well. In order to understand why and how this situation has arisen (which is the first step for removing this obstacle in the way of mental restructuring) we need to first trace the historical origins of the subconscious; how it emerged to become a part of the human mind during its evolutionary history.
Historical origins of the subconscious
Starting from Freud and his contemporaries up to the present day Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Neuroscientists, etc., no one disputes the significance and role of subconscious (read unconscious) mental processes in the overall functioning of the mind and the relationship between the conscious and unconscious mental processes. Although the techniques, ideas and concepts used by these specialists to analyse and understand these mental processes are varied and have been changing over the course of developments in their own and other respective fields of inquiry related to mind and consciousness.
The issue however is that despite the variations in the methodologies employed by the different scientific disciplines while inquiring into mental processes, the essential conceptual and practical elements of all these methodologies have been derived from the same source—19th century science. In which a phenomenon was examined and analysed in its existing state, under controlled conditions and then empirical evidence was gathered to substantiate that analysis. Consequently, a major defect crept into this approach in the form of a non-stated assumption that the phenomenon being studied has always been in existence in its given form and will continue to remain so for all times to come; it was sanctified, so to speak, on a universal time-scale. So the phenomenon under scrutiny became a given and unchangeable reality, as opposed to its actual reality of being an evolving entity. This approach only served to emotionally and intellectually overwhelm the inquirer, as he found himself dealing with a reality which was always there and would continue to be there for all times to come, in stark contrast to his own reality as a mortal being.
Therefore, in both the Freudian analysis of the subconscious and the contemporary approaches of understanding conscious and unconscious mental processes this non-stated assumption that human beings may come and go but the subconscious will always remain to haunt them is implicit. And that is why instead of understanding the objective logic of why it emerged and how it can be removed or switched off, attempts are only made to try and manage the subconscious. How? Mostly through looking for causal links between one’s behavioural traits and the subconscious experiences (which in the Freudian tradition mostly constitute of repressed sexual memories) since childhood and then superficially understanding them in order to learn to live with the subconscious. Today, therefore the mainstream approach towards the subconscious is to compromise with it and learn to manage it. The growing number of Psychologists and Psychiatrists with their so-called successful (in terms of the ever increasing number of patients) practises are a clear manifestation of this approach towards the subconscious.
Basically, we are suggesting that any serious attempt to understand the subconscious should not view it as a fixed phenomenon which has always existed and will continue to do so forever, but as a fluid phenomenon having an evolutionary history and a possible logical end. It came into existence at a certain time in Nature’s evolutionary process and will probably go out of existence after completing all the logical stages of its evolution. Hence it is in this context and with this perspective that we have tried to analyse and understand the structure and working of the subconscious within the minds of contemporary humans. And following are some of the insights and understandings that we have derived from our analysis.
While studying the phenomenon of the subconscious in a historical perspective we find logical reasons and supporting historical evidence to conclude that it is a recent addition to the evolving minds of human beings. It is an exclusive characteristic of the modern human mind. Let us see how this is so.
If we study the animal mind, both of the lower and higher animals, we find no evidence of the presence of subconscious in its logical structures and functions. The animal mind may be unconscious (on a relative scale of comparison with the awareness produced at the level of human intelligence) but there are no subconscious (as described above) functions within it.
Similarly when we come to Homo Sapiens there is again no indication in the archaeological and cultural evidence left behind by primitive human beings in the form of tools, artefacts, cave-paintings, wood and stone carvings, that the subconscious was a feature of their thoughts and feelings. There is evidence that they could not correctly understand natural phenomena such as the sun, the moon, the tidal waves or the winds, and therefore explained them as the doings of a parallel-existing world populated by gods and other mythological creatures but they did not have the capacity to create an artificial reality, which is a characteristic only of modern humans with developed consciousness.
Even at the dawn of civilisation, human behaviour was free of the subconscious. There were simple forms of amicable and adversarial relationships. People made alliances or came in confrontation with each other in clear cut and simple situations in which they tortured, fought, killed, defeated invading armies or invaded other places, conquered kingdoms, and so on. But there was no mental repression or ambiguity (characteristics of those minds which are infected by the subconscious) as to what they were doing and why they were doing it.
When man begins to intellectually grow and grapple with abstraction, even at that stage, there are no signs of the subconscious. On the contrary there is evidence of productive and uncluttered thinking in that period. For instance, in the case of early thinkers like Socrates and Confucius there is no evidence of the working and obstructing influence of the subconscious within their minds. Their intellectual thinking was free and therefore very productive, considering the state of the knowledge-fund in their time.
Not even the mythological stories of medieval times betray any signs of being affected by the subconscious. Both the immortals and the mortals depicted in these stories had no melancholic hesitations or reservations when they were confronted by a task. There are no stories in which Zeus has hysteria or nervous breakdowns. Or the maidens captured by ogres are inflicted with various mental disorders. Hence even at this stage the Subconscious seems to be non-existent.
The history of the subconscious, in our view, might have begun with the advent of the commercial bourgeoisie. When they began commercial trade with far away countries and colonies, and the news of whether their ships carrying the merchandise had safely reached their destination or not could only be obtained after a time-period ranging between a few months to years. There was a great financial risk involved in such trading ventures, as the capital to finance them came not only from the King but also from the savings of individuals belonging to the middle classes, i.e., traders, craftsmen, etc. These people did not have access to an endless supply of money which meant that the failure of any one of their ventures could ruin all that they may have worked for throughout their lives. Thus, the time during which they waited for the success of their trading ventures must have been a period of great mental tension for the individual merchants. Their minds must have been diverted from the normal functions of problem solving for dealing with concrete situations and instead, would have started making permutations and combinations of all the risks and dangers that could possibly ruin them. Moreover, not even the successful return of their ships would have made them experience a normal state of happiness. As the ecstatic joy of having “overcome” all the imaginary situations that they concocted in their minds before the arrival of the ships, could only have led to a state of hysterical happiness.
With the coming of the industrial bourgeoisie and the Industrial Revolution, the complexities of life increased further. During this period, the superstructures of the bourgeois society became stronger and very complex. The life of ordinary people, in addition to the actual risk-takers or the businessmen, also began to be affected by changes in the social structures. The centre of people’s activities changed from the manor of the feudal lord to the industrial towns and cities. The previously fixed class distinctions became increasingly blurred, as the ascendancy from lower classes to upper classes became a dynamic reality for ordinary people. The serfs could break the yoke of feudalism to become the commercial/industrial workforce by migrating to the cities. And so a whole new class of “petty bourgeois” (formed by shopkeepers, clerks, accountants, and so on) was added to the social fabric.
Actually, the so-called middle classes, in all their facets and forms, came into existence during the Industrial Revolution. They were neither poor enough to be proletarians nor rich enough to be capitalists but lived on the fringe benefits of the bourgeois social structure, being slightly well placed in the social hierarchy than the proletarians. The peculiar circumstances in which they lived gave rise to a whole new culture that was reflective of the tough conditions of life in the industrial cities which were under great civic pressures due to a large inflow of peasantry from the country. For instance, they did not have any land holdings in the country and lived in rented places in the cities hence they were under a constant danger of eviction due to non-payment of rent, with no other place of shelter in the harsh urban conditions of life. In addition, they also had to buy all the food requirements that they could otherwise have grown on the farm in the country. Thus, for a great majority of the new population of the cities, the prospects of a financially better life became essentially a struggle for food and shelter; a struggle which was more or less non-existent in the feudal society. It is true that the feudal lords expropriated a large proportion of what the peasants produced, but they left them with enough food and other supplies to live and work for the next sowing of crops and their harvest.
In addition, the middle classes also developed a culture of pretences to show off more than their actual socio-economic worth. They did this in order to distinguish themselves from the working class and also due to their hidden aspirations to move up the social ladder. They could observe that there were opportunities to be seized in order to work their way into the capitalist class but surely these opportunities were fewer in number than those who aspired to cease them. Therefore, to be successful they had to formulate better strategies for beating the others in the race for an access to these opportunities. This became an additional factor for the complexity of mental and external life.
Combining all these traits of the middle class behaviour with the ever-present danger of losing whatever they had already gained in life, we can see that the life of these people must have become extremely complex. And that is when a new mental mechanism—the subconscious as a repository of unresolved and immediately irrelevant perceptions—to cope with this increasing complexity must have developed as a full-fledged phenomenon.
As mentioned before the subconscious existed in a nascent and rudimentary form in the period of commercial bourgeoisie and mercantile capitalism and the process of its evolution must have begun from that stage onwards but it could not have emerged as a full-fledged mental phenomenon before the above-mentioned phase of human history. That is, the large-scale manifestation of the subconscious could not have been earlier than the late 18th and the early 19th centuries. An evidence of this can be found in the literature of those times. The works of the Bronte sisters, the great Russian tradition of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, and the stories written by Frenchmen like Flaubert and Maupassant, are clear evidence of the working of the subconscious in the minds of people in those times.
Thus, what Freud did not realise (and neither do contemporary scientists working on the mental processes and consciousness) was that he was basically dealing with a very recent and modern phenomenon which could not have come into existence for more than a century or two before his birth. Had he done so, he would have understood the subconscious as an overflow of human consciousness about the outside world, as prompted by the complex living conditions of the post-feudal social set-up.
The working of the subconscious in the contemporary human mind; its manifestations and effects
Before the inception of the subconscious, the logical operation of the human mind was similar to the working of the minds of other living species; it interacted at a simple level with the outside world from the standpoint of fulfilling an individual’s simple physical needs of survival. Which means that its emotional and intellectual capabilities had to deal or cope with simple physical problems in the outside world and come up with simple and clear-cut solutions. But during and after the Industrial Revolution, the life of the individual transformed in ways that the physical inability to cope with the circumstances of one’s life gradually became marginalized as a problem. And was replaced instead by intellectual inability to cope with the changing circumstances of one’s life and the ensuing complexities. This resulted in an overflow in the form of unresolved and irrelevant perceptions and experiences. And that is when the Subconscious emerged as a proper mental mechanism within the mind to handle this overflow.
Hence what we know as subconscious is essentially the mechanism that the mind evolved as a means to protect its everyday functions from the product of the increasing complexities of the life process and the failure of the intellect to cope with them. Otherwise, it would not have been possible for it to send clear-cut commands to the Will mechanism about specific situations in everyday life.
A word of caution here, one must not confuse the inability of contemporary man to cope intellectually, with the plight of a slave or a serf of the medieval period, overwhelmed by his physical circumstances. For a slave, the severity of any problem, the magnitude of the difficulties posed by it, and the tragic results faced while trying to solve it, are not the same as the inability of a contemporary person to cope at an intellectual level. For a slave or a serf, it was a resolved fact of life that if he were to try to escape or demand better living conditions, he will be physically punished or killed. So he interacted with life in terms of clear-cut decisions: either conform to his conditions or try to escape, and while escaping, either be killed or succeed. This is somewhat similar to the plight of a goat being slaughtered, wherein its intellectual problem only amounts to avoid being killed; the problem which overwhelms it is the physical inability to escape. On the other hand, the subconscious creates such diverse and manifold permutations and combinations of situations that have no connection with reality, that intellectual inability to cope with them becomes inevitable. A mess of mostly unreal and unresolved elements is created within the mind which impairs and disables the normal mental functioning of an individual.
The rampant scale at which the subconscious is present and operating in the minds of today’s human beings, right from the top of the social hierarchy down to the people of ordinary means, is an extremely unhealthy situation. And there are two reasons for it. Firstly, the presence of the subconscious threatens to sabotage the normal working of all the other mental processes. It destabilises the emotional structure and its patterns; disturbs the nervous system; and weakens the Will mechanism. Moreover, it results in the disruption and perversion of people’s relationship with others and their own selves. And if this situation gets out of hand, the individual may go mad, have nervous breakdowns, get hooked on to drugs to lessen the impact, or simply commit suicide.
However, most people do not subscribe to the above acts; they want to lead normal lives. Thus they keep beefing up the ledger of the subconscious and put its problems in the “refrigerator” of the mind. The difficulty however, as mentioned before, is that they neither become inert nor are they destroyed. Only their velocity, dynamic, pressures and urgency are reduced on a makeshift basis.
The Psychologists and Psychiatrists are not capable of dealing with these problems (in terms of providing permanent solutions for them) caused by the subconscious. They only view these problems in terms of specific complexes and syndromes (as if they are the sources of mental discrepancies) and therefore tackle them only at that level. Whereby, the real culprit, the subconscious, is legitimised and its mechanisms are strengthened. Individuals only learn to live with their subconsciouses by paying regular visits to psychologists and if they get worse during the course of these visits they are put on psychiatric drugs. So this is how we try to tackle our subconscious. The issue however is, that this is a very superficial and temporary way of handling the problems of the subconscious and can never therefore be effective in the long run. Hence we need to view the subconscious and its problems from another angle.
We need to understand that today the problem of the subconscious lies in the modern human mind like a low-grade infection does in the body. In a low-grade infection the germs do not powerfully and rapidly multiply and infect the whole body but at the same time are also not destroyed completely. They just confine themselves to some particular area of the body, for example the liver, and whenever the immune system does not work properly they manifest in the form of an infection (whose symptoms were previously invisible) which then affects the entire body of an individual. Similarly, when an individual’s life is going smoothly (without major conflicts and contradictions) then the subconscious mostly stays in a harmless and dormant state. But whenever the adversities of life threaten him, the subconscious with its innumerable syndromes flares up. And takes over his normal mental functioning.
A blatantly obvious manifestation of the flaring up of the subconscious (which we can commonly witness today) in our time is the inability of people to cope with life, which leads to nervous breakdowns and insanity in acute cases. While the rest of us experience the subconscious in less aggravated forms; its effects are not felt or manifested in their extreme forms but their constant interference keeps the mind totally preoccupied with the problems of coping with life, leaving very little time and energy for anything other than that.
At the concrete operational level, the subconscious manifests itself in the form of thinking which is not related to doing. People spend a large proportion of their ‘thinking time’ to contemplate, articulate, scheme and plan about things, situations and issues that have nothing to do with what they practically do in life. Such thoughts produce nothing but false impressions and pretences of being intellectual. They create an unhealthy state in the mind as it turns away from its natural and normal function of problem solving to deal with concrete problems. One thinks only for the sake of thinking with no intention or Will to execute and apply one’s thoughts.
Non-practicable thinking is an increasingly rampant feature of the existing state of the human mind. Apart from ordinary individuals, present day intellectuals and academics are especially afflicted by it. The academic intellectuals on the basis of their thinking and skills manufacture sophisticated and complex theories in their specialised disciplines. But most of these theoretical constructs are either impractical or just for ornamental purposes. That is, to be distributed and exchanged among esoteric peer groups or put into bookshelves as pedagogical treatises. Which means that they fail to become a part of life. They are of no practical significance for people in general.
The consequences of such non-practicable thinking are that people become disoriented and disintegrated. That is, there is no integration between the physical, emotional and intellectual elements of their personality. Which results in both the mind and the body becoming sick and unhealthy. The mind keeps concocting schemes and ideas which have no practical application in the outside world. And this situation reaches a critical level where it gives rise to various mental and physical disorders.
Most importantly, this above-mentioned unhealthy state of the mind becomes a very major obstacle in mental restructuring. There are two reasons for that. One, because the best capabilities of the intellectual process are immersed in thoughts that are divorced from practise hence whatever ideas we may formulate for a contemporary understanding of the human mind for its restructuring, will continue to be ineffective. And thereby make the existing state of the human mind (dominated by the subconscious) the largest single hindrance in the process of its restructuring.
Two, mental restructuring requires such an intensive mental application of one’s attention, energy and faculties that it cannot withstand even a small disturbance. The clarity and sharpness of mental focus required for it is so much that even a small fraction of the unintelligence ensuing from the subconscious can produce great difficulties in this process.
However, today this unhealthy situation in the human mind and its consequences can be rectified on the basis of an intelligent understanding of its various processes and functions. We have sufficient facts and theories about its historical origins and evolution up to now to see it as a natural phenomenon. We have strong working hypotheses to understand the basic logic, structures and functions of our minds. We can observe that like any other phenomenon in the process of evolution, the mind has changed and will continue to change. None of the mental processes, including the subconscious, is immutable. And during this process of change, it may acquire new structures and functions while discarding some of the present ones. Most likely, it will do away with those which hinder its further evolution, including the subconscious.
How to get rid of the subconscious
There will be two parallel levels of intelligent understanding that will need to be acquired as a first step towards getting rid of the subconscious. First, we will need to understand that the Subconscious is not in the same category of mental processes and functions as the emotional structure, the perceptual systems or the intellect. Which implies that it is not very deep-rooted. It is a recently acquired trait of the human mind. Therefore, to have an intelligent understanding of it in order to switch it off, it is necessary to understand the brain/mind in terms of its origins, evolutionary history and anatomy. Not in subjective terms of experiencing it as a unique organ in our body but as a naturally evolving phenomenon. And then trace the circumstances in which the subconscious originated to become its part. We must understand that the subconscious may be operating in terms of the specific experiences and problems of an individual, but it is common to all in terms of the essential purpose and function it serves, if not the form.
The second level of understanding that we need to acquire is that it is not objectively compelling, as it was two hundred years ago, for people to have the subconscious as a necessary part of their mental processes; it is no longer an objective requirement to ensure the normal working of the mind for survival purposes. For human beings at that time the new experiences of the changed social circumstances were so overwhelming that their data-processing capabilities were simply exhausted. But today this is no longer the case. The increased data processing capabilities of the human mind along with a great inflation of available knowledge, enable man to intelligently understand the present day complexities. Hence there is no objective need for the subconscious today.
If we observe closely, we will see that the emergence of the subconscious within the mind as a devise to handle complexity is actually an evidence of man’s inability to handle life at the unintelligent plane. Otherwise the subconscious would not have emerged in the first place. It is only when intelligence becomes the need of the day and man starts proceeding towards becoming intelligent that the subconscious emerges as a temporary supporting mechanism to enable him to cope with life during the transition period of his journey from unintelligence to intelligence. Which also implies that once man starts becoming intelligent then he no longer needs the subconscious. The objective conditions for the emergence and existence of the subconscious no longer remain applicable.
In the past when the feudal society was initially transformed in the new industrial mould, the human mind at that stage, due to its unfamiliarity with the ensuing complexities, must have been baffled. Thus, it was quite understandable for it to resort to the device of the subconscious in order to decrease its confusion upon witnessing the previously-not-experienced phenomenon of a complex bourgeois society.
One can very well imagine the degree of the confusion of people whose relatively simple mind sets were exposed to intricately complicated situations in the Bourgeois set-up. It must have been shocking for people, and therefore extremely hard to explain in familiar terms, when the first major train accident took place or when they lost their jobs and livelihood in great numbers during an industrial slump. It wasn’t beyond their understanding when the feudal lord forcibly deprived them of their share in their labour-product, to feed his army, but how could they explain why the industrialists sacked their workers to cut costs and destroyed the overproduced goods of their own factories to keep up the prices?
However, in today’s world the situation has changed. People have the means to be intelligent about events occurring around them. In fact, nowadays there is a general tendency to observe things and events in the light of known facts about them and the possible causes. No one is intellectually shell-shocked when an aeroplane crashes or when a bullet train skids off the tracks.
It is not that the problems of human beings have been reduced; it is just that we have become better equipped in terms of knowledge and understanding to handle them at an intelligent level. Thus, to keep and nurture the subconscious at present is totally useless. It has no other function except to boggle the mind of a person whenever there are extreme pressures to cope with life in difficult circumstances. Which basically means that it deprives one from intelligently addressing one’s life. It acts like a veil between an individual and his life. He may be living but he cannot recognise and address his life at a plane of intelligence; he is unable to formulate intelligent decisions, aims and plans about his life.
If he had been doing so, he would have realised that an intelligent aim or plan can only be the pursuit of happiness as a lifelong process. With an intelligent definition of happiness wherein one provides nourishment to all the faculties and capabilities of one’s being—emotions, the intellect, the biological body, and so on—at the level of contemporary human knowledge. And thereby increase further their quality, and also discover, at the same time, the requirements of their further development. The more deeper and greater the requirements of one’s emotions and the intellect that one discovers the more levels (in terms of quality) of happiness one will experience.
It is a normal criterion that the less knowledge and awareness one has about the requirements of one’s faculties the lower will be the scale of one’s happiness. It is like having no knowledge of the wealth one has inherited and therefore one cannot claim it. Which means that one will continue living at the same financial level with the same amount of salary. That is, at the same level of knowledge and understanding and therefore at the same level of happiness. In such a situation one cannot form a meaningful relationship with life.
Such a relationship can only be formed through the establishment of an intelligently formulated purpose in life and a plan to utilise one’s human faculties (at their optimum level) to achieve that purpose. Otherwise, the veil of a paralysed and cluttered mind will continue to remain between one’s self and life. A veil which is basically a product of one’s subconscious, which emerged recently and has grown explosively in the past one hundred years.
Therefore, in order to establish a healthy and normal relationship with life of the kind that people used to have, say, a thousand years ago, before the emergence of the subconscious, we would first need to get rid of the subconscious through the above-explained process of understanding and doing. And then construct (through the process of mental restructuring) one’s life anew at the present level of knowledge, intelligence, the growing capabilities and the available opportunities for human progress. We must keep in mind that an intelligent use of the mental energies, which are presently being sapped by the imaginary world of the subconscious and are being wasted due to our ignorance about their proper use, can open a new world of possibilities for human beings.
i. In our opinion the hitherto concepts and ideas about it as used in psychoanalysis, psycho-mystery literature and surrealism, need to be seriously upgraded. The concept of subconscious needs to move beyond its existing artistic, cultural, fashion and psychological value.
ii. The animal mind shows no signs of possessing the Subconscious. The reason being that the emergence of the Subconscious requires a large abstract memory module and a complex cogitative data processing system, which are both absent in animals.
iii. The complete processing of any perception and experience requires that it should become a useable part of the mind after being broken down and assimilated, both emotionally and intellectually, just as during the process of digestion, food is broken down to generate energy for the functioning of the various organs of the body.
iv. The complexity of human perceptions and experiences has evolved as a mutually complementing process of interaction between the growing complexity in the circumstances of human life and the growth of the mental faculties which cognise it.
v. We put those things on the back burner which are less urgent and therefore demand less attention. That is, there is no immediate pressure on the mind to handle them. The unresolved and irrelevant perceptions are similarly put on the back burner of the mind, which is the Subconscious. And there they keep burning.
vi. Accountants use a technique called suspense account (a temporary account in which entries of credits or charges are made until their proper disposition can be determined) to keep track of the transactions that cannot be immediately entered into the ledger either as credit or as debit. Analogous to this, but at a much sophisticated and complex level, we are of the view that the subconscious acts as such a ‘suspense account’ for the unresolved perceptions and experiences of the human mind
vii. These experiences start becoming a part of the subconscious from childhood onwards. And they can be in all kinds of forms ranging from traumatic childhood experiences to Freudian conflicts. In fact, it comprises of all diverse types of experiences which the mind has not been able to handle or cope with.
viii. We are including here the various stages of man after Homo Erectus (especially Paleolithic onwards), up to the dawn of civilization say a few thousand years ago.
ix.In the absence of facts, it is “legitimate” to explain an existing reality in a false manner, which is what the primitive man used to do, but to create an artificial reality out of known facts and a high degree of awareness, an act of the modern human mind, amounts to removing oneself from what is objectively real. And when this contact with objective reality is severed, however limited it maybe, the mind gets a free rein to go on manufacturing false situations, further widening the gulf between what is objectively real and the subjective experiences generated within the mind.
The Subconscious mind starts creating mental states such as megalomania and paranoia and then gives these non-realities the status of being concrete realities. Thereafter it compels the problem solving functions of the mind to look for solutions to the problems created by these false states of mind. And this whole process only leads to the overwhelming of all the emotional and intellectual faculties of the mind because they keep on trying to find solutions for problems which do not exist in concrete terms to start with. Hence they are unable to find any solutions to them. While the Subconscious remains stubborn in its assertions about the reality of its ‘creations’. The situation is further worsened by the fact that people are unable to form an equal or relaxed relationship with their Subconscious world; there is always an adversarial relationship between an individual and the products of his Subconscious. Even the illusions of grandeur felt through megalomania are in reaction to other feelings of fear and hysteria. This situation therefore suspends the normal functions of the mind to a large degree and deeply immerses it in the false world of the Subconscious
x. Who were to be incorporated in the industrial work force.
xi. Not to be confused with the mind’s capabilities of observation or perception. Consciousness of the outside world is not simple perception but observation and perception combined with data-processing with reference to one’s needs being the centre of everything. So that the reality that one becomes conscious of is usually coloured by one’s needs acting as the reference points in terms of which reality is perceived and the perceptual information is processed. This type of selective consciousness has been a characteristic, although in diverse forms, of all living things.
xii. Only those people are immune from this divorce between theory and practise who keep themselves unthinking in relation to anything other than the simple strategies to solve problems in daily life. But their ability to apply most of their plans and schemes is not the result of some ingenuity but only because their thoughts are simple and meant only to operate inside previously established conventional grooves. On another level, professionals like engineers and scientists are also able to apply their theories in their respective fields. But here the problem is that their thinking and its application is confined to their specialised grooves. Which means that they have no general and comprehensive idea about life as a whole and can therefore have no meaningful and purposeful relationship with it.
xiii. Our existing decisions and aims are largely based on essentially unintelligent and thereby superficial and limited recognition of the circumstances of life and data-processing performed under the influence of the subconscious.