Cognitive science has something of enormous importance to contribute to human freedom: the ability to learn what our unconscious conceptual systems are like and how our cognitive unconscious functions. If we do not realize that most of our thought is unconscious and that we think metaphorically, we will indeed be slaves to the cognitive unconscious. Paradoxically, the assumption that we have a radically autonomous rationality as traditionally conceived actually limits our rational autonomy. It condemns us to cognitive slavery - to an unaware and uncritical dependence on our unconscious metaphors. To maximize what conceptual freedom we can have, we must be able to see through and move beyond philosophies that deny the existence of an embodied cognitive unconscious that governs most of our mental lives.
So let us decide whether you want a shelter, a safety zone, which will no longer yield conflict, whether you want to escape from the present conflict to enter a condition in which there shall be no conflict; or whether you are unaware, unconscious of this conflict in which you exist. If you are unconscious of the conflict, that is, the battle that is taking place between that self and the environment, if you are unconscious of that battle, then why do you seek further remedies? Remain unconscious.
It is only through the psyche that we can establish that God acts upon us, but we are unable to distinguish whether these actions emanate from God or from the unconscious. We cannot tell whether God and the unconscious are two different entities. Both are border-line concepts for transcendental contents. But empirically it can be established, with a sufficient degree of probability, that there is in the unconscious an archetype of wholeness. Strictly speaking, the God-image does not coincide with the unconscious as such, but with this special content of it, namely the archetype of the Self.
The collective unconscious appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious. We can see this most clearly if we look at the heavenly constellations, whose originally chaotic forms are organized through the projection of images. This explains the influence of the stars as asserted by astrologers. These influences are nothing but unconscious instrospective perceptions of the collective unconscious.
[B]y reinterpreting Freudianism in terms of language, a pre-eminently social activity, Lacan permits us to explore the relations between the unconscious and human society. One way of describing his work is to say that he makes us recognize that the unconscious is not some kind of seething, tumultuous, private region 'inside' us, but an effect of our relations with one another. The unconscious is, so to speak, 'outside' rather than 'within' us - or rather it exists 'between' us, as our relationships do.
The term "self" seems a suitable one for the unconscious substrate whose actual exponent in consciousness is the ego. The ego stands to the self as the moved to the mover, or as object to subject, because the determining factors that radiate outward from the self surround the ego on all sides and are therefore supraordinate to it. The self, like the unconscious, as an a priori existent out of which the ego evolves. It is, so to speak, an unconscious prefiguration of the ego. It is not I who create myself; rather, I happen to myself.
Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret. Suddenly, if the telephone line from your unconscious is open, a big idea wells up within you.
In fact, unconscious scanning goes on all the time. It seems more than ever that what we know as the visionary or poetic mode is our response via the unconscious senses to what is really there in the environment. We are not trying to 'explain it away': it is rather that we symbolize this kind of awareness.
The only thing that science cannot discover is that we all have an unconscious Heart just like an unconscious mind. There comes a moment in our life when our mind and heart says one thing but still we do the other one because in our heart of hearts we know what we want. It is just that.. that we are still unaware of it and the unconscious heart knows it all.
Through its influence upon the unconscious, music can have a specific healing effect. It can help in eliminating repressions and resistances, and it can bring into the field of waking consciousness many drives, emotions and complexes which were creating difficulties in the unconscious.
No one yet understands the mysterious intelligence within plants or the implications of the idea that nature communicates in a basic chemical language that is unconscious but profound. We do not yet understand how hallucinogens transform the message in the unconscious into revelations beheld by the conscious mind.
The essential fault of surrealism is that it invents without discovering. To make a clam play an accordion is to invent not to discover. The observation of the unconscious, so far as it can be observed, should reveal things of which we have previously been unconscious, not the familiar things of which we have been conscious plus imagination.
Vegetarianism has nothing to do with religion: it is something basically scientific. It has nothing to do with morality, but it has much to do with aesthetics. It is unbelievable that a man of sensitivity, awareness, understanding, love, can eat meat. And if he can eat meat then something is missing he is still unconscious somewhere of what he is doing, unconscious of the implications of his acts.
Briefly summarising, we can express the proposed law thus: consciousness is bound up with learning in organic substance; organic competence is unconscious. Still more briefly, and put in a form which is admittedly rather obscure and open to misunderstanding: Becoming is conscious, being unconscious.
The unconscious is the only available source of religious experience. This in certainly not to say that what we call the unconscious is identical with God or is set up in his place. It is simply the medium from which religious experience seems to flow. As to what the further cause of such experience might be, the answer to this lies beyond the range of human knowledge.
We think we can "" as normal people generally do "" put up with a certain amount of unanalyzed unconscious material as long as it remains more or less quiet and does not interfere with normal life and normal activities When the unconscious disturbs, it has to be dealt with; if it keeps quiet, we do not make a systematic offensive against it.
Much of traditional magic takes place by the light of the Moon. In the night world we are closer to the unconscious, the hidden, that which has yet to be made manifest, that which is suppressed and as yet realized. Past, present, and future are simultaneously one in the realm of the unconscious. Night is when this world and the other world can meet.
One reason why fiction is a human necessity is that it satisfies many unconscious as well as conscious needs. It would be important if it only touched the conscious mind, as expository writing does. But fiction is important, too, because it teaches the unconscious.
Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
Humans lived for several million years as fully wild beings: only in the last 10, 000 did we invent agriculture; only in the last couple of centuries did we invent industry. We are a species that has spent 99 per cent of its history as hunter-gatherers. We haven't had time for our unconscious minds and our unconscious needs to have changed. If you like, our souls have not changed, and this is true whether or not we believe that we have them.
The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life's challenges when they come. Through those challenges, an already unconscious person tends to become more deeply unconscious, and a conscious person more intensely conscious. You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep. The dream of ordinary unconsciousness then turns into a nightmare.
Presently we have to train our unconscious to function better. Then we can depend upon our instincts, that will be noble instincts. At this moment, our instincts are very impure. When we have practiced for a long time, living the higher values of life and following the instructions of great masters or the Scriptures, that is when you have trained your unconscious. Then when a situation comes, you can to an extent, depend on your inner voice.
Many who know something but not enough about dreams and their meaning...are liable to succumb to the prejudice that the dream actually has a moral purpose, that it warns, rebukes, comforts, foretells the future, etc. If one believes that the unconscious always knows best, one can easily be betrayed into leaving the dreams to take the necessary decisions, and is then disappointed when the dreams become more and more trivial and meaningless...The unconscious functions satisfactorily only when the conscious mind fufills its task to the very limit.
I cannot say to you what is right or wrong. I can say only one thing to you: be conscious - that is right. Don't be unconscious because that is wrong. And then whatsoever you do in consciousness is right. But people are living in unconsciousness. And let me tell you: in unconsciousness you may think you are doing something right, but it can't be right. Out of unconsciousness, virtue cannot flower; it may appear virtuous but it can't be. Deep down it will still be something wrong. If you are unconscious and you give money to a poor man, watch: your ego is strengthened. This is sin.
Applause is an instinctive, unconscious act expressing the sympathy between actors and audience. Just as our art demands more instinct than intellect in its exercise, so we demand of those who watch us an apppreciation of the simple unconscious kind which finds an outlet in clapping rather than the cold intellectual approval which would self-consciously think applause derogatory. I have yet to meet the actor who was sincere in saying that he disliked applause.
Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.
The ego isn't a bad thing. If we didn't develop a strong ego, a strong sense of self, we wouldn't be able to relate to and engage with the extremely powerful and archetypal forces (both dark and light) of the unconscious. If we don't have a strongly developed sense of self (even though it is not, ultimately speaking, the true self), we will get overwhelmed and taken over by the powers of the unconscious such that we will compulsively act them out.
We're finally becoming aware of a process that has been unconscious since human experience began. From the start, humans have perceived a Birth Vision, and then after birth have gone unconscious, aware of only the vaguest of intuitions. At first in the early day of human history, the distance between what we intended and what we actually accomplished was very great, and then, over time, the distance has closed. Now we're the verge of remembering everything.
Our mind has its history, just as our body has its history. You might be just as astonished that man has an appendix, for instance. Does he know he ought to have an appendix? He is just born with it....Our unconscious mind, like our body, is a storehouse of relics and memories of the past. A study of the structure of the unconscious collective mind would reveal the same discoveries as you make in comparative anatomy. We do not need to think that there is anything mystical about it.
At the core of One Spirit Medicine is the idea that how we perceive the world 'out there' is a projection of internal maps that shape our beliefs and guide how we think, feel and behave. These maps are the unconscious programs that drive our experience of life and the state of our health. The key to optimum health is to upgrade these unconscious maps and limiting beliefs that have been driving us to a toxic lifestyle and relationships.
What was the power that induced strong soldiers to put off their jackets and shirts, and present their hands to be tied up, and tortured for hours, it might be, under the scourge, with an air of ready volition? The moral coercion of despair; the result of an unconscious calculation of chances that satisfies them that it is ultimately better to do all that, bad as it is, than try the alternative. These unconscious calculations are going on every day with each of us, and the results embody themselves in our lives; and no one knows that there has been a process and a balance struck, and that what they see, and very likely blame, is by the fiat of an invisible but quite irresistible power.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
No organism can afford to be conscious of matters with which it could deal at unconscious levels. Broadly, we can afford to sink those sorts of knowledge which continue to be true regardless of changes in the environment, but we must maintain in an accessible place all those controls of behavior which must be modified for every instance. The economics of the system, in fact, pushes organisms toward sinking into the unconscious those generalities of relationship which remain permanently true and toward keeping within the conscious the pragmatic of particular instances.
I write my first draft by hand, at least for fiction. For non-fiction, I write happily on a computer, but for fiction I write by hand, because I'm trying to achieve a kind of thoughtless state, or an unconscious instinctive state. I'm not reading what I write when I wrote. It's an unconscious outpouring that's a mess, and it's many, many steps away from anything anyone would want to read. Creating that way seems to generate the most interesting material for me to work with, though.
your zeal to face life's rough and tumble, your ardor to accept the responsibilities of adulthood is hardly congruent with the aspirations of most graduate students... ' He shook his head of disagreeable hair. 'I need not tell you, ' he deplored, sinking to paralipsis, 'that there resides in almost every one of 'em the unconscious desire not to grow up. For once the academic goal is attained and the doctorate irradicably abbreviated after the name, the problem of facing the world is confronted. The subtlest, most unremitting drive of the student is his unconscious proclivity to postpone the acceptance of responsibility as long as possible.
Behaviorism proposes to study human behavior according to the methods developed by animal and infant psychology. It seeks to investigate reflexes and instincts, automatisms and unconscious reactions. But it has told us nothing about the reflexes that have built cathedrals, railroads, and fortresses, the instincts that have produced philosophies, poems, and legal systems, the automatisms that have resulted in the growth and decline of empires, the unconscious reactions that are splitting atoms.
Ludwig von Mises
The unconscious is not a demoniacal monster, but a natural entity which, as far as moral sense, aesthetic taste, and intellectual judgement go, is completely neutral. It only becomes dangerous when our conscious attitude to it is hopelessly wrong. To the degree that we repress it, its danger increases. But the moment the patient begins to assimilate contents that were previously unconscious, its danger diminishes. The dissociation of personality, the anxious division of the day-time and the night-time sides of the psyche, cease with progressive assimilation.
People say, 'I'm going to sleep now, ' as if it were nothing. But it's really a bizarre activity. 'For the next several hours, while the sun is gone, I'm going to become unconscious, temporarily losing command over everything I know and understand. When the sun returns, I will resume my life.' If you didn't know what sleep was, and you had only seen it in a science fiction movie, you would think it was weird and tell all your friends about the movie you'd seen. They had these people, you know? And they would walk around all day and be OK? And then, once a day, usually after dark, they would lie down on these special platforms and become unconscious. They would stop functioning almost completely, except deep in their minds they would have adventures and experiences that were completely impossible in real life. As they lay there, completely vulnerable to their enemies, their only movements were to occasionally shift from one position to another; or, if one of the 'mind adventures' got too real, they would sit up and scream and be glad they weren't unconscious anymore. Then they would drink a lot of coffee.' So, next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you're in a science fiction movie. And whisper, 'The creature is regenerating itself.
People are living in unconsciousness, doing all kinds of things in unconsciousness. Everybody is an unconscious robot. We are just pretending that we are conscious; we are not conscious. The moment you become conscious, all unconscious actions disappear from your life. Your life starts moving in a new dimension. Your each act comes out of inner clarity; your each response is virtuous, is virtue. To live unconsciously is to live in sin; to live consciously is to be virtuous, is to be religious. And to live in total awareness is to be a buddha, is to be a christ.
Why? Why does what was beautiful suddenly shatter in hindsight because it concealed dark truths? Why does the memory of years of happy marriage turn to gall when our partner is revealed to have had a lover all those years? Because such a situation makes it impossible to be happy? But we were happy! Sometimes the memory of happiness cannot stay true because it ended unhappily. Because happiness is only real if it lasts forever? Because things always end painfully if they contained pain, conscious or unconscious, all along? But what is unconscious, unrecognized pain?
When we understand all that constitutes the cognitive unconscious, our understanding of the nature of consciousness is vastly enlarged. Consciousness goes way beyond mere awareness of something, beyond the mere experience of qualia, beyond the awareness that you are aware, and beyond the multiple takes on immediate experience provided by various centers of the brain. Consciousness certainly involves all of the above plus the immeasurably vaster constitutive framework provided by the cognitive unconscious, which must be operating for us to be aware of anything at all.
Lacan, as we have seen in our discussion of Freud, regards the unconscious as structured like a language. This is not only because it works by metaphor and metonymy: it is also because, like language itself for the post-structuralists, it is composed less of signs - stable meanings - than of signifiers. If you dream of a horse, it is not immediately obvious what this signifies: it may have many contradictory meanings, may be just one of a whole chain of signifiers with equally multiple meanings. The image of the horse, that is to say, is not a sign in Saussure's sense - it does not have one determined signified tied neatly to its tail - but is a signifier which may be attached to many different signifieds, and which may itself bear the traces of the other signifiers which surround it. (I was not aware, when I wrote the above sentence, of the word-play involved in 'horse' and 'tail': one signifier interacted with another against my conscious intention.) The unconscious is just a continual movement and activity of signifiers, whose signifieds are often inaccessible to us because they are repressed. This is why Lacan speaks of the unconscious as a 'sliding of the signified beneath the signifier', as a constant fading and evaporation of meaning, a bizarre 'modernist' text which is almost unreadable and which will certainly never yield up its final secrets to interpretation.
I find it very difficult to talk here now because I'm watching the sea all the time. The sea always makes me watch it all the time. I've spent hours and hours not just on the sea but just watching wave after wave come in. If it's an image of anything, I think it's an image of our own unconscious, the unconscious of our own minds... or you can put it the other way around, and that is that we have a sea in us. After all, we are sea creatures that learnt to walk on the land, are we not? And perhaps one way or another we go back to it. Every night when we dream we go back into that kind of depths, and that kind of beauty and monstrosity and mystery. So really the sea is not a single image, it can really image almost anything that the human mind can discover.
Christians often ask why God does not speak to them, as he is believed to have done in former days. When I hear such questions, it always makes me think of the rabbi who asked how it could be that God often showed himself to people in the olden days whereas nowadays nobody ever sees him. The rabbi replied: "Nowadays there is no longer anybody who can bow low enough." This answer hits the nail on the head. We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions. The Buddhist discards the world of unconscious fantasies as useless illusions; the Christian puts his Church and his Bible between himself and his unconscious; and the rational intellectual does not yet know that his consciousness is not his total psyche.