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On The Subconscious

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of December 19, 2005






these questions were based on the article
"The Conscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious, a New Look at an Old Metaphor"


Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2


This Week's Questions


[posed by Austin S.]
  • Is blame a part of the unconscious?
  • What do feral children and autistic children have in common?
  • How do you picture a pile of "what you cannot picture?

Do you know?



There are many concepts which have not genuinely emerged in me yet. It is both surprising and painful to realize this. I find myself grasping and scrambling to put on the face of understanding, even when I truly do not know something. I find that when I read something I do not understand, I try to avoid the pain of not knowing by getting as far away as I possibly can on a personal level. In other words, I stay away from the inner layers 7-10. I think I end up in layers 1 and 2. I believe the term described in the reading is "psychological anesthesia."

I have yet to feel amazed by the knowledge that a BLock denies us to imagine things turning out differently. I have just learned that this lack of amazement means that I do not fully understand this idea. Again, I feel the pain of not knowing yet am starting to see the difference between actual knowing and merely grasping the logic of a concept.

I see that I actually have not had full emergences about much of the content that we study and work with. I have the logic of many of the concepts but not the full amazement that comes with truly understanding them.

I find myself trying to convince myself that I understand even when I don't – an example of why logic at work.

[Question 1] I do not fully understand the development of the subconscious. I do not understand how it comes to be and I do not have a clear picture of how it develops beyond that its contents are partially visible.
[Answer] There is a lot to know here. Let me start by saying the most important thing to know; that the subconscious develops mainly in response to the demands caregivers make on us that we prevent our suffering.

Obviously, no parent ever tells us this directly, at least not when we are this young. However, when they demand to know how we came to be suffering, they, without knowing it, initiate this process.

Think about what I'm saying here. When parents ask two year olds things like, "What's wrong? Why are you crying?," how do these children feel? Of course, they feel pressured to explain what has just caused their suffering. Unfortunately, because two year olds, by nature, are too young to grasp the concept needed to create these answers; the concept of cause and effect; these children feel compelled to invent something which will get their parents off their backs.

What do they invent? At first, they simply guess, usually saying the first things which come to mind. Over time then, they evolve these guesses and get better and better at satisfying their parents' needs for explanations by offering more and more sophisticated answers.

Note also that the scope of these explanations also changes over time. What I mean by this is that, at age two, children's explanations will pretty much always focus on the people or things closest to them; for instance, on their siblings or on their parents or on the toys they were playing with at the time. In addition, they will usually deliver these explanations with rather confused looks.

As children get older though, the scope of their explanations expand as they increasingly point to people and things more personally distant from themselves, such as at their teachers, or at the bus driver, or at the way the neighborhood is arranged. In fact, this general tendency; that as we age, we focus our blame on people and things more and more personally distant from ourselves; continues throughout our lives until eventually, we come to blame our suffering on whole groups of people or on whole ways of thinking. This, in fact, is a good portion of how Layer 2 comes into being. No coincidence it is also the very essence of all prejudice.

The thing to remember here though is that the subconscious develops in response to our caregivers demands that we explain why we suffer. And because we, as young children, cannot picture why we suffer nor logically arrive at cause and effect scenarios, we attempt to satisfy our caregivers' demands with whatever nonsense comes to mind. Anything at all will do. At some point then, this nonsense accumulates to such an extent that it becomes its own container of the mind, in a way, the container for all we know exists but do not understand.

Finally, realize that the way we feel compelled to explain to our parents why we suffer is the reason many of us spend time in talk therapies. Most talk therapies simply continue this "why did you suffer" process by substituting a therapist for our parents. This in fact happens every time a therapist asks us questions like, "So why do you think you did that?"

This same process also accounts for a lot of what makes us feel better in talk therapy. We feel better simply because most therapists supply us with more and better logical answers to these "why did you suffer" questions, questions which in effect distance us even more from our suffering. And from the very healing we seek.

So what is it about conventional therapy which makes us feel better? Again, these "better" answers help us to distance ourselves even more from our pain. How? By using the word, "think," where "think" means logic, where "logic" means cold, and where "cold" means we hurt less as in how we saw "James Dean"; cool; no suffering; "above it all.'

Now consider how this process changes when you substitute the word "picture" for the word "think" and rephrase the question as, "What can you picture about what you did?" Almost all of us, when asked this sort of question, will feel a heck of a lot more as we get propelled back into the heart of an injury.

Finally, remember the question we began with; "What makes the subconscious develop?" The answer? Requests made on us that we tell our caregivers "what we think caused our pain." These questions are the essence of what provokes the development of the subconscious. More over, this process is initiated by our caregivers' demands that we learn how to prevent our suffering.

[Question 2] I also do not understand the unconscious and its relationship to the layers of aloneness. Does the unconscious correlate with layers 1-4?
[Answer] Yes, exactly. The "unconscious" is simply a way to describe the cumulative experience of Layers 4 -1. It is the increasingly numbing experience of detachment from our feelings of aloneness.

[Question 3] Is blame a part of the unconscious?
[Answer] Yes. In fact, blame is the essence of the unconscious. What makes this so?

The essence of our experience of the unconscious is that while we are in it, our minds go blank. Because we then, by nature, are programmed to ignore these blank spots, we connect whatever we can recall having seen immediately before the suffering with the suffering itself.

This is the nature of blame; that we connect whatever we can recall having seen immediately before the suffering with the suffering itself.

Of course, were there no blank spots, the underlying logic would be sound. More over, our natural desire to see what causes our suffering is not the problem. In fact, this desire is a good thing. All healthy people self examine. What is not so good, however, is that because we ignore that there are blank spots in our recall, we assume that whatever we can recall is what is causing our suffering.

Then too, at the heart of these failures is also a second false assumption; that if we can find the source of our suffering, that we can keep this suffering from happening again. Here again, this is simply not true. Why? Because we base these prevention strategies on a flawed logic; a logic which ignores that there are pieces of experience missing and assumes logic to be the basis of true human experience, which it is not.

Finally, know that we are not to blame for our false assumptions. We cannot help but make them. This is simply our nature. Thus we cannot help feeling urges to blame. This, too, is simply a part of our nature.

Fortunately, it is also part of our nature to be unable to blame whenever we are connected. Here again, this inability to blame is not because we try harder when we are connected. It is simply yet another part of the way we are made. More important, knowing this about ourselves allows us to use being connected as the way to see past blame. And ultimately, as the path to healing.

[Question 4] I do not understand how, once someone heals a wound, they become unable to picture "not having choices."
[Answer] The only way to understand this idea is by personally experiencing it as true. Fortunately, having this experience is easy. To have it, all you need do is to think of a BLock you once had, for instance, that you were unable to tell your father you were mad at him, or that you hated your feelings of anger. Now try to picture not being able to tell your father you are mad at him, or not liking your anger.

If you have healed either of these BLocks, then you will be unable to picture yourself as you were before you healed. In other words, if you have healed these BLocks, then you will not be able to picture yourself incapable of telling your father you are mad or incapable of liking your anger.

After healing then, while you can logically recall once having been incapable of these things, you also become literally incapable of picturing yourself this way, very similarly to how the following lines from the hymn, Amazing Grace, describe healing: "I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see."

Said in yet one more way, before healing, all you can access is the logic beneath the picture, similar to the empty frame of a painting with but a caption mounted on the bottom of the frame. After healing, since healing is "seeing the missing picture," you simply cannot envision ever having been unable to picture what you previously could not see. It simply becomes impossible to imagine. Like being incapable of picturing yourself unable to ride a bike after learning how.

[Question 5] The idea of dividing our inner life into two piles, into what we can picture and what we cannot; confuses me. I do not understand how to create a pile of what I cannot picture if I cannot picture it. This one has always baffled me.
[Answer] The answer will be obvious to you if you try to picture this idea; the idea of dividing our inner life into two piles… what we can picture and what we cannot." Can you picture what you cannot picture? Of course not. So what do we put in the "can not see" pile? Our descriptions of what we can not picture, such as, "I can't picture myself reading aloud and loving it," or, "I can't picture what happened next."

How do you literally picture "what you can not picture?" Doing "P Curves" is the best way to develop this skill, a process wherein you literally write down, in two sections, what people can and cannot picture.

What is written in the "cannot picture" section is the way to picture this pile; words which describe what you cannot picture.

[Question 6] At this point, the idea that at age seven, children begin to believe that the pain in life results from what happened before the pain (in essence, that there is a causative sequence in all painful events) has not fully emerged. This one seems to be on the verge of emerging as I can almost picture it.
[Answer] Picture anything which has hurt you. Now try to see the difference between what you have not yet healed and what you have healed. With anything you have not yet healed, you will feel compelled to seek an explanation for why it has happened. For anything which you have healed, you will not even care why it happened. Only that you once suffered. This is all that will matter. By the way, the experience of being almost able to picture something means this "something" is entering our subconscious.

[Question 7] I do not understand why we have the flaw that has us believe our mistakes cause our injuries.
[Answer] This flaw is based entirely on our tendency to ignore the blank spots (the pieces of missing experience) in our recall. More over, because by nature "why logic" does satisfy this need, we feel no worry about whatever we missed as we can simply use logic to infer this missing experience.

[Question 8] When feral children are reintroduced into society, they frequently cannot learn to communicate normally with other humans. Is this because they always remain in the state of "baby consciousness?"
[Answer] God, Austin, you are something else. How the heck do you think of these questions!

I'm not sure. I've never asked myself this question. Let me think about it for a minute.

My first thoughts are to say yes, I think you are right, at least to a great degree. Now as I think about your question further, I can see that this "yes" is further supported by our personality theory. How?

The subconscious develops primarily in response to our caregivers' requests that we prevent our suffering. The unconscious then develops in response to the subconscious deepening, both directly, from these requests, and indirectly, from our failures to comply with these requests.

Feral children receive no outside requests to prevent their suffering. After all, they get no exposure to beings whom can experience after age-seven time.

This means they get no exposure to why logic and so, do not learn to blame. Rather they simply respond to life as it is, painful and pleasant events alike.

This explains their inexplicably blunt responses to life. In other words, they respond bluntly to their life events, not because they lack socialization skills but rather because they do not blame (as in civilized blaming). Or perhaps a better way to say this would be that the essence of what we consider being "socialized," and "civilized" in fact, is that we can explain our suffering. Thus feral children remain uncivilized because they do not attempt to explain their suffering. They simply react to it.

To us "civilized" humans, this seems unbearably crude. Of course, people who practice Zen Buddhism and Existentialist Philosophies know this "bluntness" to be "reality." And unbelievably evolved.

Finally, know that this lack of before-seven time is what provoked 19th Century writers and poets such as Longfellow and Thoreau to see "nature" as being more pure and innocent than "civilized man." Thus, while it is true that "nature" does not blame, it is incredibly blunt and unforgiving at times. As for nature being more innocent, we are both innocent, and this become clear as soon as you become able to understand human personality.

[Question 9] Do severe autisms stunt the development of the second and third containers of the mind?
[Answer] In a sense, yes, albeit, they still get created but in an alternate form. In a way then, we could say that all autisms create a barrier which impedes the development of the conscious, subconscious, unconscious. This explains why most people with Asperger's blame fewer times and in ways less potentially harmful. They simply spend more time in the state in which they fell in love with learning and for the most part, never leave; the state of baby consciousness.

The result? People with severe autism will remain significantly different from normal people, largely because the relative size of their personality layers will remain permanently biased toward an early childhood state and toward the inner layers. This differs from normal people in that as normal people grow older, the relative size of their personality layers is biased toward the outer layers.

Said in other words, having a severe autism distorts the process wherein peoples' personality layers resize over the course of their life. How? All ten layers will be created in them, but the size of these layers will remain abnormally biased toward the conscious compartment of the mind and away from the unconscious compartment.

This means that despite what most people feel toward someone with Kanner's Autism, which is that these people spend most of their time unconscious and removed, in actuality, they spend most of their time incredibly conscious, especially with regard to what is in their environment. And in the more severe cases of Asperger's, these people spend most of their time incredibly conscious of what the things in their environment mean.

By the way, the feral child example above is yet one more way we humans can experience being autistic. And is very much an experience which could described as the combined experience of both Kanner's and Asperger's.

Said in yet one more way, severe autisms occur before age two and so, occur prior to the age at which the subconscious normally begins to form.

So what explains why we experience severely autistic people as being in shock?

It is we who go into shock, not them, similarly to how we go into shock each time a baby exhibits wisdom or an animal exhibits altruism.


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