The Consciousness of the Unconscious
As an emigrant to the US (I am Mexican-American) I have faced a lot of misconceptions. Factors like these can have an unfortunate influence on who we are if we simply accept them without thought. They can be hurtful. And in our current culture these sentiments that are unfortunately not getting better. A lot of hurtful things are spoken about emigrants in the public sphere that effect how we think and what we think of ourselves.
So is their a consciousness to our unconscious?
It is self-conscious?
Today I would like to look at the topic of consciousness and see if it pertains to us and how philosophy can shed light on our way of looking at things.
While this is a topic that I am deeply interested in I will warn you that I am a lay philosopher at best.
Still, it has been a great help to me in the past.
In philosophy the unconscious is someone who does not think, he "does not ask questions", he acts by impulse under the effects of passions or feelings (Anger, rage, sadness, love, joy etc.) which come from outside influence without asking questions about the consequences of their actions.
Those who act without realizing the true motives that drive them to act fail to grasp what consequences are associated with these same actions.
The unconscious person does not think, does not analyze, and operates and understands the situation only the present time. Structure like this in nature is very common, it animates every atom, every piece of physical life. But while it is important to function it needs guidance once it obtains consciousness, it is what translates it into an indication, an action, a sign in the physical form, an intentional act.
Alienation is a strong driving factor that produces a actions for people either consciously or unconsciously. For those who operate instinctively they often do not know what they're doing, "they're not acting for themselves at all." An unconscious being who has acted without conscience, that is, who does not make the effort to reflect, or make the effort of awareness.
How does this happen?
Sometimes it is through lack of moral examination and a lack of contemplative examination.
Indeed, acting without wondering whether what I am doing is right or wrong, correct or not, looking at yourself, thinking if what you are doing you are doing it because you really want it, because you have decided, be aware of the causes and consequences of my actions. For example, do I really want to go on this trip, because I want to explore this country or is it actually to be with my friends (who are also taking the trip)? Am I really convinced of my political ideas, or is it simply because my family has these ideas that I will vote this or that option because it is the common consensus? Do I really hate this person I've been having an argument with, or does my anger come from my fatigue because I didn't get enough sleep last night?
Have you seen Tim Burton's "Big Fish" where the hero transforms a reality full of trials into a beautiful fairytale tale? His son, annoyed by his delusional explanations to which everyone wants to adhere, gradually understands that his father is an enchanter and has embellished the lives of all those he met.
What could have easily been a bad film (in less competent and contemplative hands) becomes an exciting, gripping and liberating story of th liberation of self.
The screenwriter plays with our emotions at the unconscious level: fear, revolt, anger to gradually lead us to pure happiness.
The screenwriter, the lighting designer, the director, and we the viewer because through a combination of our experiences become the director as well.
The unconscious materializes, executes what we order it through the conscious self. Our cells are modeled according to our will. We draw to ourselves what we have ordered.
The film of our lives can be a vaudeville, a horror film, a thriller, a western, a karate film, a musical, a melodrama, a comedy drama, a war movie, a science fiction film, a success story, a comedy, a boring documentary , a cartoon, etc.
It's up to us. Anything is possible.
But what can I know about this self that produces thought, apart from the fact that it thinks?
What I discovered is that the awareness I have of myself is related to the consciousness I have of my body. Indeed, thought does not seem independent of my body. The philosopher Spinoza had indeed noticed this deep link between the body and thought and how it plays out in our everyday lives.
This link between thought and the body induces a link between consciousness and the body (who is capable of unconsciousness action), since consciousness accompanies thought in person. And indeed, when I am aware of my body, I am at the same time aware of myself.
Becoming self-aware is not the same thing as being self-conscious in the colloquial sense.
What do I know about my body?
Quite simply that it provides me with perceptions, sensations. But a perception is both the reception of something external and self-specific, the state of being. When I touch something, I feel my hand and the material I touch at the same time. When my eye sees something, I perceive both the light and the colors and the effect they produce in my retina.
Becoming self-aware in that sense means that I am aware of my presence in the environment and I am aware of how I interact with it.
So there is a link between consciousness (of self) and my body, which gives me perceptions of my world. But are they really my perceptions or are they those that have been given to me by the world et al. Do they allow me to see things clearly? I can wonder if self-awareness would exist without the perceptions of my body. Indeed, when I am aware of myself, it is always through a perception. "I'm cold, I'm in pain, I'm hungry, etc." So if there was no body to provide us with perceptions, it's likely that self-awareness would disappear completely.
One could therefore conclude that there is a total interdependence between the body and consciousness.
This is what the English philosopher David Hume asked himself when he wrote; "For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception."
Beware, however, this is not about conscious memory alone. That would create an incomplete picture, for the unconscious contains not only the memories I remember, it also contains those I don't remember. Or rather those memories that I think I can't remember. That I think are forgotten memories, those that have faded forever. But in fact they still live somewhere in me, in the depths of my unconscious.
This is not the phoneme that constitutes the unity, however, nor is it through the organization of the unconscious but the letter, of a localized and differential nature, both pure symbol and material element, taken by the subject as a lost object or object itself, in that sense the words are treated like things. We can find many examples of this in the image of poetry, and in art in general you will often encounter this theme. When, for example: the poet lends themselves to dislocation, one where the subject the unconscious finds itself in a state to be written, to be heard the symptom that is played out is thus the symptom of its combine experiences (which are in themselves devoid of meaning when not given into context of the conscious self).
Most people are aware of the effect that the subconscious can have on the conscious, however, the effect of consciousness on the unconscious can be used in order to modify or heal. It consists in looking in the unconscious for the causes that cause the appearance of thoughts, or for specific behavior. The hope is that by understanding these causes the person would be able to put an end to the phenomenon.
Experiences both those that we remember and those that we do not can have a profound impact on how we develop. These influences shape us on multiple levels and even those that we have forgotten can shape how we look at things going forward.
As I said in the opening of this – now far too long of an article – is something that interests me. Through learning about the topic of the unconscious self I was able to analyze aspects of my past that I thought were truly in the past. And it allowed me to understand myself better.