Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Subconscious Self

Is there such a thing as the subconscious mind? We have the Freudian view, which says that there is, and it's you. You have a subconscious element. Opposed to that is the MSLN view, which says that there may be, and it's not you. You do not have a subconscious element.

The Freudian view is verified with therapy, or something like it. We feel tensions inside us which can be alleviated if we think of ourselves as having a subconscious self.

The MSLN view follows from first principles. Everything is caused by consciousness, by conscious will. So there is no subconscious, just consciousnesses of which we do not have direct access (we only have direct access to our own, while God, in his omnisubjectivity, has access to all of our consciousnesses). Other conscious beings can have power over us, can use us. But we are not them.

We make choices, and then forget that we made choices, but still live embodying choices. In that way, we can be out of touch with who we really are. (And maybe that could be said to be the subconscious element that really is you, after all. But even your past self is somewhat not the same person as you.) On the other hand, sometimes the things that appear to be our choices were really chosen by someone else, by some spirit, or by God, or by the outworking by God of psychological laws.

Some things which we perceive in our experience bodies, which we don't choose, clearly don't follow from our past choices. We never willed to experience those experiences. The MSLN view is that they do not follow from any choices that we made, but were produced by something other than us. And many of the things we experience which were caused by past choices were only partially caused by us. I might choose to throw a ball onto a sloped street, but though it followed from my choice, I would not choose where it stopped rolling, or what happened to it after that. God (and other beings) caused all the rest of that chain of consequences. I might need to take responsibility for the ball that I threw, and for the fact that it could have consequences, but not assume that I was the one who caused (or was wholly responsible for) those consequences.


The therapeutic understanding that there is such a thing as the subconscious self may be effective in the same way that taking a pill can be effective in treating a mental illness. The pill, speaking ordinaristically, is a little capsule filled with some substance which through magic has some effect on the spirits in the mind. The substance has little to no literal resemblance to the spirits. If I recall correctly from the last time it happened accidentally, if I open up one of my lithium capsules, I see some white powder. Also, I have found that lithium tastes foul. What connection does whiteness, foul-tastingness, or powderiness have to do with mood regulation? And yet the capsules do have a connection. There is some sort of arrangement that the "potion" sign (the capsule) has something to do with psychological reality. So it may be with the idea of the subconscious self, as used therapeutically.

Psychoactive medications have side effects. The side effect of the belief in the subconscious self is to ignore the spiritual world, including both evil spirits and God, and also to cause people to be uncertain of who they really are. The MSLN view does still allow you to be uncertain (about your past self, which is in a sense you), but if you find yourself doing something that is out of character for you, it may not really be you. And you are not some physical process that rules you in the dark with consciousness as a veneer on top, but rather you just are your consciousness, and your past consciousness.

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