Discover more from Quiet Clarity
Cars and Minds
Just a quick reminder that my posts act a bit like a diary of notes as I develop the outline for my book on moral evolution’s importance and possible methods and means to get there quickly. That means they follow a bit of an order and sometimes only make sense if you read the previous posts, and that they also might seem random because they are truly my notes and thoughts as I go through my process. Not saying my process is that interesting, so I do try to keep them short, but these are important because your comments and interest are a big part of my process and extremely helpful. It may not look like I get that much feedback if you read the comments, hardly any, but I do get lots of emails from my readers that help me improve my thinking and presentation. Thank you!
In the last post we described how someone with awareness might work through emotions and beliefs but what about someone without that awareness. How would they deal with the same emotions and beliefs? Let’s look at that. But first, we need to agree on a model for the mechanics and workings of the mind. We do not need to go too deeply into an understanding of the mind, partly because the mind is not fully understood, and partly because it is not important for illustrating the way emotions and beliefs operate. Ok, let’s do this.
Today we will use an automobile as our analogy. To drive a car you absolutely must know what the gas pedal, brake pedal, steering wheel, and gear shifts do, and how to operate them properly. But you do not need to know exactly what happens when you push on the gas, you do not need to know that by pushing on the gas you are causing more gas and air to get mixed within a cylinder where a spark ignites an explosion and drives the piston, which in turn drives a crank shaft and the wheels faster. Nor do you need to understand the exact mechanics of how pushing on the gas pedal moves a vertical piece of metal that in turn moves another piece of metal that opens a valve, and so on. While we can even drill much more deeply into the entire process by learning the physics of the explosion and the chemistry of gasoline and air, and a myriad of other aspects of the process of energy production and dissipation, we do not need to distract ourselves with all that information. It would only takes us away from the goal of effectively driving the car, and makes things more complex than most people will understand or want to know. For our goal we want to explain how the gas pedal, steering, and brakes work differently in icy conditions, we want to show how the machine and driver can either operate the car safely in any condition or have accidents. To do this we need greater awareness of how the gas pedal, brakes, gears, and steering work in different conditions. We need to understand the aspect of these items in the context of what we are trying to discover, what we are trying to do with the operator and the car, but we do not need to know all of the ancillary aspects of physics and chemistry. Same with components of the book, and in this case the mind. So, let’s keep it simple.
Even though the mind is not fully understood by humans, we do understand quite a bit, certainly enough to operate our bodies and behavior in ways that benefit ourselves and the world around us. We need a few basic terms and definitions that will likely make any neuroscientist, psychologist, metaphysicist, or most folks cringe, but will keep us on the same page. The terms we will use are consciousness, subconsciousness, and within the subconscious will live the ego, which we will define as the part of our mind that creates a context for who we are in the world. Without the ego, we do not know who we are in relation to the rest of what exists. For example, I am a man, a father, getting older, healthy, a real estate land developer, etc. So what? Well, I need to know these things in order to have a place in my world. Without these things I am what, nothing? An ego is not a bad thing, it is a context holder for the convenience of living amongst many things. It is a guidepost for who we are and what we must do to maintain that role. Do we need it? Do we need to annihilate it? What does it mean? All these questions are wonderful but not necessary for what we are attempting to discover right now. The ego is our identity and that identity has value within the mind, and the subconscious mind will work to protect it. We may choose to become aware of our ego so that it no longer drives decisions, but lets leave it there for now. We will define awareness as the act of understanding a thing consciously. To operate with conscious awareness during an emotion simply means that a person is aware of what they feel and can choose the action they take. This does not mean the conscious person will choose their action, only that they have access to choice and could choose the action. Even when a person is aware of their feelings and has access to choices they might still make a less rational choice for a variety of reasons, but generally because they are unable to escape, or release, the emotional feeling otherwise. For the purpose of our definitions we will also agree that emotions are energetic in nature and can and must get released or move in some manner. Putting all this together, even when a person has awareness of the emotion there is a subconscious drive to release that energy and it will require a conscious decision to release that energy in the least damaging manner. This often requires discipline and other traits, such as humility, etc. Consciousness will be defined as the thinking of the mind that we are aware of and subconsciousness is the thinking of the mind that we are not aware of. Oh boy, this seems contrived, but it is simple like the car analogy, which is what we want.
Ok, so you hit ice and the car behaves differently, your subconscious mind takes over. Without proper training, your subconscious mind causes you to step on the breaks and steer the car away from the direction of the skid. This is a mistake! With proper training, you learn the correct choice is to avoid breaking and steer into the direction of the skid until the car regains traction, and then you can safely break and steer back on course. But even with this conscious knowledge it takes discipline and repeated training to override your subconscious tendency and take the correct actions. Similarly, when confronted with an emotion there are subconscious reactions that want to happen and you will have to use discipline and training to override those tendencies and make better choices. We do not need to understand the mind in any more complex manner to see this. Now, let us take the same event from the last post and remove my conscious awareness and training to see how the behavior and result might turn out.
As a reminder, my wife prefers men with tight butts, which I do not possess. This makes me feel as though I am not giving my wife something she wants or that I am not quite what my wife likes or in the worst case “not good enough.” These thoughts, or beliefs, cause me to feel a particular way. Let’s go through the process I might follow without conscious awareness step by step:
I feel anger at my wife and begin to find ways to lash out. I tell my wife that I do not like her hair, I never did, I always preferred blondes with thick hair and her hair is brunette and thin. We get into a fight. Then we stop for a while.
I start to feel fear and imagine my wife will leave me. I summon my memory banks to find wrongs against me over the past twenty years and begin to feel my wife is the wrong mate for me. I decide to have a conversation with her about this and we fight again.
I do not sleep due to stress and begin to feel alone and miserable. I am convinced we have a doomed relationship and that I have failed at finding the best mate for me, again.
I continue to feel bad for days and finally the feelings subside. But where did they go? They are festering inside me somewhere, trying to find an escape by supporting my ego and self esteem. The energy of the emotions are still working to support my ego and have not been released.
There is no resolution here, all of my choices are getting made subconsciously, not in a way that is best for my relationship or what I truly want, but in a way for the ego to save face. Not the best way to live.
Just as with a conscious awareness of emotions, the unconscious emotional steps happen because of beliefs that either I have, my wife has, or society and other humans have. But those beliefs evolve much differently without conscious awareness. Let’s run through a comparison of what that means in this example and then you can go back and compare it to the progression of the beliefs in the conscious example:
Some part of society believes we have to be attractive or we are less valuable than the attractive people. Another belief is that the majority of people are attractive and only a small group of us are not attractive. This last belief is easily dispelled with rational thinking but I am not rational in this scenario, which causes the idea that I am not good enough to get fueled. This drives the feelings of inadequacy and despair greatly. The wrong belief or perspective, at least wrong in the sense it makes my quality of life more difficult, gets supported.
My wife believes my flat ass is less attractive but has decided she can live with it so why should I be too concerned. Again, I am not thinking rationally and allowing my emotions to guide my beliefs. How can she live with this shortcoming when there are so many other men with tight butts? I still feel insecure and begin to attack her beauty. I start to believe it is in her best interest to find what she wants. This will drive the division and fighting between us until her subconscious might begin to protect her ego. Now we could have two subconscious ego protection systems making the decisions and supporting beliefs that are not in our best interest.
I have hundreds of beliefs that cause me to feel the emotions I am inclined to feel, starting with childhood traumas that cause me to feel inadequate, and compounded by too many other beliefs to write down in a few paragraphs. Because I am not thinking rationally these beliefs will be supported and I will live in my past trauma’s. So now, instead of rising above past trauma, instead of taking control of my life, my past trauma’s are being supported. This will cause a continuation of the same or similar behavior, very little or no change will occur, and my beliefs will continue to form in a manner that supports these emotions.
This generally causes us to feel like victims. Not so good.