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11.03.2015

The rationality of the subconscious

A child draws a bloody corpse or paints everything in black. Another child paints flowers and colorful dragons. Whatever. People say women are irrational. People say emotions are irrational. Bullshit. Only a fool considers emotions irrational.

Granted, I am being polemic. After all, the definition of rational thought necessitates consciousness. So by definition it is virtually nonsense to ask whether the subconscious or emotions are rational; to say that one’s emotions are irrational is as useful an information as the claim that apples are not strawberries. Well, they aren’t. Obviously. Is one supposed to be insulted?

Explainable

This article isn’t an essay about rationality. I considered to use the word logic, too, but it all seems so washily defined at first glance, so I’ll go with a word that is easy: Explainable.

Emotions and the ways of the subconscious are explainable.

This means that something happens because some or many other things happened before. If someone happens to act in a certain way, there is a cause. Even if nobody understands it.

I will argue that sometimes things are surprisingly clear. Yet we refuse to see them. I will argue that our conscious mind is not as rational – haha – or let’s say attentive as we think it is. Maybe our conscious mind is in fact the most easily fooled faculty of our brain. But I am certain about one thing now: Our conscious mind can not grasp the meaning of something the subconscious refuses to see.

The fear of the subconscious

As noted in my article about destroying art, I used to see everything I was in other people, especially my own errors. I was projecting. I was writing poems and songs about all kinds of social issues and about negative traits of other people. It’s a very funny fact that we narcissists like to expose other narcissists:

“Hey, look, I’m great!” – “OMG, look, he’s a narcissist!”

Anyway.

So some time ago I learned that I had written quite a lot of stuff about myself. Useful, isn’t it. And often quite precise. Just today, I re-recorded an old song I had written two years ago. The original concept had been a persiflage about people who needily cling to their lovers and feel entitled to love. I wrote it in a time where I was no longer oblivious to manipulation through guilt and thus I, in a way, made fun of myself or the person I had been.

Here’s the old recording:

People were always telling me that my singing was very unemotional. And it’s true, it’s kinda throaty. Back then I thought: What am I to do? Lose myself in some emotions? I just want to make a song. For fun, to ironically mock myself and people who make the mistakes I made.

To me, lyrics were always most important; to most people, they aren’t.

For the new recording, I decided to let my subconscious sing from my stomach. When I reached the final verse, something absolutely unexpected happened. My body expressed a sorrow and pain I hadn’t even known was there. It shocked and starkly unsettled me. It was directed at my mother. Listen for yourself:

I was terrified, similar to my Ayahuasca experience. Felt very vaguely like something was triturating my insides and I imagined that this is what it must feel like to get raped. What the fuck is this? Then I took a second look at the lyrics:

Sorry that I bore you,
sorry to adore you,
sorry I’m not born the way
you’d want me more, your fault,
that you’re better than I ever could deserve.

And in this moment of clarity I thought: My god, what happened to me? What is this shit and where does it come from? I don’t want this inside me. Mother, I actually feel something for you; this is surprising.

It’s not the feeling per se that was so bad, but the shock of discovering it. Let me try to convey it with an illustration:

Imagine you take a walk through the park. Then out of nowhere reality starts disintegrating and you find yourself lying paralyzed in the nest of a gigantic mantis. Your body is full of holes; larves are feeding on you. You suddenly remember that this is reality; you have been snatched by the insect, taken away from your loving tribe and injected with a poison that made you dream of a fake, comfortable world, oblivious to the pain; helplessness and panic comes over you. Now the mantis notices you are awake, moves it’s gigantic body in the right position and fills you up with another portion of sleep serum. You cry out in desperation, yet the emotion fades and becomes numb until you wonder whether it was real. And you’re back in reality.

This is how I felt after my Ayahuasca ceremony and it is how I feel right now.

A commentator at Danger & Play said society is porn. Porn does keep one from feeling pain, indeed.

Signals of your subconscious

It is so obvious, isn’t it. The lyrics.

Yet from a standpoint of emotional detachment it meant nothing to me and I find it difficult to reconnect with it even now.

I always had trouble identifying with abuse victims – or at least to find anything bad about the things that happened to them. I kicked a boy in the head when I was a small child and thought nothing of it. When I ever heard of rape, it aroused me. But maybe the truth is that I actually relished the pain, shame and humiliation I felt through empathy. In those moments I felt real.

If I saw a boy who drew bloody carcasses, I didn’t think anything about it. It seemed just as valid as rainbows to me. I guess that most of my life, I had been virtually disconnected from any kind of profound joy. That’s why it didn’t occur to me that something was wrong.

What a mighty protection mechanism.

Rational ignorance

I always hated to be analyzed or judged. I don’t like women and children because I feel they look through me.

But I wonder: What is it that I fear they may see? What may they show me about myself?

  • About two years ago, I was on a date with a girl. I told her about my relationship with my mother – that I didn’t care about her – and she seemed very moved and sad. I thought nothing of it and wondered why anyone would care about family so much.
  • When I was in Peru, I told a guy about the way my mother had smothered me and not let me have my pain for myself. He started to cry and I once more wondered what was so horrible about it.
  • I had a girl on my couch and was proposing to extend my massage beyond her feet. She remarked something about my gaze. I said it was lustful and she said I looked like a sad puppy. I thought she was crazy.

Notice something? My subconscious is producing all this output. People pick up on it. These glaringly obvious lyrics, my body language, it’s obvious to everyone but me that something needs to be said, accepted, forgotten, forged into positive anger, who knows.

But one thing I know: The more I get in touch with my body and the less I am focused on my conscious mind, the more attentive I am of the way I feel and subconsciously think of things.

Isn’t this fascinating?

The subconscious knows everything, but can keep it’s secrets from you. Yet constantly shows them to anyone else through the output of our body.

But when you see this output, it means nothing to you.

Rationality

You could conclude that it means nothing. Yet you have to wonder: Why did I write this song? Why didn’t I talk to the girl on the street? I want it, don’t I? Why did I eat too much despite the fact I want to lose fat? Why, why, why?

So how fucking rational are you really? You don’t even know what’s going on in your own head. You don’t even know why you are really writing a song. Yeah, of course, for fun. But I said that I believe in explainability. Why do you write a sad song and somebody else a happy song? Why is it hard for me to write a happy song? Why didn’t I go to the gym today? Oh, well, it wasn’t a good day. Well, tell me, what is a good day? Huh.

Your subconscious controls you. And your conscious mind finds acceptable reasons to explain your actions. Rationalizations.

From my experience, there is never a way around having a good, nice dialogue with your subconscious. Teatime. I have them sometimes; as you see, I don’t yet know everything. But anyhow, that’s what people mean with false beliefs and stuff. You may often think that you don’t believe anything stupid. Well, you may not. But your subconscious may. Your subconscious is more rational than you, fucker. But it’s not, I know.

An apple can’t be a strawberry.

 

1 vote
  • Wald

    That walk in the park sounds terrifying.

    Wald

  • Micah Geni

    Doing nothing, can sometimes be good. You ask a lot of why here. What is your answers to those ? Nothing ? Quoting you here and asking you Why about it: “But when you see this output, it means nothing to you”. Does the output mean nothing, or do you not get any feedback from the body ?

    • This is quite an old article. The problem was that I did not recognize these emotions and thoughts as a real part of my self.

      What do you mean by ‘Doing nothing can sometimes be good’?