The other day I had a brief discussion with someone about psychology. In particular, his extended comment was a quasi-semi-theoretical proposal that was based upon the psychological idea of the Unconscious, the notion that there is something “underneath” the common every day experience of being conscious.
I thought his proposal ( I don’t remember what exactly it was) was not very sound, but it dawned on me that the reason was his version of the Unconscious Mind had taken the idea to such extremities. I noticed it wasn’t so much that his proposal was weak, but that his assumption about what the Unconscious Mind is as well as does was so thin. His reasoning had a certain sense, was rational and intellectually coherent, but it was a line of reason to conclusion that was based upon an idea of Unconscious Mind which has become, basically, merely a popular trope with no internal cohesiveness but the subsequent argument about its reasonable extensions.
I am generally nice and I try to be patient to find out what the person is really saying and give them the benefit of doubt that they really are interested in knowledge and learning and not just pronouncing and announcing. However, as often how things go with people who believe themselves to have such excellent thoughts about things (they get haughty and start to imply that you are stupid) after a few exchanges, I could not help but destroy his notion of the Unconscious Mind.
I told him that there is no such thing as the Unconscious Mind. That it is a particular idea that a few people came up with to explain what they were seeing and encountering with mentally disturbed people. In short, the Unconsciousness Mind has no substance outside of a specific solution for a specific problem. And I pointed to one specific psychological therapeutic approach that has no use for the Unconscious Mind. While Gestalt Therapy may use the term ‘unconscious’ as a kind of colloquial term, the therapy itself has no need to bring in a theoretical notion of an unconscious mind in order for it to be effective. Reality therapy is another approach that posits no unconscious mind. Hence, the idea of the Unconscious Mind is merely a sort of cultural phantom that tends to haunt various old conceptual structures.
Our exchange stopped after that comment.
So now I have been stewing in the unconscious mind. Lol. And as I, as a philosopher, have been attempting to come to theoretical terms with how to approach counseling, I have also come to a few tentative ideas around the idea of what the Unconscious is and how it is used.
…as I will write up in a little bit.
Right now, I am going to go and analyze the movie “Precious”. If you haven’t watched this hour and a half movie, I strongly recommend making time to do so.