The Unconscious Mind, Part 2


Here is the link to the part one post concerning the unconscious mind.

It seems obvious. An Unconsciousness seems to be a good name for what is occurring in oneself, as a feature of the mind: There is this, in a way, Whole Consciousness which is made up of parts which are functioning at all times. There is the “aware” part (conscious), and then there is a part that is functioning as well of which we are not aware (unconscious). Maybe there is even another part which does something else (subconscious?). Freud’s idea seems to be nearly self-evident in its obviousness: There is an Ego which attempts to get what it wants through negotiating with reality, the world, social norms, etc. there is thus also the “norm” part (the super-ego) which tries to enforce ‘what is right’, and then there is this ‘animal drive’ which just plain Wants and desires things (Id). It all seems obvious and sensible. It seems to sensible that all sorts of ideas about the world and how its works and how human beings function psychologically stem from it even without having any requirement to look into ‘what it really means’. some might even ask: what do you mean “what does it mean”? Because such a organization of consciousness and the mind appears so axiomatically and reflexively obvious that we don’t even need to refer to any history or ‘proper theory’ of it, because, it seems, any intelligent person can access this structure of mind to be able to come to certain conclusions about it.

But this is where is gets…strange.

This is where we get into such idea as intrinsic and extrinsic mythology. Less ideology than philosophy, a very large problem arises for people when we come up against what we generally know as a Postmodern proposals, but which really goes back probably further than Wittgenstein, but at least with him.

The Very Large Problem of Consciousness (VLPC) is that what we seem to understand as so obvious and true of the universe and everything in it, including our own minds, is itself organized around a use of discourse which has no relation to any other discourse. A mediated and compromised version of this is in effect when we look out into history and we talk about ‘mythologies’ or ‘religions’ that thought in whatever way, or had views of the world so different than ours and we think often out loud (because its so obvious) how such people were not so smart, or didn’t know as much as we do now, as though such individuals or cultures or civiliations exist by virtue of and for the purpose of my or our personal and absolutely righteous and perfect knowledge of how the world is in its progression and development.

But I digress…

I looked back at the development of the word “unconscious (mind)” and, at least in the Western Book of Knowledge, I found that the term itself occurs first at the beginning German Romanticism; I think Wiki and various Philosophy Encyclopedias list the philosopher  Friedrich Schelling as the first to bring up the idea. But I found that Eduard von Hartmann might have a better say.

Regardless; the notion of the unconsciousness is based in a particular romantic notion that there must be a Oneness of things, that the Universe must indeed be a Whole Thing. In this Whole thing there are human beings who think, and the short of it is, because human beings are not separate from the Universe, thinking itself must be an operation of the Universe and that we should thus be able to somehow “join” with the motion of the universe in its motion.

In my feeble opinion, this is the short short short version of the entirety of Georg Hegel’s philosophy and Phenomenology in general.

Unconsciousness, then, is that aspect of what we are able to be aware of in the universe as that part of the universe that we are not readily aware of (mark Heidegger’s “readiness at hand”). Whatever part we are consciously knowing, according to this ideal of the Whole Universe From Which We are Not Separate, the unconscious mind is that which operates as that which contributes to our ability to be and know, yet in a sort of negative sense. In other words, similar to Jaques Lacan proposal that consciousness is structured like a language, the unconsciousness mind is merely a theoretical argument that behaves like a meme; discourse orders and structures reality, and the meme ‘unconscious mind’ works to support and reinforce such reality, serving as a conveyor or carrier of the truth of that reality through communication.

I question this model this model of the unconscious mind.


  1. My reading mind latched on to “Because it is through engagement that I find myself.” and ran with it to find echoes with certain highlights of my lived experience. Besides the interpersonal (“we are a person through other persons”), psychological counselling (something I can only understand from a remove, I have not yet been on either side of the proverbial ‘couch’) and social dimensions of the statement (the neoliberal violence of our individuated times which successfully veils all our vital social relations yet maintaining the rhetoric of being ‘social’ thriving and roaring ) I find it relevant from a knowledge worker’s perspective, too. I always find the most meaning and sustenance at the cracks of academic disciplines and seemingly contradictory academic praxes and ‘messed-up’ people. It’s a slippery slope, constantly finding footholds in the cracks. They often open up to rabbit holes. And not all rabbit holes lead to the Wonderland.

    Also, going back to Neo-Vedantism (in which you might not have any interest whatsoever but it is a crucial pillar in my ongoing MPhil thesis draft) which is a kind of militant monism forged with the White master’s tools, and perfected at his servant’s quarters, is an ideology, rather than a philosophy, as I am increasingly finding out. This realisation was also triggered by one of your recent posts which differentiates between the two.

    I think I require some introductory readings that differentiate ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Ideology’. In spite of a mountain of readings on ‘Ideology’ that sits in my hard drive. I did a “site: ‘keywords” search for ‘ideology philosophy’ in this website and from the results, found these mildly helpful:

    But “Please, Sir, I Want Some More”.

      1. It is a very provocative argument intellectually is all that I can say, and I like’em provocative . I have not read / trained widely enough in this area to give a considered comment, but a healthy skepticism of “oneness of the one that one was once” (a terse caricature of neo-Vedantism which I was reminded of, while reading the fourth from the last paragraph of this post) is a good start. 🙂

      2. Sorry, I didn’t see this comment until right now.

        I am considering things along the lines of engagement with others with a specific purpose in mind. Because it is through engagement that I find myself. I’m not sure why I would need to posit myself as some sort of unity of being if there was no one to engage with; I would never have an opportunity to call myself a “one“ or to even know what such oneness might be.

        Sometimes I ponder how the American Indians lived before white people showed up. I find it difficult to believe that they were stupid or not intelligent, and in fact they were only primitive or uncivilized to the extent that the powerful white people came over and proclaimed it upon them.

        But I imagine, I’ll be at feebly, that their language expressed a kind of congruence with the world where whatever their unity why is it individual human being it was in relationship to the world such that really the idea of “I = 1” was probably more of a contradiction than indicating any true spirits or, I don’t know what you would call it.

        And so likewise this idea of a non-consciousness or an unconscious mind is just a particular way that we are describing a situation of existence. Of course, in certain contacts for sure I consider myself as unitive or participating in some sort of oneness that is my mind with and unconsciousness that influences it in some respect, but ultimately there’s nothing within me that makes me require that I am so involved with some sort of “oneness“ where an unconscious Ness of the mind participates. It is entirely not required.

        And so as a counselor, as someone who will be in the business of attempting to help someone with their issues about life in existence, I have to ponder whether me telling them the truth, whether it be that they have to find a whole Ness of them selves or whether some philosophical truth that I’m talking about where there is no whole Ness— these kinds of considerations become unnecessary because in reality the only one is that I am dealing with is the client themselves. I am not a doctor and the psyche is not like a physical body that I can cut out various organs or even identify what organs there maybe constituent of some mind.

        I have only to deal with the client, the person who is come to me for help with their psyche, experience, perception, whatever issues of existence is a human being they might present; of which anything I say will necessarily be a part of that experience that they are in countering as problematic, which ironically they have brought to me to help solve.

        These are just some of the considerations that go on with me.

    1. … and. It is a new take on an old take.

      My concern of my newer posts has changed from a strictly philosophical consideration of things, which basically occupies my posts pre-2019. And mostly pre-2018 . I am mostly considering things now from a counseling perspective: what must be the case if I am indeed in a mode of attempting to help people in the psychological sense. ?

  2. When you say ‘Part 2’ in the title, does that mean there was a ‘Part 1’ (couldn’t find the link) and there’ll be a ‘Part 3’ (would love to read)? Or you mean ‘Part 2’ in the symbolic sense, as in ‘a new take’?

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