German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 4: Friedrich Schelling
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.