In my life, I have said things that completely baffled me after I said them. I think I know why? Let’s take an example and analyze it.
One time about twenty years ago I was talking to the President of the Mormon Church on the phone. After we conducted some business, he asked me how I was doing. Out of no where I blurted out, ” last week, I got a sore throat waiting for your call.” He didn’t know how to respond, for sure, neither did I.
I asked myself, “Where in the world did that come from?” Yes, I had a sore throat the week before, but who knows why. Certainly waiting for a call didn’t cause it, or did it?
Here’s the science of how my mind (yours too) is constructed. My brain is divided into two parts: the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. My conscious mind is my public persona. It controls my relations with the outside world. It is also deeply tied to the surrounding culture, and works to make sure I succeed in my everyday interaction with it.
On the other hand, my unconscious mind is tied to my private persona. It is who I am in my rawest form. It’s full of built up emotion, primal fears, repressed desires, and animal instincts.
My conscious mind works to manage (control) the actions of my unconscious persona.
But, sometimes when my conscious mind goes too far in managing my unconscious mind, by demanding absolute conformity to conventional standards, my unconscious mind will undermine my conscious mind, and break through the control mechanism, and do the unexpected in public.
So here I am talking to the President of the Mormon Church. I’m on my very, very best behavior. My conscious mind is making sure that I’m saying just the right things. On the other hand, my unconscious mind is going wild. It’s saying, “you’re not that measured and pristine. You have more gravel in your soul than that.” So before my conscious mind knows it, my unconscious voice breaks through with an irreverent, yet probably authentic, random thought.
So after I said what I said, my conscious mind snaps to attention, and goes to work trying to repair what my unconscious mind blurted out. In less than a nano second my conscious mind determined that the best thing to do was to politely end the conversation, and get off the phone.
That’s how the mechanics of the mind work. There are always the opposites of the mind ( the conscious mind vs the unconscious mind) constantly exerting pressure on each other. They are in dynamic tension, which creates a relative harmony in my (and your) life. However, If, for example, the conscious mind were to completely overwhelm the unconscious mind, life would end up being a mere ceremony of mundane memes and robotic mental gestures. But, if the unconscious mind overwhelmed the conscious mind, we would lapse into eventual mental illness.
As it is, we humans are usually a mix between everyday ceremony and a few neurotic ticks, which cancel each other out. It’s all good. The fun becomes in figuring what opposites seem to be at tension within any given situation in which we find ourselves. Working at understanding the interplay of the tension of the opposites of the conscious and unconscious minds make for a more wholesome life.