– by B. T. Newberg
There are at least two people inside each of us:
- There is the rational, deliberate, conscious mind. It’s the one you can feel or even hear working when you puzzle out a tough math problem.
- And then there is the unconscious, intuitive, instinctive mind. This is the one that does the math, without you ever realizing it, to determine exactly how to high jump over that next hurdle.
The question is, which one is the real you?
This time, instead of a long discussion of context, I thought I’d just keep it simple.
Some food for thought:
- If you do a ritual believing there is no such thing as deity, yet the emotional response rising up from within is as if there were, which is your true belief?
- Western thought since Plato has given us the picture of the rational mind as ruler, but Jung observed that we do not create our thoughts, we are handed them. If it’s the unconscious mind that gives you your thoughts, who’s really in control? Moreover, which one is more rational?
- Many psychologists now recognize that cognition is not only in the brain but also in the muscles and organs; that is, much of it is embodied. This wider cognition is not usually conscious. For example, you may consciously intend to hit the ball with the bat, but you can only witness whether and how you hit it or not. Even farther from consciousness is “cognition” outside the body, such as writing. Some think of this as a kind of cognitive prosthesis, an off-loading of cognition into the environment (see the slideshow below, for example). If you’re willing to go as far as finding cognition outside the body, then what does that mean for self-identity? Is the skin-bag still the boundary of selfhood, or are “you” something much wider, much greater?
- Whichever aspect of the mind you identify with most of the time, are there certain times when you identify with the other more?
I look forward to hearing your comments.
Heather explores the intersection between Secular Paganism, Humanism, and her own life.
Am I a Secular Pagan? by Heather Van de Sande
Appearing Sunday, June 23rd, 2013