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Conscious and subconscious information processing - Essay Example

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The nomenclature generally used to distinguish the two functions of the mind is the objective and the subjective mind, the conscious and the subconscious mind, the waking and the sleeping mind, the…
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Conscious and subconscious information processing
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Conscious and subconscious information processing Though we have only one mind, it processes two distinctive characteristics. The nomenclature generally used to distinguish the two functions of the mind is the objective and the subjective mind, the conscious and the subconscious mind, the waking and the sleeping mind, the surface self and the deep self, the voluntary and the involuntary mind, etc (Murphy, 1963). The conscious mind derives much of its information from its physical environment reacting to sensations such as sight, taste, touch and sound. Conscious awareness reflects the external environment back to us for personal processing.
Many analogies have been made to describe the conscious mind. One effective metaphor might be the telescope. Our conscious mind looks through it and sees a particular object in focus, unaware of the world outside of that telescope lens. Thus consciousness is limited to a small radius, although it serves its purpose. Another metaphor for the conscious mind would be an iceberg. The conscious mind is the tip of the iceberg that extends out of the ocean. The conscious mind perceives the world from information derived from the subconscious below, and from the physical world around it.
Subconsciousness literally means beneath the threshold of consciousness, or that part of the mind that lies just below the level of conscious thinking. In the example of the telescope, while the conscious mind is looking through the small opening, the subconscious is recording the impressions while also searching memory banks for corroborating information. The subconscious mind acts as a personal secretary who records conscious data and who also retrieves relevant memories from the unconscious mind. It behaves like the RAM (random access memory) in a computer. It filters and retains information for the purpose of directing it to its necessary applications. A very active subconscious mind detects patterns to predetermine conscious thinking and behavior. For example, when we are first learning how to drive a car, our conscious awareness must be extremely focused in order to learn the skill. Once we have learned how to drive, the conscious mind goes on autopilot, and the subconscious takes over, doing the driving for us.
The way the subconscious operates is far different from the way conscious mind works. While the conscious mind is objective, relying on logic and literal thinking, the subconscious is subjective, processing the subliminal and symbolic meaning of words and imagery. Thus it is the subconscious mind that retains feelings and images from our dreams. Fairy tales and myths have long been used to appeal to the subconscious mind for the purpose of accelerated learning (Snow, 2005).
Dreams are the subconscious mind sending a message, or asking a question of your waking mind, who is the boss. In our waking hours, daydreams and fantasies employ images that have a deeply personal meaning, and when a person feel them deeply they become instructions from the conscious to the subconscious mind. Everyone involve in daydreaming, especially when they are relaxed and free from work. We use daydreams to temporarily escape from reality, re-create pleasant experiences, and also rehearse a future situation or to imagine things as we wish they were. Daydreams occur in the relaxed alpha state of brainwave frequency. In this state, the subconscious mind is more receptive to suggestion (Black, 2005). One job of the conscious mind is to tell the subconscious what to take care of. That is what daydreaming and fantasizing is all about. Through fantasies, we give our subconscious instructions in a language it understands: the language of images, powered by feelings (Goodwin, 2001).
References
Black, P. (2005). Daydreaming. Retrieved December 29, 2005, from http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art28850.asp
Goodwin, L., (2001). Dreams. Retrieved December 29, 2005, from http://lauragoodwin.org/dreams.htm
Murphy, J. (1963). The Power of your Subconscious Mind. New York: Bantam Books.
Snow, K., (2005). The Mysteries of the Mind Revealed. Retrieved December 29, 2005, from http://www.psitech.net/newsletter/041902/the_matrix_p_4.html Read More
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