• SUPPORT THE SHOW AND ENJOY A PREMIUM PARACAST EXPERIENCE! Welcome to The Paracast+! For a low subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free version of The Paracast, the exclusive After The Paracast podcast, featuring color commentary, exclusive interviews, plus show transcripts, the new Paracast+ Video Channel, Classic Episodes and Special Features categories! We now offer lifetime memberships! You can subscribe via this direct link:
    https://www.theparacast.com/plus/

    The Official Paracast Store is back! Check out our latest lineup of customized stuff at: The Official Paracast Store!

    Subscribe to The Paracast Newsletter!

Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12


Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
Logically if any view ( physicalism or some other model ) can account for all views, then it is hypothetically possible that there could be only one such view in the set, and that it could be your view, in which case, it would account for your view. This means that the number of views that are accounted for isn't relevant to the issue. One or many. It makes no difference.
I would say that the distinction isn't relevant to the issue of "accounting" for the mind as a physical phenomenon. I would only agree that the external world is separated from one's subjective experience, and therefore they cannot be one in the same from a contextual perspective. However those who are of the view that the only things that exist are subjective experiences would argue otherwise.
"I would say that the distinction isn't relevant to the issue of "accounting" for the mind as a physical phenomenon."
Well, yes... if you want to account for mind as a physical phenomenon the distinction isn't relevant. A physicalist doesn't think there is anything additional to account for! That is exactly why physicalism isn't sufficient, since, if on my death bed I were fortunate enough to have that physcial explanation laid out before me in all its splendour, I'd still be pretty pead off that I had no idea why I existed and was about to cease to exist.
 

Erno86

Paranormal Maven
That seems perfectly logical. That is why I said previously that information could exist in material and conceptual form ( e.g. a symbol carved into a rock that is observed by someone who assigns it meaning ). But in the absence of an observer to assign it meaning as information, I can't see how a mere rock carving qualifies as information.

In this respect, I also agree on you analogy with God. A thing ( anything ) is only divine because it has been deified, and the the only way for that to happen is for some devotee to ascribe it that status. In the absence of such a devotee there can be no God, whether it's a statue, a star, or a universe creator. Well I suppose a universe creator could deify itself, but your point remains intact ( if I interpreted it right ).
I believe a rock carving qualifies as information to the artist's subconscious, regardless of whether anyone else has seen it or not --- Even though the artist's intentions are for someone else to see and interpret it's meaning.

In order for humankind to operate at a top level...there subconscious must be taught by the conscious too perform physical repetitive maneuvers that are not strange to the subconscious.

Take for example: When a beginning firearm shooter wants to learn how to shoot rapid fire...he or she must first learn to teach the subconscious too press the trigger of the firearm (which takes about 30,000 rounds); so much that all the the shooter has to do is use his or her conscious too aim the sights while his or her subconscious pulls the trigger.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I believe a rock carving qualifies as information to the artist's subconscious, regardless of whether anyone else has seen it or not --- Even though the artist's intentions are for someone else to see and interpret it's meaning.

In order for humankind to operate at a top level...there subconscious must be taught by the conscious too perform physical repetitive maneuvers that are not strange to the subconscious.

Take for example: When a beginning firearm shooter wants to learn how to shoot rapid fire...he or she must first learn to teach the subconscious too press the trigger of the firearm (which takes about 30,000 rounds); so much that all the the shooter has to do is use his or her conscious too aim the sights while his or her subconscious pulls the trigger.
Interesting example. Musicians often to do the same thing. They don't "think" what notes to play. But is there a difference between "subconscious actions" and "muscle memory"?
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I suppose that statement depends on what one means by "actual" and "nature" and "Being as a whole". For example given that we accept the premise ( as noted here ) that phenomenology and existentialism are both concerned with subjective experience, discarding the rest, how can they in any way substantiate the position that they have anything to say about "Being as a whole"?The only way I see that being possible is by arbitrarily denying the evidence for the existence of anything but one's self, which takes us back to subjective idealism, which IMO is pure nonsense.
Randall, this post of yours is fortuitous in foregrounding the major misunderstanding of phenomenology, as both method and ontological insight, and also of the unresolved 'mind-body problem' by people who have not actually read the key texts in this school of modern philosophy. In drafting a response to your post I did a google search for a particular statement by MP which led me to the Wikipedia article on MP, the first several paragraphs of which should be helpful to you and others regarding what phenonomenology and phenomenological philosophy actually reveal about the nature of consciousness, mind, and being. After posting these first three introductory paragraphs and several paragraphs from the section on "Thought and Consciousness" I'll probably add a post highlighting the meaning, the significance, of what these paragraphs deftly express, if necessary. These are only a few key extracts from a well-written and serviceable introduction to the core ideas developed in phenomenology, which might inspire you and others here to read the source texts I've been referring to here for the last three years. To begin with, one should absorb the entirety of the Wikipedia page on MP.

"Maurice Jean Jacques Merleau-Ponty[15] (French: [mɔʁis mɛʁlo pɔ̃ti]; 14 March 1908 – 3 May 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The constitution of meaning in human experience was his main interest and he wrote on perception, art, and politics. He was on the editorial board of Les Temps modernes, the leftist magazine established by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1945.

At the core of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is a sustained argument for the foundational role perception plays in understanding the world as well as engaging with the world. Like the other major phenomenologists, Merleau-Ponty expressed his philosophical insights in writings on art, literature, linguistics, and politics. He was the only major phenomenologist of the first half of the twentieth century to engage extensively with the sciences and especially with descriptive psychology. It is through this engagement that his writings became influential in the project of naturalizing phenomenology, in which phenomenologists use the results of psychology and cognitive science.

Merleau-Ponty emphasized the body as the primary site of knowing the world, a corrective to the long philosophical tradition of placing consciousness as the source of knowledge, and maintained that the body and that which it perceived could not be disentangled from each other. The articulation of the primacy of embodiment led him away from phenomenology towards what he was to call “indirect ontology” or the ontology of “the flesh of the world” (la chair du monde), seen in his final and incomplete work, The Visible and Invisible, and his last published essay, “Eye and Mind”."

and from the beginning paragraphs of the section headed 'Thought' and subheaded 'Consciousness':

"Thought[edit]
Consciousness[edit]


In his Phenomenology of Perception (first published in French in 1945), Merleau-Ponty developed the concept of the body-subject (le corps propre) as an alternative to the Cartesian "ego cogito." This distinction is especially important in that Merleau-Ponty perceives the essences of the world existentially. Consciousness, the world, and the human body as a perceiving thing are intricately intertwined and mutually "engaged." The phenomenal thing is not the unchanging object of the natural sciences, but a correlate of our body and its sensory-motor functions. Taking up and "communing with" (Merleau-Ponty's phrase) the sensible qualities it encounters, the body as incarnated subjectivity intentionally elaborates things within an ever-present world frame, through use of its pre-conscious, pre-predicative understanding of the world's makeup. The elaboration, however, is "inexhaustible" (the hallmark of any perception according to Merleau-Ponty). Things are that upon which our body has a "grip" (prise), while the grip itself is a function of our connaturality with the world's things. The world and the sense of self are emergent phenomena in an ongoing "becoming."

The essential partiality of our view of things, their being given only in a certain perspective and at a certain moment in time does not diminish their reality, but on the contrary establishes it, as there is no other way for things to be copresent with us and with other things than through such "Abschattungen" (sketches, faint outlines, adumbrations). The thing transcends our view, but is manifest precisely by presenting itself to a range of possible views. The object of perception is immanently tied to its background—to the nexus of meaningful relations among objects within the world. Because the object is inextricably within the world of meaningful relations, each object reflects the other (much in the style of Leibniz's monads). Through involvement in the world – being-in-the-world – the perceiver tacitly experiences all the perspectives upon that object coming from all the surrounding things of its environment, as well as the potential perspectives that that object has upon the beings around it.

Each object is a "mirror of all others." Our perception of the object through all perspectives is not that of a propositional, or clearly delineated, perception; rather, it is an ambiguous perception founded upon the body's primordial involvement and understanding of the world and of the meanings that constitute the landscape's perceptual gestalt. Only after we have been integrated within the environment so as to perceive objects as such can we turn our attention toward particular objects within the landscape so as to define them more clearly. This attention, however, does not operate by clarifying what is already seen, but by constructing a new Gestalt oriented toward a particular object. Because our bodily involvement with things is always provisional and indeterminate, we encounter meaningful things in a unified though ever open-ended world."

Maurice Merleau-Ponty - Wikipedia


Additionally helpful for reaching an understanding of the meaning of the terms 'phenomenon' and 'phenomenal' as worked out in the progress of phenomenology during the 20th century is the paper by Taylor Carman entitled "The Principle of Phenomenology" that I linked a page or two ago and link again here:

https://www.academia.edu/7205497/The_Principle_of_Phenomenology?
fbclid=IwAR2eQcmIxdOL6hc-_TSHETXDurCeFAmIkrdFb01K3VYa9n66NNXK10aB-k0
 
Last edited:

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Randall, this post of yours is fortuitous in foregrounding the major misunderstanding of phenomenology, as both method and ontological insight, and also of the unresolved 'mind-body problem' by people who have not actually read the key texts in this school of modern philosophy. In drafting a response to your post I did a google search for a particular statement by MP which led me to the Wikipedia article on MP, the first several paragraphs of which should be helpful to you and others regarding what phenonomenology and phenomenological philosophy actually reveal about the nature of consciousness, mind, and being. After posting these first three introductory paragraphs and several paragraphs from the section on "Thought and Consciousness" I'll probably add a post highlighting the meaning, the significance, of what these paragraphs deftly express, if necessary. These are only a few key extracts from a well-written and serviceable introduction to the core ideas developed in phenomenology, which might inspire you and others here to read the source texts I've been referring to here for the last three years. To begin with, one should absorb the entirety of the Wikipedia page on MP.

"Maurice Jean Jacques Merleau-Ponty[15] (French: [mɔʁis mɛʁlo pɔ̃ti]; 14 March 1908 – 3 May 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The constitution of meaning in human experience was his main interest and he wrote on perception, art, and politics. He was on the editorial board of Les Temps modernes, the leftist magazine established by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1945.

At the core of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is a sustained argument for the foundational role perception plays in understanding the world as well as engaging with the world. Like the other major phenomenologists, Merleau-Ponty expressed his philosophical insights in writings on art, literature, linguistics, and politics. He was the only major phenomenologist of the first half of the twentieth century to engage extensively with the sciences and especially with descriptive psychology. It is through this engagement that his writings became influential in the project of naturalizing phenomenology, in which phenomenologists use the results of psychology and cognitive science.

Merleau-Ponty emphasized the body as the primary site of knowing the world, a corrective to the long philosophical tradition of placing consciousness as the source of knowledge, and maintained that the body and that which it perceived could not be disentangled from each other. The articulation of the primacy of embodiment led him away from phenomenology towards what he was to call “indirect ontology” or the ontology of “the flesh of the world” (la chair du monde), seen in his final and incomplete work, The Visible and Invisible, and his last published essay, “Eye and Mind”."

and from the beginning paragraphs of the section headed 'Thought' and subheaded 'Consciousness':

"Thought[edit]
Consciousness[edit]


In his Phenomenology of Perception (first published in French in 1945), Merleau-Ponty developed the concept of the body-subject (le corps propre) as an alternative to the Cartesian "ego cogito." This distinction is especially important in that Merleau-Ponty perceives the essences of the world existentially. Consciousness, the world, and the human body as a perceiving thing are intricately intertwined and mutually "engaged." The phenomenal thing is not the unchanging object of the natural sciences, but a correlate of our body and its sensory-motor functions. Taking up and "communing with" (Merleau-Ponty's phrase) the sensible qualities it encounters, the body as incarnated subjectivity intentionally elaborates things within an ever-present world frame, through use of its pre-conscious, pre-predicative understanding of the world's makeup. The elaboration, however, is "inexhaustible" (the hallmark of any perception according to Merleau-Ponty). Things are that upon which our body has a "grip" (prise), while the grip itself is a function of our connaturality with the world's things. The world and the sense of self are emergent phenomena in an ongoing "becoming."

The essential partiality of our view of things, their being given only in a certain perspective and at a certain moment in time does not diminish their reality, but on the contrary establishes it, as there is no other way for things to be copresent with us and with other things than through such "Abschattungen" (sketches, faint outlines, adumbrations). The thing transcends our view, but is manifest precisely by presenting itself to a range of possible views. The object of perception is immanently tied to its background—to the nexus of meaningful relations among objects within the world. Because the object is inextricably within the world of meaningful relations, each object reflects the other (much in the style of Leibniz's monads). Through involvement in the world – being-in-the-world – the perceiver tacitly experiences all the perspectives upon that object coming from all the surrounding things of its environment, as well as the potential perspectives that that object has upon the beings around it.

Each object is a "mirror of all others." Our perception of the object through all perspectives is not that of a propositional, or clearly delineated, perception; rather, it is an ambiguous perception founded upon the body's primordial involvement and understanding of the world and of the meanings that constitute the landscape's perceptual gestalt. Only after we have been integrated within the environment so as to perceive objects as such can we turn our attention toward particular objects within the landscape so as to define them more clearly. This attention, however, does not operate by clarifying what is already seen, but by constructing a new Gestalt oriented toward a particular object. Because our bodily involvement with things is always provisional and indeterminate, we encounter meaningful things in a unified though ever open-ended world."

Maurice Merleau-Ponty - Wikipedia


Additionally helpful for reaching an understanding of the meaning of the terms 'phenomenon' and 'phenomenal' as worked out in the progress of phenomenology during the 20th century is the paper by Taylor Carman entitled "The Principle of Phenomenology" that I linked a page or two ago and link again here:

https://www.academia.edu/7205497/The_Principle_of_Phenomenology?
fbclid=IwAR2eQcmIxdOL6hc-_TSHETXDurCeFAmIkrdFb01K3VYa9n66NNXK10aB-k0
I downloaded the Carman paper this afternoon and I am enjoying it very much.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I downloaded the Carman paper this afternoon and I am enjoying it very much.
I thought you would like it because Carman is so expert in Heidegger's philosophy, which you have spent considerable time with, and also because it clarifies Heidegger's responses to Husserl's works over time. I learned some things in this paper that I had never encountered before in pursuing the history of phenomenology.
 

Erno86

Paranormal Maven
Interesting example. Musicians often to do the same thing. They don't "think" what notes to play. But is there a difference between "subconscious actions" and "muscle memory"?
I've heard of muscle memory before...but I think that the subconscious and conscious rules.

Take another example --- though I wouldn't recommend it --- An experienced driver of a car or truck can easily have a intelligent conversation between another person or persons in the vehicle, while letting his or her subconscious operate the vehicle in a supposedly safe manner.
 
Last edited:

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I've heard of muscle memory before...but I think that the subconscious and conscious rules.

Take another example --- though I wouldn't recommend it --- An experienced driver of a car or truck can easily have a intelligent conversation between another person or persons in the vehicle, while letting his or her subconscious operate the vehicle in a supposedly safe manner.
Yes the driving analogy is very good. They say that most of what is displayed along the side of a main thoroughfare doesn't register in the conscious mind. Our experience of the world comes to us through a range of filters depending on the immediacy and priority of the situation. So we see the road and the traffic and the signals and if it's not too demanding a situation, we also can pay attention to the radio, people talking, and some of the other extraneous stuff going on, depending on what we're looking for, but the rest doesn't register.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Yes the driving analogy is very good. They say that most of what is displayed along the side of a main thoroughfare doesn't register in the conscious mind. Our experience of the world comes to us through a range of filters depending on the immediacy and priority of the situation. So we see the road and the traffic and the signals and if it's not too demanding a situation, we also can pay attention to the radio, people talking, and some of the other extraneous stuff going on, depending on what we're looking for, but the rest doesn't register.
Not in the present moment, perhaps, but we have yet no way of knowing how much of what takes place in the margins of consciousness on the periphery of our focal attention is recorded in the subconscious mind. If we are ever to comprehend the scope and breadth of consciousness -- and that which it records and preserves -- we will have to learn much more about the nature, contents, and workings of the subconscious mind.

This conclusion follows from the well-grounded premise that we begin our lives in a state of prereflective consciousness -- absorbing but not yet sorting out, attempting to categorize, and 'thinking about' our accumulating impressions of and feelings about our surroundings -- and only gradually acquire the capacity of reflective consciousness in which we can think about our lived experiences in comparative and global ways. Our later impressions, like our earlier ones, are based in our primary affective capacities and initially take shape in the core emotional responses and reactions we share with the animals preceding us in evolution. Even after we have achieved reflective consciousness we continue to experience the world around us also at the level of prereflective, pre-thetic, consciousness, if, that is, we remain open to the others and things we encounter in the world.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
A new emission from the untethered mind of Galan Strawson:

Language without communication intention
Galen Strawson
Professor of philosophy, The University of Texas at Austin, USA

"Abstract: This paper argues that a language can exist and flourish in a community even if none of the members of the community has any communication intentions; and that reference to the notion of communication intention can therefore be dispensed with in the core account of the nature of linguistic meaning. Certainly one cannot elucidate the notion of linguistic meaning without reference to psychological notions; the communication-intention theorists are right about this. They are, however, wrong about which psychological notions are needed. It is not possession of the ability to (intentionally) mean something that is crucial to the possession and exercise of communication intentions. What is crucial is rather the possession of certain semantic psychological attitudes. To possess such semantic psychological attitudes (semantic attitudes for short) is to be disposed to take certain publicly observable phenomena -- such as sights and sounds -- as (non-naturally) meaning something. The paper argues that it is possible to describe circumstances in which one can in so doing be said to understand their meaning.

Keywords: language, linguistic meaning, communication intention, understanding-experience, semantic attitudes, representation, propositionality."

‘Language without communication intentions’
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
So where does telepathy come from...the conscious or subconscious mind?
I guess that depends on how we define "subconscious". Freud created and then abandoned the term, but it's been adopted here and there by others and has different meanings depending on the context it's being used. Apart from that. Addressing the phenomenon of telepathy. That is also a term that carries assumptions that may or may not be true. In other words, in the most basic sense, what we're talking about is information transfer. The assumption is that it is a "mind-to-mind" transference, but we don't actually know that is the case. We only know it seems that way because of the nature of the experience. However it may be the case that the phenomenon is induced by some sort of technology.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
So where does telepathy come from...the conscious or subconscious mind?
That's a very good question, and answering it requires that paranormal, parapsychological, and psychical research be examined alongside materialist/physical hypotheses re consciousness and mind and their relation. That's a tall order and most people committed to objectivist presuppositions about consciousness and mind have long resisted going there. But 'there' is where we have to go in order to recognize human experiences and capacities that cannot be accounted for by reductive materialism/objectivism. Here is a link to a major study of the scope and character of 'informational' mental phenomena that call for our attention, entitled Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the Twentieth Century, edited by Kelly and Kelly et al. The table of contents of this volume is presented in its entirety at the amazon link below and provides a detailed overview of the history of modern psychical research since the founding of the Society for Psychical Research in England in the last decades of the 19th century.

https://www.amazon.com/Irreducible-Mind-Toward-Psychology-Century/dp/1442202068/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1540931263&sr=1-1&keywords=Kelly+and+Kelly,+IRREDUCIBLE+CONSCIOUSNESS

Book description at amazon.com:

"Current mainstream opinion in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in brains. Views of this sort have dominated recent scholarly publication. The present volume, however, demonstrates empirically that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false. The authors systematically marshal evidence for a variety of psychological phenomena that are extremely difficult, and in some cases clearly impossible, to account for in conventional physicalist terms. Topics addressed include phenomena of extreme psychophysical influence, memory, psychological automatisms and secondary personality, near-death experiences and allied phenomena, genius-level creativity, and 'mystical' states of consciousness both spontaneous and drug-induced. The authors further show that these rogue phenomena are more readily accommodated by an alternative 'transmission' or 'filter' theory of mind/brain relations advanced over a century ago by a largely forgotten genius, F. W. H. Myers, and developed further by his friend and colleague William James. This theory, moreover, ratifies the commonsense conception of human beings as causally effective conscious agents, and is fully compatible with leading-edge physics and neuroscience. The book should command the attention of all open-minded persons concerned with the still-unsolved mysteries of the mind."

We've referred to this volume in earlier parts of this thread and, if I recall correctly, @smcder provided a chapter-by-chapter description of its contents a year or two ago. If you search the thread as a whole with the title of the book you will probably locate that valuable summary. (I will look for it and post a link to it if I can find it. If I can't I hope @smcder will do so.)

To respond to your question whether telepathy 'comes from the conscious or subconscious mind', I think it's fair to say that most researchers into psi phenomena over the last 130 years have agreed that it is the subconscious mind that is receptive to psychic and paranormal communications. Sleep and dream research has confirmed the soundness of this hypothesis based on recognition that the forebrain's executive functions, operative in normal waking consciousness, largely drop away when one enters sleep. Dream research indicates, however, that lived experiences stored in memory during waking consciousness are absorbed by the subconscious mind and worked over in dream states, indeed in more fullness than that with which we have recognized them in waking consciousness. The most insightful book concerning sleep and dream research is Evan Thompson's Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy,published last year and discussed here at the time.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_13?url=search-alias=stripbooks&field-keywords=evan+thompson+waking+dreaming+being&sprefix=EVAN+THOMPSON,stripbooks,189&crid=30X0GS9HA5TLA
 
Last edited:

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I guess that depends on how we define "subconscious". Freud created and then abandoned the term, but it's been adopted here and there by others and has different meanings depending on the context it's being used. Apart from that. Addressing the phenomenon of telepathy. That is also a term that carries assumptions that may or may not be true. In other words, in the most basic sense, what we're talking about is information transfer. The assumption is that it is a "mind-to-mind" transference, but we don't actually know that is the case. We only know it seems that way because of the nature of the experience. However it may be the case that the phenomenon is induced by some sort of technology.
Forgive me for saying so, Randall, but this constant reference to the existence of differing definitions of key concepts and terms in this thread is not actually productive. It merely points up the persisting limitations on the project of interdisciplinary research and thinking that is the goal of Consciousness Studies. Each 'special use' of the key terms of this inquiry -- and insistence on their adequacy within presently structured disciplines -- stands in the way of genuinely interdisciplinary progress in comprehending what consciousness is, what mind is, and how these phenomena, and the phenomena of signification, semiosis, and meaning, are generated in biologically embodied human beings (and developed in the prior evolution of species preceding ours).

ETA: re your opening sentences referring to Freud (highlighted in purple above), he did not reject his core theory of the subconscious mind; rather, he recognized late in his own life its limitations relative to the deeper and broader theory of the Collective Unconscious produced by Jung. Indeed, Freud expressed the wish that he had read and understood Jung's writings earlier and pursued the same directions in his own research into the subconscious and unconscious levels of what we call consciousness.
 
Last edited:

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
ETA: re your opening sentences referring to Freud (highlighted in purple above), he did not reject his core theory of the subconscious mind ...
Tell it to the person who wrote the Wikipedia article: "Sigmund Freud first used the term "subconscious" in 1893 to describe associations and impulses that are not accessible to consciousness. He later abandoned the term in favor of unconscious, noting the following ... " - Subconscious - Wikipedia
Forgive me for saying so, Randall, but this constant reference to the existence of differing definitions of key concepts and terms in this thread is not actually productive.
Just because you find it unproductive to point out "the existence of differing definitions of key concepts", doesn't mean everyone else does. So how about considering the idea that your complaining is unproductive instead :p .

Moving on, Here's something I found interesting: Possible existence of optical communication channels in the brain
 
Last edited:

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Tell it to the person who wrote the Wikipedia article: "Sigmund Freud first used the term "subconscious" in 1893 to describe associations and impulses that are not accessible to consciousness. He later abandoned the term in favor of unconscious, noting the following ... " - Subconscious - Wikipedia
Sorry to ruffle your feathers, Randall. I think it's reasonable to say that he 'abandoned' his limited idea of the subconscious as shaped and ruled by infantile impulses, emotions, and desires, but not that he rejected all of his discoveries in that area. Rather, learning from Jung he extended the subconscious to include the unconscious and its contents carried along in human (and it turned out later, even animal) memory and influence.. If you review the wiki article you cited, including the footnotes, I think you will agree that the terms 'subconscious' and 'unconscious' are used interchangeably along with others: 'preconscious', 'supraconsciousness', etc. The general recognition is that impulses and ideations in the subconscious mind -- whether originating in infantile experience and proto-thinking or remembered in forms of human-racial memory carried along in evolution -- affect and influence what we call the thinking mind. The only outlier to this generally-held theory is the guy mentioned in the final footnote who conceived the notion that the waking mind employed in active and purposeful thought and action can somehow be used to prune and shape the subconscious mind.


Just because you find it unproductive to point out "the existence of differing definitions of key concepts", doesn't mean everyone else does. So how about considering the idea that your complaining is unproductive instead :p .
Everyone involved in interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies, including reductivists of different stripes, complains about the ways in which these key terms are variously 'defined' in different disciplines. So long as we dwell exclusively within our separate disciplines and remain committed to the presuppositions structuring those disciplines, we cannot make progress across disciplines in reaching adequate definitions of the nature and structure of consciousness in its full complexity, including all of its layers and depths .
 
Last edited:

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Sorry to ruffle your feathers, Randall. I think it's reasonable to say that he 'abandoned' his limited idea of the subconscious as shaped and ruled by infantile impulses, emotions, and desires, but not that he rejected all of his discoveries in that area. Rather, learning from Jung he extended the subconscious to include the unconscious and its contents carried along in human (and it turned out later, even animal) memory and influence.. If you review the wiki article you cited, including the footnotes, I think you will agree that the terms 'subconscious' and 'unconscious' are used interchangeably along with others: 'preconscious', 'supraconsciousness', etc. The general recognition is that impulses and ideations in the subconscious mind -- whether originating in infantile experience and proto-thinking or remembered in forms of human-racial memory carried along in evolution -- affect and influence what we call the thinking mind. The only outlier to this generally-held theory is the guy mentioned in the final footnote who conceived the notion that the waking mind employed in active and purposeful thought and action can somehow be used to prune and shape the subconscious mind.
Here is a really good explanation from the Harvard Medical School: Unconscious or Subconscious? - Harvard Health Blog
Everyone involved in interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies, including reductivists of different stripes, complains about the ways in which these key terms are variously 'defined' in different disciplines. So long as we dwell exclusively within our separate disciplines and remain committed to the presuppositions structuring those disciplines, we cannot make progress across disciplines in reaching adequate definitions of the nature and structure of consciousness in its full complexity, including all of its layers and depths .
There's a difference between being critical about various aspects of an issue, and complaining about someone bringing up an issue. The former is expected and respected. The latter might be seen as an attempt to discourage freedom of expression or participation in a discussion and is the context in which your comment was delivered. I responded accordingly.

Returning to the subject itself, it seems we have yet to identify exactly what context @Erno86 intended the term "subconscious" to be used in. Given that it was in relation to telepathy, we might assume that it was in the context of parapsychology. In his blog at the Parapsychological Association Carlos Alvarado says,"Flournoy’s investigation of the Smith case has been cited by many to illustrate the capabilities of the subconscious mind for producing fictitious manifestations."

However the context of Flournoy remains unclear above and needs to be unraveled. The reference is to Théodore Flournoy , who was a Professor of Psychology at the University of Geneva who had an active interest in parapsychology, and IMO appears to be an interesting character who fits well with the subject matter here. He was also a contemporary of Freud, but a little younger, so it's conceivable that if or when Flournoy used the word "subconscious", it was in the context of the period in which Freud also used it. However it should be noted that his own book was called, Psychology of the Unconscious ( not subconscious ).

The Glossary of the Parapsychological Association uses the word "Subliminal", meaning: "Term coined by Frederic Myers to refer to events occurring beneath the “threshold” of conscious awareness. [From the Latin sub, “below, under,” + limen (liminus), “threshold”]" - Source

So I would think it safe to assume that Erno's context was synonymous with subliminal, and that the term "subconscious" remains an outdated catchall term used largely by lay people in the context of their assumptions about how the mind works. Personally I don't find it offensive, but perhaps it might be better now that we have a clearer understanding to encourage the use of "unconscious" or "subliminal" instead?
 
Last edited:

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Here is a really good explanation from the Harvard Medical School: Unconscious or Subconscious? - Harvard Health Blog
That is a good overview of the general situation re the 'subconscious' and 'unconscious' as our species understands/has understood these levels of consciousness up to the present/by now. How much more do we need to understand about the innumerable manifestations of biological life and levels of consciousness expressed in the evolution of consciousness? Case in point, the Phainopepla:

Phainopepla - Wikipedia
 

Top