in philosophy •  9 months ago  (edited)


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I am looking for an explanation of what the subconscious is, of how it works, of our conscious relationship with it, and more.

I think what really riles me up, is that our brain expels more resources to the subconscious than our conscious mind. So it seems to me like we(consciously) are missing out on so much!

I am curious to know what that is and if there is a possibility to access the subconscious somehow.

One approach to understanding the subconscious is to examine the "mistakes" it tends to make in other people.

My personal favorite is the amygdala hijack,

And bias blind-spot is a close second,

  ·  9 months ago (edited)



Hi @akiroq
When I followed your profile back from your message on my post, I was initially confused about why you had so few posts ... until I checked your comments. It is good to see you bringing out your thoughts so that others can see them ... not just in replies to others.

I am afraid, I have arrived a little late to the conversation so am not sure if I have anything to contribute that will be of value. I have only two words that may or may not add to your thinking. Those two words are inhibition and cowpath.


Humans tend to operate exactly oppositely to the way we would believe. As a form of illustration, I assume you do not swear all the time. As a polite person, you have assumed the behaviour of not swearing in polite company. You inhibit your predilection to swear. Then you stub your toe. Your inhibition becomes inhibited and the air around you turns blue.

I mention this when it comes to your question about what the subconscious is. The subconscious accepts data with no filter. When your loved one says to you that you are beautiful, your subconscious internalizes that information with no filters. Meanwhile, your conscious mind questions that statement wondering if your loved one backed into the garage.


The human brain works in a way that is very similar to the way cows forage in a pasture.

Where a straight line might be the quickest way to a certain point, the human brain takes the path of least resistence. Over time these pathways become well established and well travelled.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)


I did read in some of your replies your identification with Asperger Syndrome (or Autism). I actually had to rewrite a couple of times because I started to slant my conversation in that direction. Maybe I am a little blind when it comes to observing others' emotions or maybe because I just refuse to be held hostage by my own emotions, I am not particularly good in that area. I also came across the idea that people with AS-like (or autistic) tendencies tend to have mixed emotions about NT (neurotypical?) interactions. Bearing that in mind, I hope that if I inadvertently offend you, it isn't because of malice ... just ineptitude.

Thank you for bringing Kahneman to my attention. I have been out of the academic milieu for so many years, that most of my conjectures are vastly out of date. My cowpath analogy in my mind is a physiological vs cognitive representation. If there is a slight impediment in a pasture, the cow will go around it. In doing so this new path becomes faster as the grass is trampled by successive travels. In the same way, this might be happening in the brain. When we first learn to walk, the impulses can go in many directions. As we continue to experiment walking, the neural pathways become better defined. When a person has a stroke, the nerve impulses don't travel through the damaged areas but need to re-route to another pathway.

It doesn't require physical damage for a "cowpath" to occur. In the literature, I can see two contributing factors that our society has added to our environment: plastics and glyphosates. Plastics have a pseudo-estrogenic effect and glyphosates at bare minimum binds and removes minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc. Additionally, it mimics glycine which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
Estrogen is a factor in many functions but at certain stages of development positively affects verbal memory. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a consistent cognitive effect so possibly in people showing some form of autism might have better pathways in some parts of the brain and less so in other parts of the brain.

High IQ autistics can have worse impulse control problems than those with a low IQ. However, ASD patients with severe executive dysfunction issues have also shown some overlap with dyspraxia, or issues of motor control.

As I said in the previous post, people don't understand how inhibition works. A good example is to consider people in a coma. In a coma, people assume a fetal position. It happens the opposite to the way that one thinks. There are conflicting muscles in the upper part of the arm. The stronger are the ones that curl your arm while the weaker straighten your arm. When you are in a coma, the body succumbs to its uninhibited state. In order to consciously strengthen our arms, we inhibit the stronger muscles so the weaker can do their work. Aside from removing critical minerals which each have their own consequences, the glycine mimicking effects of glyphosates inhibits inhibitions. Our brain inhibits most things. Everyone has the ability to recall. Imagine being able to remember every time you heard the word "the" and were unable to block those memories. We see "total recall", hyperthymesia, in people with atypical brain development often starting as they enter puberty.

I wonder if some of the aspects of autism are things that are normally inhibited are a case of the inhibition is being inhibited.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)


I will watch Kahneman after I respond to you so I can do it justice. I disagree with the assessment that people exhibiting Aspergers or Autistic tendencies have a disorder. One doesn't describe Usain Bolt as being "lame" because he is able to able to run at 23.35 mph. (I am an old school Canadian so can describe things in both imperial and metric ... can you tell me your country so I can adjust ... for the present, I will assume the US). While he might be able to run very fast, maybe he has no sense of direction so is running the wrong way.

A person with Aspergers or Autism sees the world with a greater vision than a non-autistic person. Much like the ability to run, I think everyone is "Autistic" but not everyone has the same focus, and perception. I am sure that you can "run" faster than I can metaphorically as I can "run" faster than most people I meet.

To give you an idea of my background, I was one of those people described as a perpetual student. I went to university for ten years (1978-89). Unlike most people who would choose to go higher, I chose to go wider. I studied everything from A to Z (Apiculture to Zoology) with an unusual degree in Batchelor of Science in Agriculture, Economics and Business. I have additional areas of interest including Psychology, Computers and English. This just goes to show that only know enough in any topic to just slightly get into trouble.

I am also an INTJ which has many similarities with traits found in people diagnosed with Asperger's. I have read that the difference between the two is that INTJs try to get the big picture, while "Aspers" tend to get the details. That might explain why you haven't encountered my attempt at "present[ing] this perspective" before. An INTJ might attempt to describe why people are the way they are while a non-INTJ correctly deals with the daily nuances of what they are.

With that bit of background behind us, perhaps we can consider one aspect of autism - obsessive/compulsive behaviour. My thoughts are that by looking at some of the treatments, we could identify what is going on. One of the treatments is a drug called Clomipramine. It is also used for the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder. We have two separate conditions that are on the rise that can be treated by the same drug. This suggests there might be a common underlying cause.

Clomipramine is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. As an analogy imagine you are going bowling. You have three balls to know down the pins and then there is a mechanism that picks up the pins ending your turn. Also, imagine that you could disrupt this mechanism allowing you to bowl more times. The mechanism is the serotonin reuptake process while the inhibitor prevents the reuptake to happen.

There is an association between estrogen and serotonin.

Estrogen boosts tryptophan hydroxylase which helps convert tryptophan to serotonin. What happens when our society is flooded with pseudo-estrogens? I suspect that they block the Tryptophan - Serotonin pathway giving people a deficiency.

Working under that assumption, I have been distilling my water for a couple of years now. Unfortunately, I am not detail-oriented enough to track down every source that this might be coming from.

  ·  9 months ago (edited)


You are being astute when you say ...

I am not convinced that either one is on the rise. I believe rather that knowledge about Autism and OCD is on the rise. Plus, a lot of the new diagnoses are actually adults who were never diagnosed(earlier in life).

My son has a form of dyslexia which would have been undiagnosed 50 or more years ago. He probably wouldn't have been diagnosed almost 20 years ago when he was in school except he had been in French Immersion. He had been memorizing and repeating what other children had been saying when it came to recitation. As it was they didn't catch up to him until grade 4. At the time he was rated as having a grade 13 vocabulary but only had a grade 1 reading level. I was never amazed that he had a form of dyslexia, I don't understand why the more don't have it. Historically this would not have presented a problem as only a few people would have had more than a rudimentary training. It is only since the 1950s that our technology has required that more people have more than basic skills.

I don't really have an opinion on OCD, as I am unaware of it being a behaviour aside from a few eccentric people historically. As far as autism goes, I believe that while all people fall on the spectrum, there is something in our society that is stimulating the expression of more extreme behaviours.

Estrogen is believed to increase levels [of] serotonin.

Let me explain myself better.

  • Estrogen is part of a natural process that helps create serotonin. A lack of serotonin can sometimes contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. .

  • Phytoestrogens might be able to supplement a certain level of production when natural production is low. For instance, Ginseng might have a positive effect on ADHD. Without getting too far down this road, it affects the dopamine pathways. Aside from the positive effects of estrogen, it is also is correlated with breast cancer (“estrogen-receptor-positive”). While normal amounts of soy products haven't affected women in one study, one early study ... soy supplements were shown to “switch on” genes that encourage cancer growth in women with early-stage breast cancer.

  • Synthetic Xenoestrogens such as Bisphenol A have been shown to be disruptors. They are seen to cause profligacy in some process but inhibition in others. At some point, Xenoestrogens can increase the growth of the endometrium, while at another it makes the uterine walls thinner and fragile. In other words, it doesn't supplement estrogen levels as phytoestrogens might, it interferes with proper regulation.

This is my conjecture. Xenoestrogens bind up the estrogen receptor sites. Like many binders, the body doesn't have the ability (maybe enzymatic deactivation) to dislodge these chemicals from the receptor sites. This would be like jamming a switch to an on position. There is an enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase that is activated by estrogen to convert tryptophan hydroxylase‐2 to serotonin. It also uses a cofactor iron in the process. Tryptophan hydroxylase‐2 is the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5HT).

My thoughts are that by jamming the on-switch too much TPH2 is produced ... inhibiting the production of serotonin.

I've watched the video that you included in your post (Body Language) and while I knew everything that he said, I never put it consolidated it the same way. While reading your self-description, it made me think that aside for two things, I have Asperger's too. The first is that I am very funny (but that is just the way I walk) and my oddness is self-inflicted. During my life, I have made decisions such as "the not allowing my emotions to hold me hostage" rule that are just additional bricks in the wall. When I was in my twenties, I envisioned forming relationships as pulling down my personal wall to allow me to get closer to another. Over time I found it was no longer worth the effort. Now I think that I open windows through the wall but no longer make true connections. It probably is a social anxiety reduction thing. People see the clown but never know the clown.

As far as not seeing jokes, I have a cousin whom I can tell a joke to (with a straight face) and she believes me every time until the punch line. At least she gets it quite quickly. I used to love telling jokes to my ex-mother-in-law ... she would laugh three times. The first time when I would tell the joke; the second time when I would explain it to her; the third time a year later when she got it.

Why I relate to imperial over the metric system

Many aspects of the imperial system use a base 12 (dozenal) numbering system. In other civilizations, this was the one that they used. It was the numbering of the market place. If you hold count the joints of your fingers using your thumb, you are able to count to 12 on one hand. It is possible to divide 12 by 2, 3, 4, 6 while the decimal system is limited to 2 and 5.
With the weather, people are able to distinguish temperature acutely when it is within certain limits. For instance, a comfortable temperature is 72 degrees F (22.22 degrees C). A person is able to perceive easily the difference between 72 and 71 degrees F (21.67 C).

While the metric system is the one that is preferred by most people ... it was created by the French (I am joking).

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