HomeDiscussion ForumWhy does our subconscious have more control than we do?

Why does our subconscious have more control than we do?

It seems as though almost all of our bodies functions are controlled by our subconscious mind, like how your body stores fat even when we aren’t really at risk of starvation. It’s like some of our survival mechanisms are a tad outdated. I understand some of our bodies functions are incredibly complex, but why do we have to be kept out of the loop? It isn’t really free will is it? You cant just say that you want to produce more muscles, you have to exercise to tell your body that they are needed. You cant just go into learning mode and then magically pick up new skills, but why not? Not even our personalities are left up to us, so why do we have consciousness at all?


  1. Almost nothing about the body is free will. Humans are just another animal and we require the same things other animals do, and one way or another, our bodies will get what they need, and if the need arises to bypass the consciousness, then so be it. If you don’t want to eat, you will die, but most likely you will eat before you die. It’s nature. But if you have a mental disorder, and do not eat because of your mental disorder, the mechanisms for survival in that body are flawed and you will die. Sometimes i wonder if we are the only organism to operate based on consciousness. Because almost all animals (to my knowledge) rely solely on instinct. We are a curious animal.

  2. Mythology. The conscious mind is far more powerful than the subconscious. Freud and some others led us down the path toward accepting the idea of a powerful subconscious over which we have little control. But this was just a step ahead of the those who claimed the influence of “Demons” as being responsible for unseemly thoughts and actions.
    Modern therapeutic techniques (Freudian analysis is notoriously ineffective) rely on the precept that the subconscious, although a useful harbor for many things, is easily taught by the conscious mind to stay where it belongs, that is, in the background. This is perhaps the most significant advance in psychology, and opens the door to real human improvement rather than the old ways of mysticism. Unfortunately, as was the case in medicine, astronomy and other sciences — old ways die hard.

  3. We may rely largely on instinct and intuition, and be driven by certain psychic imperatives, but that doesn’t mean we have no control whatsoever.
    The more we are aware, and bring our subconscious tendencies to conscious light, the more we will naturally begin to take ownership of ourselves and our lives.
    Allowing our subconscious to rule us is animal. But we will never enjoy total consciousness, and at this phase in our psychological evolution, it’s not necessary. But finding a balance and harmony–and truly seeking to understand ourselves in all our apparence and mystery–is part of what our own psychic work consists of right now. Ultimately we are better for it.

  4. It is because “we can’t just go into learning mode…” or “you can’t just produce more muscle” that we have a consciousness. It develops from infancy when we first learn that we can’t satisfy our thirst simply by imagining a glass of water. It develops to help us to negotiate our way through reality. We struggle but inevitably learn countless ways to satisfy our needs, developing “schema’s” to help us define most situations and experiences that we may encounter.
    Whether you refer to the subconscious/preconscious/ or id/ego/superego, these Freudian metaphors refer to a large extent with rather dynamic, and self-protective, defensive mechanisms.
    Our bodily functions fall under the auspices of our neurophysiological parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems as well as certain genetic predispositions which may well effect our personalities more than we realize. But they wouldn’t be characterized as “subconscious”.
    It is also true that our survival mechanisms are a tad bit out of date but our survival is more often based on a conservative and cautious change. Who is to say just because we aren’t starving now, we might not be starving in ten years (even if Bush is leaving office :-)).
    Give us a thousand yeard of steady nuitrition and lets see what happens.
    It seems to be a rather ironic twist that our conscious, by its very nature allows us to ask the rather disturbing question “what is not conscious” or more specifivcally, your question- why is reality what it is.
    Only God and perhaps Rush Limbaugh can answer that question.
    In a nutshell you are basically asking why is reality, reality.

  5. You raise an interesting point, but I cannot agree that our subconscious is in control. I spend much of my time just trying to be AWAKE – really awake! I slow things down, I smell the roses, and I practice meditation and concentrated listening. I view the subconscious as being the idiot tool of the trained mind: I use it to help me achieve specific goals.
    EXAMPLE: I survived a terrible accident this year which almost ended my life. I practiced mental imagery and tried to see myself in a healing mode. I often stopped to see myself enjoying playing sports that I love and walking through beautiful scenes in nature. I healed quickly and tossed away the crutches five months after leaving the hospital when my doctors said I wouldn’t be walking for about a year.
    That is just one example. I am careful what influences I allow in my life. I want to be around positive and productive people and I expect constant growth. The subconscious just has to get with the program and function in a supportive manner. You cannot achieve growth, awareness, and enlightenment in one day, but don’t be discouraged by that. We are all evolving and our INTENT and FOCUS does have a profound effect on all our mental and physical processes. It is also true that STRESS has a profound negative effect, so finding ways to reduce stress is critical.


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