The Bigot in your Brain

The bigot in your brain – are you conscious of your unconscious mind? Do you remember the time you were asked to complete a long strategy report for your boss. You had 2 weeks to complete it and yet the day before the deadline is when you first began to write it. Stress levels are high. Your rationale- you have been very busy, other deadlines, no time etc etc What was the real reason that you did not write that report? Was it because you hate writing reports? Was it something to do with your relationship with your manager? Our subconscious or unconscious mind is a powerful motivator. We are all aware we have an unconscious mind but how many of us know that we can harness that to work for us. Our unconscious mind is at work all the time yet we very often do not give it the respect it deserves. After all it is our conscious mind that makes decisions, thinks and reasons. Why should we bother with this “lesser” aspect in our mind.

We know what a Freudian slip is. Freud himself (1920) gave an example of such a slip when a British Member of Parliament referred to a colleague with whom he was irritated as ‘the honourable member from Hell’ instead of from Hull. This is an example of how the unconscious mind can influence you in reacting to a certain situation.

Imagine the unconscious mind being a puppeteer pulling all the strings of your conscious mind and getting you to make decisions.  Or think of it being your computer’s hard drive while your conscious mind is the information you store on your desk top. Now do you still see the unconscious mind as the inferior less important one?

The unconscious mind is a vast sea of feelings, memories, thoughts, opinions, judgements that sit outside of our conscious awareness. Many of the contents are often unpleasant, like pain, anxiety or conflict. But these memories will continue to influence our behaviour even though we are unaware of its influence

You may have over heard someone talking about a friend and suggesting that she has a chip on her shoulder. Where did that chip come from? All of us have chips, some have boulders on our shoulders that weigh us down. But are we aware of them or is it your friend who sees them weighing you down before you do? We all carry our back packs with us wherever we go. Some have very light ones that can be carried without any problem, others have heavy ones that influence them in almost everything they do including their basic outlook towards life. Their unconscious mind could be so full of negative emotions and memories that the mere task of living day to day is a struggle.

So the next time you are stressed out because you haven’t written your report, ask yourself what stopped you from writing it? Was there a negative experience in your unconscious mind that was pulling the strings and making you avoid it until the deadline arrived?

Read an article in The New York Times in 2007 that explores this further.

Tharoor Associates blog

1 Comment

  • Nikhil

    I was so much exhausted when back from office. Your blogs have positive strength in it. After reading this blog I was curious to know more about Freudian slippage. I read a little about Freud and get to knew more in detail about what this blog said.
    Then I felt to eat something. I walked to kitchen and cooked a dish I never had before or expected to cook. Eating it, I feels so satisfied. May be I was irritated because I was hungry. Who knows ?

    I am a great fan of Seema Anand, i am reading your blog for first time. Such a great effort from you all to educate us big philosophies through interesting stories. Thanks a lot.

    I will keep watching her channel and will read you blog…. A big Salute…

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