The utility of the conscious mind can be understood as analogous to a toolbox. Notice how useless that collection of instruments becomes without a human being to notice, reify, recognize, transport, and employ them for intent? In fact, if we remove humans and culture altogether, that toolbox will never have any more utility than a stick or a stone. It is not a god, or even a genie.
The utility of the conscious mind is efficacious, true, but only in an exceptionally narrow subdomain of contexts. But the opposite is the constant advertisement from our minds and our cultures, so we forget this, and what happens is that the conscious mind masquerades as a universal resource of impossible power and unstoppable momentum. Effectively, the toolbox becomes conscious in an ersatz way, and the result is a kind of para-schizoid, self-victimizing/aggrandizing mode of narrative consciousness where the toolbox pretends it is not only the person, but also all people, and, yes, in many cases, even god.
And then our cultures follow suit, to catastrophic result.
The actual intelligence that lives in and as us is what we refer to as our subconscious and/or unconscious mind. The tool-like aspect that is our consciousness, is, actually, a tiny prosthesis of this vast undiscovered country within us, and is really very stupid in terms of ‘the big picture’. It sees parts and evaluations that are in many ways extremely limited, yet capable of pretending to be (or being projected as) exhaustive. And it is secretly aware of this, so that it must parade around desperately as the only possible expert whose proclamations must be understood as commands, not suggestions.
Part of the reason for all this strangeness may be that the conscious mind is covertly aware of its actual status as a prosthesis, and is terrified that this might be revealed to the being in whom it has gone, effectively, insane. Should any of this be discovered, the conscious mind’s fear of being unmasked as an idiot pretending to be king will be actualized. The reasonable supposition is that ridicule, banishment and punishment will result, however, this, too, is delusion, since the unconscious mind is largely or completely uninterested in prosecution, and is not even very interested in appearing as an authority of any kind. This sets up a crisis, which often turns out to be the underlying authorial inspiration for our greatest difficulties and losses in life.
Now there are two basic ways this crisis tends to develop: catastrophe, and play. The first method demands blood, and is the actual source of things like war and the politco-corporate rape of our social, natural and relational environments. In single lives, the first path leads, invariably to cascades of irredeemable catastrophes. The second method is familiar even to children and results in rapid cognitive and relational development; that is to say, that the tool becomes trained to excellence, and, enjoying this, practices its excellence in lieu of painfully toxic masquerades. It becomes the lieutenant of the actual intelligence that it arises as the living prosthesis of. This is the correct relationship. The horse does not ride the child. If it attempted this, the child would be crushed.
With these basic ideas in mind, we can effectively sense that the more domineering rigidity we observe in the masquerading superficial intelligence (whether personal, corporate, or national), the more likely it is that this is a desperate projection from a toolbox which has, effectively, ‘gone rogue’ and is now prosecuting its own agendas for spurious reasons related to consequences that will not actually ensue, even if its worst fear should be realized (exposure). The narrative mind is so confused, that it will gladly destroy the body, the unconscious, other people, places, and in many cases the entire world, given the opportunity — but its reasons, like its stories about cause and meaning, are almost entirely invented. The fears of the narrative mind have nearly nothing to do with the actual circumstances in which it is immersed. Like a liar who continues to up the ante when discovered but is secretly calling for help to escape the entire paradigm, this rigid, prosecutorial stance is the ‘body language’ that the entire structure is diseased and must collapse in order to be replaced with something habitable, survivable, and developmentally viable.
The real intelligence is the ocean in which this iceberg is floating. People who seem to be ‘psychic’ or ‘clairvoyant’ have, more likely, simply established a structured flow of sensing and evaluation between the two intelligences, one where the tool is both tame and disciplined, and willingly guided by the hand of its source. This is the natural state of the savant and the child.
This ‘guiding hand’ that moves the tool is, in this case, much more like a god. For it has no real investment in identity or fame. Its sole joy is catalyzing and existing as divine instances of enacted excellence, and it is anciently endowed to produce acts of sensing and relation, acts of communion, which vastly surpass the wildest of our often absurd stories about these and related matters. It cares nothing for self-aggrandizement, and can rarely even be enticed to distinguish itself from the general to the degree that it can be in any way meaningfully specified! And this is what our real intelligence is like. Cloudy. Foggy. Miasmic. Dreaming. Playfully improvisatory. Selfless.
Of course it is possible to establish this balanced structured relationship between the conscious and its living basis. But it is not possible, or desirable, to eliminate one in favor of the other. That is, to reduce them all to the conscious. The relationship is like the Tao symbol in this sense. Turning the whole circle white doesn’t accomplish anything interesting. And that, actually, is what the terrified, misguided conscious mind would like us to believe is possible so that, at last, we will stop recognizing its source, and forget once more, and mistake the tool for the living hand that guides it, and thus, become, ourselves, the tools of a madness which actually never really existed. It was an echo of our tools in the vastness of our minds. A long echo, powerful enough to tear our lives and worlds apart.
What is often talked about as enlightenment does not really have to be much more than the basic re-establishment of a healthy mode of relation between these two minds. When the living hand dances with the tools it has established, the tools are no longer made to crawl and lie, but to sing and experience the relational and developmental analogs of flight. These are our actual birthrights, but ‘the accident’ which is so obviously universal in our time as to obscure our capacity to recognize and amend it, has been with our species almost since we began to acquire the linguistic and memorial capacities required for stories… which are, it should be remembered, a form of trance induction.
Our stories, too, are prostheses, and when they pretend they are the real, we should immediately recognize the gambit at play, and interrupt it with a flash of recognition that we have lapsed into the deadly confusion that replaces the real with the description, and then goes on to relate with reality as though it were the flat, uninhabitable terrain of a neurotic narrative. Yet, even as we strive to recognize and amend these matters, we must be cautious. For the narrative mind, the conscious mind, is not inherently bad or evil. From many perspectives, it has been made as much a victim as our persons, cultures, and worlds are. It is misfunctioning for a simple reason: its powers and domain have been aggressively and continuously expanded until reality and descriptions were effectively reduced to the same thing. The universe becomes tool, and living beings become a myth, for what tool is truly animate?
So we must together awaken from this long nightmare where the hyperbolized tool remakes the hand in its image. As anyone can see, a hand made in the image of a tool is no hand at all, for the hand is the source of tools, and their master. Where tools drive hands, something has gone dangerously amiss and great disaster will soon follow. In cascades that amplify as the problem is ignored. Thus we must bring forth the deep and nameless living intelligence, the anonymous intelligence we each so uniquely represent, and we must interrupt the strange fables of the conscious mind with the deep and impersonal wisdom that is the very source and purpose of intelligence. And it is deep, and impossibly rich, profound beyond imagining, and, indeed, capable of solving any problem we may place before it.
Perhaps, especially, this one.