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The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
The Unconscious
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The Unconscious

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On the evolution of the concept of the unconscious.

On the evolution of the concept of the unconscious.

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  • 1. The Unconscious<br />Daniel Fishman<br />Fielding Graduate University<br />The Unconscious<br />Throughout history the concept of the unconscious has manifested in largely one of two ways. The first, and chronologically earlier, envisions the unconscious as a hidden intellect similar in character to consciousness with the ability to acquire and analyze information, make judgments and sanction decisions. In this incarnation the unconscious appears to be a hidden, parallel, and potentially dominant intellect. The second incarnation of the unconscious, also referred to as the non-conscious, envisages it not as a hidden thinking realm, but a mechanical information processing system devoid of reflection, emotion, or true intellect, instantiated on a neurological substrate (Grim, 2009; Kandel & Squire, 2000; Kandel, Schwartz & Jessell, 2000; Kosslyn & Koenig, 1995; Page, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). This paper will examine the conceptual development of the unconscious.<br />Antiquity and the Classical Period<br />The exact conceptual origin of the unconscious is difficult to pin down. Pieces of the concept are mentioned in the early philosophical teachings of many world religions such as Buddhism, where consciousness is described as an illusory and ephemeral construct, or Judaism where competing "inclinations" or "drives" of Good and Evil are routinely cited. Inquiry into the nature of mental life in both healthy and diseased states can be found in papyri recovered from ancient Egypt, as well as in discussions of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers (Millon, 2004; Nasser, 1987). Philosophers such as Hippocrates, Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Cicero, and Galen made significant strides in rejecting a demonological and supernatural paradigm of mental states in favor of models emphasizing human agency. In fact, Galen’s interpretation and expansion of the humoral theory remained dominant for more than 1200 years (Fishman, 2009; Grubin, 2002; Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Millon, 2004; Tallis, 2002).<br />Perhaps one of the earliest written conceptualizations of the unconscious can be found in the 4th and 5th centuries C.E. with Augustine of Hippo, also known as St. Augustine, who wrote "I cannot grasp all that I am" (Tallis, 2002 p.ix). In this statement Augustine is conveying his notion that at any given point in time he can only conceive of a fraction of himself. For example, although each individual maintains a storehouse of memories accumulated over his/her lifetime, at any one point in time only a limited number of these memories are present in conscious awareness. Our continuous sense of self, the concept that we are the person we were a moment ago and will continue to be that person into the future, depends heavily on our sum total of memories and knowledge accumulated over a lifetime. The absence of this totality from constant conscious awareness in the face of continued perception of the self as constant is an indication that although these memories are not present in conscious awareness, they are maintained somewhere. Additionally, when faced with the questions "Would I do/feel/think 'X'?", an individual is capable of assessing if such actions/feelings/thoughts are consistent with their identity. This feat is accomplished without the need to recall into conscious awareness every piece of knowledge and memory one has accumulated. Furthermore, if our conscious minds are engaged in pursuits other than the recall of memories - say engrossed in the sights and sounds of the waves gently crashing against the shore - we still maintain an underlying sense of self, once again without the need to recall the entirety of our memories into conscious awareness.<br />Unfortunately with the fall of Rome and the Western world's plunge into the Dark Ages, there was an accompanying regression of thought on mental states to those espousing supernatural origins. During this period, knowledge was studiously preserved and advanced mostly by individuals, such as Avicenna and Maimonides, outside the medieval Western World. Although such brilliant men did provide significant contributions, there is to a large extent an exaggerated period of relative stagnation in the discourse surrounding mental states until the renewed freedoms and interest of the Renaissance and more so Enlightenment periods (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Millon, 2004; Tallis, 2002). <br />The Enlightenment<br />Although not the first to revisit philosophies of consciousness, Renee Descartes (1596-1650) is considered by many to be the father of Western philosophy, devoting much of his efforts to its study. He sought to prove his existence through a method of doubting everything. He found the only thing he was unable to doubt was the existence of his own mind, as that was the arena in, and mechanism by which he doubted. Descartes developed a dualistic theory of mind, now referred to as Cartesian Dualism, wherein the mind existed as separate and distinct "stuff" than that of the brain. He further postulated that the two interacted through the pineal gland. Additionally, Descartes acknowledged the presence of unconscious mental operations, such as inaccessible memories or actions conducted without conscious awareness. However, these unconscious processes did not occupy the same centrality in Descartes theoretical framework that they would come to occupy in those who followed (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Millon, 2004; Tallis, 2002). <br />In 1690, John Locke published his Essay Concerning Human Understanding in which he discussed his theories of how knowledge became consolidated within the mind. Another philosopher of the day, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, found Locke's ideas exciting but held some reservations. Leibniz's reservations lead him to write to Locke, a letter Locke chose to ignore. Leibniz was still convinced he was correct, and so expanded his letter into a book entitled New Essays on Human Understanding. Sadly, Locke died around the time Leibniz was finalizing his work, and, loathing to attack someone unable to defend himself, Leibniz elected not to publish. Leibniz's New Essays remained unpublished until fifty years after his own death when in 1765 it was finally published (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002).<br />Leibniz's work is an important development in our quest to understand the mind. Although it would not receive much public attention for almost a century (owing to the Enlightenment's emphasis on the supremacy of reason), it is the first truly significant philosophical discussion of unconscious mental processes. In Leibniz's view, awareness exists as a continuum: at one end are apperceptions (clear & distinct mental experiences) followed by less well circumscribed perceptions with minute perceptions (those entirely out of awareness) occupying the other end of the spectrum. These designations are not fixed; minute perceptions may rise into full awareness, for example when one attends to a previously unattended stimulus. Minute perceptions also encompass the myriad of sensations impinging upon one's consciousness throughout the day that one does not necessarily need to attend to in order to affected by. For example, while sitting on a grassy knoll contemplating all manner of things deep and mystical, one absently swats at an insect that is buzzing nearby. Furthermore, the argument offered above citing a continuous sense of self perpetuated by memories not in conscious awareness was first formally offered by Leibniz in his New Essays. Taken together, Leibniz envisions an unconscious the can affect the conscious formation of ideas, judgments, and decisions. These ideas would seem to be in stark contrast to the prevailing thoughts of his time. However, they appear almost prescient of things to come in the 19th and 20th centuries (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). <br />The Romantic Period<br />In reaction to the Enlightenment's emphasis on reason, the subsequent Romantic period placed renewed emphasis on nature, the solitary individual, the mystical, and emotion. The great artists of this period are known for painting brilliant landscapes demonstrating the beauty and power of nature. In their emphasis on the individual (rather than society) Romantics describe an understanding of mental life that grows increasingly complex. Individual's inner lives take on roles of significant conflict: mind and body, head and heart, body and soul, conscious and ever growing unconscious forces. The primacy of reason is rejected and exploration of what are seen as deep and rich feelings is venerated. The idea of ancient knowledge buried deep within nature, within us, gained momentum. Increasingly the metaphor of a great epic journey down into one's own unconscious came into use (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002).<br />In English literature the Romantic period is typically portrayed beginning with the publication of Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads in 1798. In this and subsequent work authors describe personal journeys of self-exploration. Coleridge seems to have had an edge over his partner in this endeavor by way of his enjoyment of drugs, specifically opium. Coleridge argued that under the influence of opium his unconscious was unleashed from the inhibition of his conscious mind. As a result of this unshackling Coleridge states that whole works seemed to emerge fully formed into his awareness, such as Kubla Kahn (1816). Thus, Coleridge's unconscious is that of a mysterious vast realm equally or perhaps more capable than the conscious realm (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). Simultaneous with his love affair with opium, Coleridge befriended another young artist by the name of De Quincey, whom interestingly enough, he warned to stay away from opium. De Quincey did not listen to his friend and went on to publish Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1822), arguably one of the best literary works on unconscious life (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). In 1814 Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert published The Symbolism of Dreams, in which he posits that an individual's dreams are a window into ancient knowledge (Tallis, 2002). Under the care of the Romantics, the unconscious progressed significantly from Leibniz's rather timid interpretation into a grand dark reliquary of knowledge, with slight suggestive undertones of what others would go on to call the universal or collective unconscious.<br /> Now introduced into popular thought, the concept of the unconscious continued to grow and be refined. Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), an Austrian physician in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, brought the concept of the unconscious to new levels of public attention. Drawing on earlier work by Paracelsus (1493-1541), Mesmer posited that many forms of illness were caused by imbalances of universal magnetic fluids. Furthermore, Mesmer believed these abnormal magnetic forces could be rectified through manipulation of magnetic devices or by drawing on magnetic forces within the healer (forces he later named animal magnetism - to the chagrin of many a young lady, a term sorely misappropriated in the twentieth century). Mesmer achieved marked improvement in many of his patients and his treatments progressed from individual sessions to groups of individuals. Owing to his success, Mesmer developed a devout professional following. As time progressed his treatment sessions took on increasing airs of showmanship, a trend not followed by all of his professional devotees. Instead these devotees became interested in a "side effect" Mesmer noted observing wherein patients became somnolent, highly suggestive, and amnesic to the treatment period after cessation of treatment. Mesmer dismissed this as an uninteresting oddity; however, a sufficient number of his followers found it significant, ultimately resulting in a split into two schools - one following Mesmer and a second following Puységur. Ironically, it is the school that followed Puységur and examined this pseudo-somnolent state that became associated with Mesmer's name. Ultimately the effect became known as Mesmerism, an incarnation of what we refer to today as hypnosis (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). <br /> Although several physicians found uses for Mesmerism, such as anesthesia (a British physician even reported using it to anesthetize a patient in order to remove a scrotal tumor greater in weight than the patient himself!), it never quite attained widespread credibility. In something of a temporal coincidence the early 19th century saw a rise in a spiritualist movement which taught communion with the dead through mediums and séances. Mesmerism became attached to this phenomenon in the public mind and fell into a degree of disuse. Interestingly, those who adhered to and promulgated the ideas of spiritualism often spoke of the phenomena of automatic writing and automatic drawing. Their descriptions of these phenomena closely parallel the drug fueled experiences of the Romantic era's exploration of the unconscious. For those who wished to explain away these phenomena this parallel offered an acceptable alternative. Mediums were not in communion with the spirit realm, merely tapping into their own unconscious minds and allowing their expression. Again, the picture of the unconscious as a complete and vast hidden intelligence is invoked. Coincidently, some of the most stunning evidence in support of this concept of the unconscious is about to be explored, that of split or multiple personality (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002).<br />Eberhardt Gmelin reported a case he described as an "exchanged personality" in 1791. In Gmelin's case a young German woman often and rapidly exchanged her entire personality, mannerisms, speech cadence and accent. When existing in either state this patient denied any knowledge of the other identity. Today we refer to this as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Similar to our conceptualization of DID today, in Gmelin's time the disorder was seen as linked to a severe trauma resulting in the fracturing of the individual's personality. However, the totality of the separation and the completeness of the separate identities served as a stark demonstration of the mind's ability to harbor multiple complete identities (Tallis, 2002).. Gmelin’s description lent a great deal of credence to those who advocated for the unconscious as a hidden complete identity, able to exert its influence on the world (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). <br />The Dividing Line: Separating Conscious from Unconscious<br />Concurrent with the growing interest in the unconscious, attention focused on the line separating conscious from unconscious. Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841), for example, saw this threshold as a violent place where warring mental concepts fought for conscious recognition. In this view cognitions are given agency and energy, a view to be drawn upon again by Freud and Psychoanalysis. Also somewhat foreshadowing Psychoanalysis, Herbart's theory can be seen as the first description of the defense mechanism of repression where thoughts are actively pushed - by other warring thoughts - into the unconscious (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). <br />True scientific investigation of the threshold of awareness was first attempted by Gustav Fechner (1801-1887), indeed Fechner coined the term Psychophysics. He attempted to quantify the smallest intensity of a stimulus that can be perceived by the individual, a point he termed the absolute threshold. Fechner found a logarithmic relationship between the physical and subjective stimulus intensities, a relationship now referred to as Fechner's Law (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). <br />Building on Fechner’s work two American psychologists, Charles Peirce (1839-1914) and Joseph Jastrow (1863-1944), conducted a fascinating series of experiments focusing on differences in the magnitude of stimuli too small to be consciously perceived. Participants were given two weights that were almost identical and asked to determine which was heavier. The majority of subjects could not consciously discern which of the two weights was greater and were forced to offer their "best guess." Astonishingly, these "best guess" answers proved remarkably accurate, suggesting a subconscious perception of weight difference that affects conscious decision making without becoming conscious itself (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002)! <br />The Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries<br />In the late 19th century a philosopher and physician named Pierre Janet (1859-1947) was working at Jean Charcot's hospital in France with hysterical women when he discovered that patients left holding a pen would begin to write or draw spontaneously if their attention was focused elsewhere. Janet found that patients unable to express themselves verbally could be distracted and then simultaneously, through another medium, relate their story. Even more remarkable, Janet found that his patients heretofore blocked stories related to their hysterical conditions. Janet reasoned that if the source of his patients’ dysfunction lay in past memories then perhaps correcting or undoing these memories could be beneficial. As was common at the time, Janet began to hypnotize his patients and plant suggestions specifically related to resolving the buried conflict or trauma. Once the hypnotic suggestions were placed, Janet's patient's dysfunctions were no longer present. The procedure itself was not revolutionary as others had been engaging in this form of Mesmerism for some time; however, Janet's method of interview by distraction coupled with the direct linking of buried (presumably in the unconscious) memories to dysfunction was a significant leap forward (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002).<br />Psychoanalytic Models<br />The nature of advancement, philosophical or cultural, has been a source of debate. Are individuals the key components of this advancement or does it proceed as an unfeeling evolutionary force? Were it not for Einstein, Oppenheimer, and the others on the Manhattan project would we still have the A-Bomb or were those individuals needed? The advancement towards Freud's Psychoanalysis is another good case for debate on this issue. Freud was certainly aware of Janet's work (in fact he attended a lecture by Janet) but he was also conducting parallel work of his own in the field. The work of developing Psychoanalysis was certainly Freud's opus, the work of a lifetime. It is also arguably one of the most significant contributions to the study of human nature. Freud sought to outline a scientific theory of mind. He stated that since the limits of his time precluded biologic investigation, he would pursue a more philosophical approach. He drew on the work of others before him, such as those described above, and combined it with anthropological studies, reviews of literature and ancient mythology, as well as Darwin's theory of evolution. This yielded a complex and intricate theory of psychosexual development, a complete discussion of which is beyond the scope of this work. Integral to this theory, however, is an elaborate unconscious imbued with vast capacity and capability such that it ultimately holds more sway over the individual than the conscious mind. Freud's unconscious is the seat of the driving energies of life, energies that are engaged in a constant state of war with each other and the demands of the outside world. The outcome of this battle is an individual's whole personality, normal and abnormal functioning alike. Freud's emphasis on the role of the unconscious is such that his entire mode of therapy is devoted to accessing it in order to identify, and rectify what he sees as the source of all psychological abnormality (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002).<br />As was common in Freud's time, much of the development of his theory occurred in the context of gentlemen (women were not favored at the time in such meetings) meeting and casually discussing theory. In Freud's case these meeting became known as the Wednesday Psychological Society. The Wednesday Society eventually grew to an international phenomenon with meetings spread throughout many parts of the world. The individuals who frequented these meetings became Freud's close friends, disciples and in many cases something of turncoats. One such individual was Carl Jung (1875-1961), a neurologist who first met Freud in 1907. The two men connected immediately and their relationship quickly grew in intensity. Freud was known to label Jung his "heir apparent" (Tallis, 2002). Unfortunately, following the axiom that those that burn hottest burnout fastest their relationship eventually ended in mutual enmity. Jung went on to formulate his theory of analytical psychology one of the most successful post-Freudian analytic models. As with Freud's psychoanalysis, a full discussion of analytical psychology is beyond the reach of this paper. Important here is Jung's concept of the unconscious, arguably a vision even grander than that of Freud (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002).<br />Jung began to formulate his concept of the unconscious while still in medical school where he wrote his dissertation on a medium, Helen Smith. Jung reasoned that the personalities Smith manifested while entranced were actually projections from her unconscious. Interestingly, similar to others before him, Jung's concept of the unconscious did not become fully developed until he journeyed into his own. Jung experienced a period in his life of considerable mental illness; however, rather than fight the decent, he embraced it. He viewed the disturbances as communications from his unconscious and sought to understand them. Eventually Jung's concept of consciousness developed into a tri-layered model, proceeding top-down: consciousness, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The first two levels are similar to Freud's conceptualization with only minor differences. Jung's key departure is the collective unconscious which he describes as the unconscious of the entire species. Inserted between the collective unconscious and the personal unconscious is also a pseudo-layer of an ethnic unconscious. Although the collective unconscious is seen as Jung's major contribution to the unconscious, similar concepts can be found historically. The Romantics had their idea of a universal unconscious (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). Buddhists view individual consciousness as an illusion often described as a wave on the ocean where the ocean is the collective consciousness. Interestingly, the Jewish Kabbalistic tradition incorporates an idea referred to as Constriction wherein the Creator’s unadulterated presence (a largely inaccessible consciousness of sorts) exists at the base and through successive layers of constriction from reality allows the development of individual and distinct consciousnesses (Grim, 2009; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). <br />Mechanistic Views <br />Contemporaneous with Freud and Jung, but across the pond, John Watson was constructing his theory of behaviorism. Watson dismayed at the efforts to explain the mind with what he viewed as inherently non-testable theories. He felt that a true scientific theory of the mind should be based purely on observable facts. His theory of behaviorism was well received in America and has significantly influenced theory and patient care here, ultimately proving extremely effective in certain areas. Behaviorism as a theory, however, restricts itself to the directly observable. It is not possible to ever know what goes on in an individual’s thought process without asking them, and this is a source with built in biases. Therefore, pure behaviorism disavows any notion of the unconscious as unknowable and unnecessary. In the years that follow Watson, others will take up the mantle of behaviorism and broaden it to incorporate cognition birthing the theory of cognitive-behavioral psychology (Brewin, 1996; Grim, 2009; Hansen, 2008; Javel, 1999; Millon, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Tallis, 2002). <br />Cognitive behavioral psychology is highly influential and does incorporate a concept of the unconscious, albeit a mechanistic one. Unlike the concepts discussed so far, this unconscious is not a hidden mind, but more of a hidden processor. Sensations, perceptions and thoughts can exist below conscious awareness and certainly exert an influence on conscious activity and decision making, but this unconscious does not represent a complete hidden other self. In some respects this unconscious grew out of need, if all the information impinging on our senses and intellect were required to be in conscious awareness at all times individuals would be rendered to a constant state of inaction and indecision secondary to information overload. The distinction drawn by cognitive behavioral psychology between conscious and unconscious processes is a fluid one. Thoughts, feelings, behavior patterns, and knowledge can all flow back and forth across the boundary. Indeed, as just discussed, they must be able to flow back and forth to avoid overloading the consciousness. Moreover, this theory envisions a constant crosstalk between the two states (Brewin, 1996; Hansen, 2008; Javel, 1999). In recent years cognitive-behavioral theory has merged with neuroscience and several others theories to generate "wet-mind" theory which maintains its own idea of the unconscious. However, in order to fully appreciate wet-mind theory we must take a step back to an individual named Alan Turing.<br /> Turing (1912-1954) was a British mathematician who was instrumental in breaking the NAZI enigma codec. Prior to his work for the Allies, Turing proposed an algorithm for a device that could read instructions, carry out stepwise mathematical operations and store information. This was the first proposal for, what we today would call, a computer since Charles Babbage's unsuccessful attempt 100 years earlier ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM {"citationID":"l76vcg052","citationItems":[{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/3JG7T26N"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/QTE6SWV5"]}]} (Fishman, 2010; Grim, 2009). After the war Turing tried to pursue his work, however the British focused their efforts elsewhere. Turing's mantel was picked up and brought to fruition in America, where in 1946 ENIAC, the first digital computer, was brought online in Pennsylvania. Although the information technology revolution was destined to bloom largely in America, in 1950 Turing published an article in which he wondered "Can machines think?" (Tallis, 2002, p92). This set off a maelstrom of debate. If a computer, composed of insensate parts could produce consciousness, could the same be true of our illustrious minds? Might they simply be products of our brains and not entirely different "stuff" as Descartes had suggested? <br />The debate initiated by Turing’s article, combined with advances in understanding the underlying neurobiology of the brain, lead to a development of two schools of materialistic theory of mind. The first is an extreme materialism, where the mind is thought of as nothing more than a secretion of the brain, much like bile is of the liver. The second envisions the mind as an emergent property of the brain (or nervous system), something greater than, and distinct in kind, from its component parts. As with the cognitive theories that preceded them, both of these wet-mind theories view the unconscious as a mechanistic processor deeply entwined with consciousness but not as a hidden identity (Grim, 2009; Robinson, 1997; Page, 2009). Sadly, in what is surely one the saddest stories in this history, Turing did not live to see his ideas grow. He committed suicide in his 30s as a result of prosecution and persecution for his sexual orientation. <br />Current Conceptualizations and Concluding Thoughts<br />The debate surrounding the nature of the unconscious is not yet settled. There are still those who advocate for an active and capable hidden identity framework ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM {"citationID":"2njbd4bmqm","citationItems":[{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/9TMTCM6N"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/3NKRRI4K"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/SNG4JTX2"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/CXE5BQ8B"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/ZEH5DQI4"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/Z48277AZ"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/B2WGVX3M"]}]} (Anderson et al., 2004; Berlin & Koch, 2009; Geraerts et al., 2009; Geraerts & McNally, 2008; Geraerts, McNally, Jelicic, Merckelbach, & Raymaekers, 2008; O’Brien, 2011; Shahar, 2006), but there are also those who advocate for a mechanistic, process-oriented concept sometimes referred to as the nonconscious ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM {"citationID":"162vemmq6t","citationItems":[{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/3JG7T26N"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/74SZ94TC"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/N8HNUN5A"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/QTE6SWV5"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/BKMUFR55"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/38WBIPKT"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/II4KE5ZA"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/TZJB55VK"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/F23GQMR9"]},{"label":"page","uri":["http://zotero.org/users/178241/items/MCN3QA24"]}]} (Fishman, 2010; de Gelder, 2006; de Gelder & Tamietto, 2011; Grim, 2009; Kandel, Schwartz, & Jessell, 2000; Kihlstrom, 1987; Kosslyn & Koenig, 1995; Kouider & Dehaene, 2007; Loftus, 2004; Tamietto & de Gelder, 2010). Additionally, there are those who advocate against the hidden identity concept as a result of its apparent misuse in cases of recovered memories over the last several decades (Loftus, 2004). In any case, research into the nature of our minds both conscious and unconscious is an exciting area. New methodologies, such as functional imaging techniques, are for the first time offering real time insight into the neurological underpinnings of both conscious and unconscious thought. Work in complexity theory, research into artificial intelligence and computer science are starting to offer suggestions for workable neural network models able to account for some mental processes. These recent advances kindle fantastic ideas of one day accentuating or even transferring our own mental processes to other media. An idea both exciting and frightening, we have reached a technological point where the augmentation of human faculties with machines is a foreseeable occurrence. The term Singularity has been adapted from physics to describe the point at which we will accomplish this merger (Fishman, 2010). It should be noted, however, that in many ways these two views of unconscious are not exclusionary and may be seen as descriptors of the same phenomenon from distinct viewpoints. Complexity theory and emergence tell us that the whole may indeed be greater the sum of its parts. Aspects of the hidden identity concept of the unconscious may simply refine into macroscopic descriptions of the whole while neural networking models enable us to understand the component parts. For now though the debate over the nature of the unconscious and in broader terms the human mind continues.<br />References<br />Anderson, M. C., Ochsner, K. N., Kuhl, B., Cooper, J., Robertson, E., Gabrieli, S. W., Glover, G. H., et al. (2004). Neural Systems Underlying the Suppression of Unwanted Memories. Science, 303(5655), 232 -235. doi:10.1126/science.1089504<br />Berlin, H. 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