You are not alone. Someone else is inside of you. And they’re watching your every move.
Subconscious, unconscious, or non-conscious; Id or archetype. There is a giant chunk of iceberg adrift beneath the waterline. While attached to you (the “you” that is your conscious awareness), it is out-of-sight and largely out-of-reach, lurking around down there, not saying much. It is not doing much, other than gathering up all of your traumatic memories, worst fears, and impulsive desires to spring on you when you least expect it. Some roommate, right? You’re up there going to work every day, doing chores around the house, paying taxes, and facing the world. It’s down there… doing what?
What if it’s looking at you, wondering how you got it so easy? Or maybe it’s wondering why you get to have all of the fun.
An enormous portion of cognitive activity is non-conscious. Figuratively speaking, it could be 99 percent; we probably will never know precisely how much is outside awareness.
This was how Emanuel Donchin, a prominent researcher in cognitive psychology, puts it. He is saying that you are only putting in about one percent of the effort while your subconscious is really keeping the whole ship afloat. He is saying that there are countless activities being seamlessly orchestrated behind the scenes that each require mental coordination, yet you have no conscious say in them.
Let’s say you decide to go for a jog, and then you go jogging. There are “big ticket” decisions that you consciously direct, such as dressing for the jog, stretching, choice of music, and finally, putting one foot in front of the other upon a determined course. Making these decisions is only the first step in a litany of underlying activities that actually bring them to life. You think, “That way! Jog!” Your subconscious thinks, “Neural impulses in the motor cortex and secondary motor cortices targeting the major and minor skeletal muscles of the legs, feet, arms, and core. Modification of heart rate and breath. Engage premotor cortex to convert sensory guidance into an actionable foot-placement objective for the motor cortex to execute. Blink every so often.” And all of this for only the first stride. Then, a tire squeals to your left and your head rapidly pivots to view the possible threat. Right. That happens before you can consciously “decide” to turn and look. It’s your subconscious watching your back. Oh, and it’s time to start sweating. You have to maintain a safe body temperature!