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Edit: The woman in the thumbnail is Sophia, the Gnostic Goddess of Wisdom! – we’ve been asked tons of times!

The subconscious mind


Let’s have a little look into the realm of the subconscious, now just for clarity I’m a Jungian so that means that I believe in a collective unconscious, it’s pan individual, a psychic structure that connects us all.  This also makes me a dualist as I believe from my own personal experience that mind is fundamentally different to matter, you need both mind and matter in order to have an experience of anything, both are needed like the poles of a magnet, north and south the lack of one makes the other immediately meaningless.


Carl Jung, born Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who made significant contributions to the fields of psychology, psychotherapy, and analytical psychology. He is considered one of the most influential figures in the development of modern psychology.


Jung initially trained as a psychiatrist under Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. However, Jung’s ideas diverged from Freud’s, and he eventually developed his own school of psychology known as analytical psychology.


One of Jung’s central concepts is the collective unconscious, a reservoir of shared, universal psychological patterns and archetypes that are inherited and common to all human beings. He believed that the collective unconscious manifests in myths, symbols, and dreams, and that it influences our thoughts, behaviours, and experiences.


Jung also introduced the idea of individuation, which refers to the process of psychological integration and self-realisation. He emphasised the importance of exploring and integrating the different aspects of one’s personality, including the unconscious, to achieve wholeness and personal growth.


Another notable contribution by Jung is his work on psychological types. He developed the concept of introversion and extroversion as fundamental personality orientations and proposed a framework of psychological functions (thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition) through which individuals perceive and process information.


Jung’s approach to therapy, known as analytical psychology, focuses on exploring the unconscious aspects of the psyche, understanding symbolic meaning, and facilitating individuation. Dream analysis, active imagination, and the use of symbolism are key elements in this therapeutic approach.


Carl Jung’s ideas have had a lasting impact not only in the field of psychology but also in various disciplines such as literature, art, and spirituality. His theories continue to be studied and applied by psychologists, therapists, and individuals seeking personal growth and self-understanding.


I’m also a mystic, I seek God for God’s own sake, it’s God or nothing, and I’m telling you this because I suspect that Carl Jung was the same, he was arguably a mystic.  I’m putting myself out there so that you can get to know me, Comicus Muo, one of the stand up philosophers who create content for this channel, our websites and books, not to mention print on demand Tee shirts and so on, because I’ve gained the sense that people who listen to us, or read our work are looking for something genuinely authentic.  Thanks to the work of Carl Jung I’ve learned to listen to my gut feeling over the years and develop my sense of intuition.  This has become even more important than ever in this world of chat-gpt and generative AI which is why I’ve tried as much as possible to include my own experience of real life and how it influenced my pursuit of wisdom and helped form my philosophy.  I am not a robot!


I’m a modern-day stoic, I have the soul of an ancient roman who finds himself in a modern world.  The world is rough place and I’m often not prepared enough for it but thankfully the teachings of our ancestors from the Graeco-Roman world make an easy-to-understand guide to how we should behave in the midst of unpredictable chaos.  That’s what wisdom is.  That’s the stoic understanding of wisdom, the ability to make the best choice, at the best time and make the best of whatever circumstances happen to come our way.  Let me make this abundantly clear, life is at once a spiritual project, as well as a psychic and materialist one.  We have body, mind and soul, the human form, the psyche and the divine spark that animates it all.  I can already feel the materialists out there recoiling in shock, but you have to speak as you find.  If you are interested, I’ll let you know my reasons for thinking this and my direct experiences of spooky stuff in other videos, just hit me up in the comments below and if there’s enough demand, I’ll do my best.


So let me return to stoicism, in modernity most people just think that it’s a philosophy that is somehow or other hyper rational, but that’s not true.  In the ancient world there was also a well-developed spiritual discipline attached to it that allowed it to slot in well with Roman cultural life.  The gods existed, they were interested in human affairs, and everything that existed had a purpose it was ordained by the gods, who being the expression of the logos saw to it that everything had a place and best served the collective by fulfilling its role.


Horses were created by the gods to be ridden by men, people were slaves because that was the way that the gods ordained it, whilst others were kings like Marcus Aurelius, and each had to do their part so that society as a whole would continue to flourish.  The point being that philosophy is all about living a good life, religion is the correct preparation for the afterlife, should you believe that one exists of course!  You can be a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist stoic, stoicism focuses heavily on the pursuit of virtue making it compatible with all such virtue religions.


Most of life is beyond our control, most of the events that happen to us occur seemingly out of nowhere.  It’s unpredictable from the moment we get out of bed in the morning, to the moment that we get back into it in the evening.


There’s great comfort to be had in things staying the same because that makes life predictable.  All of civilisation is an attempt to create order out of chaos, an attempt to ensure that tomorrow is more or less the same as today and that’s something that has worked brilliantly for mankind.  That’s the triumph of human civilisation.  That’s why stoics support the state and tend to be conservative in their politics, stoic’s rarely, if ever want to see violent revolution take place because such things create chaos, breed even more political dissent whilst at the same time leaving death, destruction and suffering in their wake.  Stoics tend to be politically engaged and when things are going wrong prefer to use democratic methods to change bad leaders.  This doesn’t mean that we’re pacifists who refuse to fight, only that it must be our last resort, because as Marcus Aurelius famously said:


“We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Every life lost on the battlefield is one less pair of hands that could be used in the present to build a future that is marginally better than the past.  We’re not utopians, we understand full well that there will never be a perfect society but that doesn’t stop us using our divine gifts of reason and empathy to try and build one.  If we succeed it’s better than failure, if we fail it’s better than not trying at all, at least we tried to do something of benefit to our fellow travellers along the road of life.  Which brings me on to the following quotation from Theodore Roosevelt:


‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”



While it is unclear whether Roosevelt was directly influenced by Stoic writings or philosophers, his character, values, and political philosophy display parallels with certain Stoic teachings. His emphasis on self-discipline, resilience, and the pursuit of virtue resonates with core Stoic principles, even if he did not explicitly identify as a Stoic or engage extensively with Stoic texts.  As always, we take from all that we find to be good.  The best future is always the product of slow incremental gains in the present, that’s true for both the individual and society at large making the choices that we take each and every day to be very important, so how do we know what is good.


The answer lies in learning that there’s three paths to wisdom.


Frequently in life we hurt ourselves, this direct and painful path to wisdom is akin to falling over a log.  Then there’s the secondary path in which we discover from others that logs are potentially dangerous, so we resolve to be careful around them.  This is a good source of wisdom.  Finally, we can imagine what might happen should we happen to go near any loose logs.  This is the best form of wisdom because we can imagine what it is to be hurt without suffering harm and neither does anybody else have to experience discomfort for our learnings.  So, the development of wisdom requires active imagination, the ability to be creative in our approach to problem solving as well as a willingness to research the answers of others in addition to trying things out for ourselves.


“Virtue is not simply theoretical knowledge, but it is practical application as well…So a man who wishes to become good not only must be thoroughly familiar with the precepts which are conducive to virtue but must also be earnest and zealous in applying these principles.”

-Musonius Rufus


In modernity there’s YouTube, the local library, the vast resources of the internet at large making it easy for us to get the distilled knowledge of the finest minds in history at the touch of a button, if you need to fix a car engine, YouTube is for you, likewise if you can download a book about fixing engines and read it, so much the better, it will increase your chances of doing a good job before you even pick up a spanner and try it for yourself.


Then there’s the type of esoteric knowledge that comes to you in other ways, through sublime moments of inspiration, usually in the gap between thoughts.  You might be working hard on a fiendishly difficult problem or unsure of the best path to take in life.  The egoic sense of self or conscious mind is all out of options, the rational faculty is butting up against the world of gut feeling, anxieties and a lack of confidence making it impossible for you to choose the right path, the right solution because all are equally rational or have the potential for equal benefit.  In which case, we choose the solution that produces the most virtue.  If it’s still not clear, then never fear, the subconscious is near.   Just mentally turn it over to the subconscious mind and ask it for guidance.


Let me give you an example, I know a young lady who told her mother recently that she didn’t know what she wanted to do in life, she was studying in college, had lost sight of the reasons why, wasn’t enjoying the degree course and as such she felt a little bit lost.  Like many young people she didn’t know where to turn or what to do, but the subconscious mind kept on showing her an image of her wearing a business suit, high heels and in an important office position, so she decided to stick it out and complete the degree.  That’s the superego using the language of fantasy to coax her into being her best self, showing her an image of a possible future that she can work towards in the present moment.


If you want to grow in wisdom and to understand yourself fully, to live an examined life because as Socrates famously said, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living,’ then you need to acquaint yourself with your subconscious mind.


At first glance the subconscious mind seems like a roiling ocean or a teeming jungle, we’re like pith helmeted Victorian explorers sitting in the dark rainforest with only a lamp to cast any light, wherever we shine it we see creepy crawlies, dense vegetation, moisture, humidity and the occasional tiger, so we must psychoanalyse ourselves and find out what these symbols mean and listen to our feelings, to interrogate our own consciousness by mentally saying to ourselves whatever it is that we think they mean whilst suspending any judgement, write them down if you can, draw pictures, doodle, do whatever you have to shine that lantern and bring them into consciousness.


We’ve included this quote in previous podcasts, but it’s so good, let’s do it again:


“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

― C.G. Jung


The point is that whether you see the tiger or not, or even understand that you are in a jungle of sorts is irrelevant, until you make the unconscious conscious you will not know your motivations or the reasons why you’ve turned away from something that on the face of it should be good, whilst at the same time have seemingly chosen the wrong path and made a bad decision.  The examined life results in wisdom, the life that you need to examine is your own first and foremost with a little help from the finest people to have ever talked, written, or recorded anything on this subject.  Learn from the best, the internet is your friend in this.  Check out some of our other videos in the psychology playlist for more information if you are looking for a good place to start.


The subconscious mind is often depicted as an iceberg, with the conscious part of it being visible above the waterline, meanwhile the vast bulk of the iceberg that brings with it all of its motive force, the part that moves in response to the unseen ocean currents is below the waterline and just as unseen.


The freudian/jungian model of the mind
The freudian/jungian model of the mind


It’s in the unconscious that the archetypes live, these are primordial symbols that vary from place to place, culture to culture but nevertheless are the same, for example, I recently dreamt that I was walking along a street with a group of friends, a beautiful owl flew overhead at which point one member of the group took out a rifle and shot it.  I wasn’t happy with this, but it had happened anyway, I watched, saddened, disappointed by my friends’ actions and in shock as the owl fell onto a nearby rooftop, we then had to get a broom to move it of the roof, I once again watched slack jawed as it fell into a neighbour’s garden.


Upon awakening I thought about the dream and understood the owl to be a symbol of wisdom, the wise old owl was shot dead by a foolish companion who didn’t realise or even care to think that his actions might be harmful.  That’s the risk you take with friendship, an unwise friend might destroy the pursuit of wisdom for you, it’s best to choose your friends wisely.  Bad friendships, undoubtedly cause harm, as do bad relationships.  When seeking advice, it’s worth bearing in mind that your friends might not know any more about the things that trouble you than you do.  The pursuit of wisdom and virtue requires that you learn from the best.  When you read a book, listen to a podcast or watch a video, those people become your peers, they influence your mind and shape you into the person that you will next become, so it’s best to pick the wisest and best in history, so that your thinking is shaped by the wisest and the best.  That means that in time you too will become one of the wisest and the best and be better qualified to help your friends, your family, your community or even your country.  It helps tremendously if we have a rich understanding of the subconscious mind.  The jungle of the archetypes, the realm of gods and monsters, none of which I should add are any danger to you, quite the opposite in fact, by facing your demons head on you transform them into loving angels who stand ready to help you whenever you need them.  So lets take a look at the aspects of the mind that you need to know most intimately.


Jung’s theory of mind is an important framework in analytical psychology that explores the structure and dynamics of the human psyche. According to Carl Jung, the mind consists of various interconnected components or aspects that work together to shape an individual’s personality and behaviour. Here are the four primary aspects of the mind as described by Jung:


  • Persona: The persona represents the social mask or the public face that an individual presents to the world. It is the image or role we adopt to fit into society and fulfil societal expectations. The persona is influenced by cultural and societal norms and can vary from person to person. It is a necessary aspect of the psyche for social interaction, but it can also lead to the suppression or neglect of one’s true self.


  • Shadow: The shadow represents the unconscious or hidden aspects of an individual’s personality. It consists of repressed or disowned thoughts, feelings, desires, and impulses that are considered unacceptable or incompatible with one’s self-image. The shadow is not necessarily negative but contains both positive and negative elements. It often manifests in dreams, projections onto others, or sudden emotional outbursts. Integrating and understanding the shadow is an essential part of personal growth and individuation.


  • Anima/Animus: The anima is the feminine aspect of the male psyche, while the animus is the masculine aspect of the female psyche. They represent the unconscious archetypal images of the opposite gender within an individual. Anima and animus influence our attitudes, emotions, and relationships with the opposite sex. They play a crucial role in achieving psychological balance and integration.


  • Self: The self represents the central organizing principle of the psyche and encompasses the totality of an individual’s conscious and unconscious aspects. It represents the striving for wholeness, individuation, and the integration of all other aspects of the mind. The self is a transcendent and guiding force, representing the striving for unity and completeness.


Jung believed that the process of individuation involves exploring and integrating these aspects of the mind to achieve psychological wholeness and a deeper understanding of oneself. It involves bringing the unconscious contents into consciousness, reconciling contradictions, and establishing a harmonious relationship between different aspects of the psyche.


So, the next question becomes how do I get guidance from the subconscious mind?


In general practice, and it’s important to note that these techniques may vary in effectiveness for different individuals.  Jungian psychiatrists and psychoanalysts often recommend Active Imagination, Meditation and Mindfulness, Dream Journaling, creative expression and Hypnosis or Self-Hypnosis.  Now, for legal reasons I need to point out that I am not a doctor, this is my own learnings that I’m putting out there on YouTube in order to be helpful.  My interest is as a lay person and for my own benefit and I hope that is the same for you, if that is not the case then speak to a professional as soon as you can, the guidance of which will be invaluable, because just like in the example of dream journaling mentioned earlier on, I might inadvertently shoot down your owl and hamper your discovery of wisdom and I for one would hate that to be the case.


So, what is Active Imagination: This technique, developed by Carl Jung, involves engaging in a dialogue with the subconscious mind through active imagination. Find a quiet and comfortable space, close your eyes, and allow your mind to freely generate images, thoughts, and feelings. Engage in a conversation with these inner experiences, asking questions and listening for responses. The key is to maintain an open and receptive state of mind.


Then there’s Meditation and Mindfulness: Regular meditation and mindfulness practices can help quiet the conscious mind and create a receptive state for communication with the subconscious. Through focused breathing and observing your thoughts and sensations without judgment, you can access deeper layers of consciousness. During or after meditation, pose specific questions or intentions to your subconscious mind, and remain open to any insights or intuitions that arise.


Next, we have Dream Journaling: Keep a dream journal by your bedside and write down your dreams immediately upon waking. Dreams often contain symbolic messages from the subconscious. Review your dream journal regularly to identify recurring themes, symbols, or emotions that may offer guidance or insights into your unconscious mind.


Then there’s Creative Expression: Engage in creative activities such as painting, writing, or playing music. These activities can bypass the rational mind and tap into the subconscious realm, allowing for the expression of deeper emotions and insights. Pay attention to the ideas, inspirations, and symbols that arise during the creative process, as they may hold valuable guidance.


Hypnosis or Self-Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a method that induces a trance-like state of heightened suggestibility, allowing access to the subconscious mind. You can seek out a qualified hypnotherapist or learn self-hypnosis techniques to communicate directly with your subconscious and request guidance.  Again, a professional practitioner is best!


Remember that the subconscious mind communicates in its own unique language, often through symbols, emotions, intuition, and subtle nudges. Be patient, open, and attentive to the signs, synchronicities, and inner wisdom that may emerge. Trust your instincts and the process of connecting with your subconscious, as it can provide valuable insights and guidance for personal growth and self-discovery.


A synchro-what you may ask?


A Jungian synchronicity refers to a meaningful coincidence or an acausal connection between inner and outer events that cannot be explained by conventional cause-and-effect relationships. The concept of synchronicity was introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who believed that certain events or experiences in our lives may carry deeper significance and reflect the interconnectedness of the psyche and the external world.  For example, the very same day after the dream about the owl, I spoke with a lady who told me that an Owl was nesting in her back garden!  That’s a synchronicity, that I personally take to mean that I’m on the right path, although they might mean something else to you.


According to Jung, synchronicities occur when there is a meaningful correspondence between an individual’s inner psychological state and an external event, object, or occurrence. These synchronistic events often involve archetypal symbols or themes that resonate with the individual’s personal unconscious and reflect a deeper psychological or spiritual truth.


Synchronicities are not mere coincidences or random occurrences. They are marked by a sense of resonance, significance, or a feeling of “meaningful coincidence” that goes beyond statistical probability. They can serve as powerful messages or guideposts in our personal journeys, offering insights, confirming intuitions, or pointing us towards certain paths or opportunities.


Jung suggested that synchronicities are a manifestation of the collective unconscious, a shared realm of archetypal images and patterns that underlie human experiences. They can serve as bridges between the conscious and unconscious realms, offering glimpses into the hidden workings of the psyche and the interconnectedness of all things.


Engaging with synchronicities involves cultivating awareness, openness, and a willingness to recognise and interpret the symbolic messages they carry. Keeping a journal to record and reflect upon synchronistic events, dreams, or meaningful coincidences can help deepen one’s understanding of the personal and archetypal patterns at play.


It’s important to note that synchronicities are subjective experiences, and their interpretation ultimately depends on the individual’s own unique context, beliefs, and psychological state. They offer a way to explore the mystery and interconnectedness of life, inviting a broader perspective that transcends conventional notions of causality.


About Post Author

Comicus Muo

Comicus Muo loves dualism, Existentialism, Nihilism, Absurdism and a plethora of helpful philosophies from the ancient world such as Stoicism, not to mention a healthy dose of Cynicism. Comicus is also a reasonable theist, atheistic in his thinking but also a Mystic, spiritual rather than religious and keenly aware that it's the Judaeo-Christian heritage of the west and it's enlightenment values that allow him to be this way.
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