When one hears that something is ‘a tip of the iceberg’, one just assumes that what is being talked about has some form of complexity and then one moves on. That statement: ‘a tip of the iceberg’ has become so cliché that the real import of it is lost in many conversations. Methinks it is because not many people have actually seen an iceberg before (I have not as well but have tried to see images). The seeming confusion is added to by the usual connotation for the word ‘tip’. When one says: ‘the tip of something’, that ‘tip’ is usually a very small part of the whole object. However, when you talk about ‘a tip of the iceberg’, that ‘tip’ approaches a titanic dimension.
If you’re wondering what led to this long tirade about a simple statement, wonder no longer. The first statement in this note should have been: What you know (see, feel and touch) about yourself is just a tip of the iceberg called YOU. The fact is, only one-tenth of an iceberg is visible above the waters of the ocean. The remaining nine-tenths is submerged beneath the surface. What however brought about the statement ‘a tip of the iceberg’ (I suspect) is that that tip is a huge mass of ice that could be three or more stories tall. So one can imagine the remnant buried below the surface. So the important information here lies in how ‘big’ what one knows about oneself.
All what one is able to feel about oneself is very small compared to ALL one is comprised. All that one is able to palpate tangibly and confine to the region of the senses belongs to an area administered by the conscious mind. The other, and much larger one, an area that is yet to be tracked down to x, y, z coordinates by everyone who has tried is administered by the subconscious mind. This subconscious mind along with its powers is the focus of this blog. This is however not an attempt to define or describe in detail the dynamics of this phenomenon called the subconscious mind. How does one graphically describe air?
Consider the following scenarios: an adult that usually sleeps on one side of a large bed and wakes up on the other side oriented in the opposite direction to how he slept (Kung-fu bedynamics) would sleep on a very thin bed and not fall out (children may, but I’ll explain later). Consider how one blinks just before an object (one that previously unseen) hits the eyeball. Consider how an arts expert is suddenly able to recognise an artwork as fake even without having to meticulously scrutinise it? Consider how a police officer who has been on the homicide beat for a long time justs always gets a hunch that cracks the case? In many instances, neither the arts expert nor the police officer can tell how they arrived at their deductions, they lay it down at the feet of ‘gut-feeling’.
Gut-feeling. It is probably appropriate to say that the only way the effect of the subconscious mind can be identified in a very busy and if-you-can-touch-it world is through ‘gut-feeling’. Gut-feeling itself has no tangible description. It’s like nausea: that feeling one gets prior to vomiting. Do you know you wouldn’t have ‘captured’ nausea as a concept if you’ve never had to throw up on a number of occasions? That’s the same thing with describing gut-feeling.
The subconscious mind has its own system of analysing things and bringing the finished analysis to just under the table. It collects information independently. Suffice to say here that the eyes see much more than the brain can remember and so also the ears, tongue, nose and skin perceive much more than the brain analyses consciously. For example: when you touch someone’s skin, you may feel warmth or cold, softness or hardness depending on why you touched. The subconscious mind however records everything that can be perceived about that individual through that touch including but not restricted to: anxiety, stability, balance, heat, softness, confidence etc. It processes all the info and brings the result of the analysis to just under the surface. Herein it is perceived as ‘gut-feeling’.
Let it be said here that gut-feeling is a highly specific phenomenon. I would not go to an arts museum and wait expectantly for one ‘gut-feeling’ about the works of art thereat. A police officer with a reputation for solving crimes CANNOT have a gut-feeling about the diagnosis of someone’s complex ailment. Neither can a doctor have a gut-feeling about how to bake an award-winning cake. Gut-feeling and the ability to recognise it comes with a certain degree of ‘wiring’ through intuition but intensified by training and experience.
Children may not have their subconsciousness well-developed to the point of ‘auto-pilot’ grade and so laymen as well may not have gut-feeling about things they have not been ‘wired’ for.
We humans have placed too much value on the ‘tip’ of the iceberg to the detriment of our survival skills. Things that we should do effortlessly, relying on that subconscious auto-pilot that GOD has placed inside of us, have been relegated to vestigial levels. Do you know that humans are the only ‘animals’ that have to learn to swim? Throw a rat into a body of water and it will swim, a dog as well, even a cat. None of these animals need ever have been into water before. That ability to swim resides in everyone of us, even in you! Don’t look back, I’m talking to YOU! There are many skills left unattended to and lying latent within us. There are many books unwritten, many heights unattained, many cakes unbaked, many songs unpenned, many fires unlit.
We can put our subconscious mind into more use. But this would require discipline and commitment. The four Roman virtues are: Virtus, Gravitas, Pietas and Dignitas but for this blog the greatest is gravitas: to be deep, weighty, having a deep sense of duty. It means not being superficial.
The subconscious mind has been sending you messages. It’s time to enter that submarine and lie deep. As it is said: “The way up is down.”