Conscious vs. the unconscious… or, is it subconscious? The purpose of this page is to provide some insight into the differences between those last two words.
There are a few schools of thoughts on what the unconscious, or the subconscious, actually is, and whether it is one or the other; although for most, they are referring to the same thing. What is usually agreed upon is that whether “unconscious” or “subconscious”, it is the thought process that goes on behind the scenes… when we’re sleeping; daydreaming; meditating; when our mind is focused on something else, but other thoughts are at work out of our awareness. Many times, we use this process when trying to work through a difficult, confusing, or complicated issue; we set it aside and concentrate on other things, only to find out that our “other” mind has solved the problem, come up with a decision, supplied an answer, or just given us insight we didn’t know we had, all while we applied no conscious thought to it. It can also be a tremendous resource when it comes to artistic and creative endeavors.
As both psychologists and philosophers began to approach this aspect of our natures, differing views arose as to how it functions. The term “subconscious” didn’t gain popularity in learned writings until the 1870s, but for many in modern day, it is the more familiar.
I have my own definitions of conscious, unconscious and/or subconscious as it relates to my art, my creativity, and my reality. Some use the word subconscious rather than unconscious. When it comes to which word I prefer, I choose not to use the word subconscious as subconscious implies a linear reality: above and below. Reality is much larger than just a line which implies only a two-dimensional world. Reality, at its base, is three dimensional with even more dimensions when including the emotions, the mind, the spiritual, and death and time. Everything is either conscious or unconscious. Consciousness comes out of the unconscious. The unconscious is the foundation of all things conscious. In my art, I combine ideas that were manifested in a non-thinking way (out of the unconscious) with consciously created ideas. I let the unconscious subjects manifest from whatever medium I am using, be it pencil and paper, or a lump of clay and my hands. As I stated earlier, I combine some of these conscious and unconscious ideas that were produced at different times and sometimes on different days into a finished piece. It is a union of opposites (conscious/unconscious) that come together and manifest into a whole. Of course, it is a never ending process, this business of creation.
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