'Not' Learning

The subconscious mind does not distinguish between positives and negatives. For instance, if a person was to hear that the Pope is not a pedophile, the subconscious is going to put 'Pope' and 'pedophile' together and miss the 'not'. 'Not' has no meaning to the subconscious. It does not exist. It is not real. The subconscious cannot picture something that has no reality, no existence, no substance. How does any mind conscious or subconscious picture a 'not mountain' without thinking? The thinking mind, the conscious mind, will start the process of determining what a 'not mountain' might be, turn it into a positive image of some sort and then picture a flat landscape. But the subconscious mind cannot think rationally and so cannot do this and so will simply see a mountain.

This has enormous ramifications because if you are to teach a child what to do and you frame it in what they should not do, you are very likely going to put the opposite of what you want in that child's subconscious mind; what you don't want. Yet the child, after thinking, will have a rational understanding in their conscious mind of what you do want. So the subconscious will be driving counter to the conscious mind. They are at odds with each other and can even be at war with each other.


The conscious mind has been likened to a Ferrari; very flash and able to zip around, twist and turn and all at high speed. The subconscious mind has been likened to a bulldozer. Slow to move, cumbersome, yet immovable from its chosen course. Not at all impressive compared to the conscious 'Ferrari' mind. However if you were to witness a head to head contest between them as to which would prevail over the other, which would you put your money on?

There will be damage to the conscious mind.
Neuroses, at the very least, and psychoses being very real possibilities.

neurosis, neuroses (pl)
n : a mental or personality disturbance not attributable to any known neurological or organic dysfunction

psychosis, psychoses (pl)
n : any severe mental disorder in which contact with reality is lost or highly distorted

Now imagine a religion that teaches children through negatives;
Thou Shalt Not....Covet ... Steal ... Kill

Then imagine a nation using this religious teaching as its model for behaviour and social and political policies; a nation that builds structures such as legal, police, military and educational bureaucracies, designed and administered by these same children some years later in adulthood. Will this nation engage in behaviours, nationally and internationally, that are destructive of mental health; that are neurotic and/or psychotic?

Will damage follow as night follows day?


Ah, McJ!

Just the person! Would you be able to fix up the sizing of the pics in this post pour moi? Ferrari bigger and the other two smaller?

McJ's picture


I was just fixing it for you. laughing out loud

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

McJ's picture

Working on the other one.

Working on the other one. smiling

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

McJ's picture

And as strangeness would

And as strangeness would have it. I was just reading this article while you were posting this....all that unconscious conditioning perhaps. smiling

Brain shuts off in response to healer's prayer
WHEN we fall under the spell of a charismatic figure, areas of the brain responsible for scepticism and vigilance become less active. That's the finding of a study which looked at people's response to prayers spoken by someone purportedly possessing divine healing powers.

To identify the brain processes underlying the influence of charismatic individuals, Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and colleagues turned to Pentecostal Christians, who believe that some people have divinely inspired powers of healing, wisdom and prophecy.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Schjødt and his colleagues scanned the brains of 20 Pentecostalists and 20 non-believers while playing them recorded prayers. The volunteers were told that six of the prayers were read by a non-Christian, six by an ordinary Christian and six by a healer. In fact, all were read by ordinary Christians.

Only in the devout volunteers did the brain activity monitored by the researchers change in response to the prayers. Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian (Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsq023).

Schjødt says that this explains why certain individuals can gain influence over others, and concludes that their ability to do so depends heavily on preconceived notions of their authority and trustworthiness.

It's not clear whether the results extend beyond religious leaders, but Schjødt speculates that brain regions may be deactivated in a similar way in response to doctors, parents and politicians.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

Rational mind

Amazing coincidence, McJ. Another one!!! Yes, the rational filters are switched off. It would be to do with trust, I'm sure. I'd be very interested if they repeated these experiments on teevee viewers.

McJ's picture

Great minds think alike. A

Great minds think alike. laughing out loud

A teevee story for you. You'll be horrified I know, I know. sticking out tongue

My husband has been home, laid off for the last 4 months. He got two free movie packages for a month from the cable company. So wanting to get his 'monies worth' he has been watching movies all day (actually he reads books and has movies on in the background.) Needless to say it drives me crazy so I when I'm around I do what I can to avoid having to watch. sick! Now, in the normal course of our days I will watch the occasional movie or documentary and I know that there is violence in the movies however this experience has been a bit of mind blower for me. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that every time I glance at that screen there is some kind of violent image on it. I keep thinking, it is no fucking wonder we go to war a the drop of a hat, our unconscious minds are so filled with violent images we think this is the natural order of things.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

You'd think ....

You'd think people would be more aware of what is going on, but it seems not. We are physically what we eat and how we use or bodies (or not!). That's it! This determines our physical state.
And mentally, we are exactly the same. It's what we allow ourselves to ingest and how we exercise our minds (or not!). This determines our mental state

We wouldn't eat garbage. So why do we watch and listen to it?

Lovely job on the pics, McJ. Thank you very much, indeed.

McJ's picture

Your Welcome.

Your Welcome. smiling

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

newjesustimes's picture

Thank you both

for the articles, and pictures - they really help get the point across... something to go dream about now smiling

Reminds me of Milgram

This topic, where the brain shuts off, reminds me of the conversation on this blog about:

"The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley ..."

Which in turn reminds me of Julian Jaynes' book on the bicameral mind.

"Julian Jaynes (February 27, 1920 – November 21, 1997) was an American psychologist, best known for his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976), in which he argued that ancient peoples did not access consciousness (did not possess an introspective mind-space), but instead had their behavior directed by auditory hallucinations, which they interpreted as the voice of their chief, king, or the gods. Jaynes argued that the change from this mode of thinking (which he called the bicameral mind) to consciousness (construed as self-identification of interior mental states) occurred over a period of centuries about three thousand years ago and was based on the development of metaphorical language and the emergence of writing."

The cause of the breakdown of the bicameral mind was, apparently, a series of disasters that caused mass migrations which pitted followers of one 'god' against another and this made their brains boil over and consciousness was what splattered on the walls. (my poetic license).

I figure this authority figure in both Milgram and the prayer phenomena could be what's left over from the 'gods' of the bicameral mind.

More reading!!

Hiya, ICG . You've now sent me off to do (ever)more reading smiling

More reading.

I think you would enjoy the Julian Jaynes book. He irked some of his fellow academics by publishing it outside the normal academic route. It is a radical idea but he writes very well and backs up his claims. I found it to be a real page-turner.

Jaynes' book sounds

Jaynes' book sounds fascinating. It's in the research section of my library as is "Reflections on the dawn of conciousness: Julian Jaynes's bicameral mind theory revisited" edited by Marcel Kuijsten (2007). Do you know of it, ICG?

I have this idea that our concept of consciousness (our awareness of our awareness!) is largely the product of our intellectualizing which in turn has been greatly stimulated by our attempts to integrate our conscious and subconscious minds where they are in conflict which, in turn, has come about through "the development of metaphorical language and the emergence of writing" to quote wikipedia. And that is a result of the development of "civilisation" and the attendant hierarchies which inevitably are based on lies and the teaching of concepts in the negative. So it becomes kind of circular. Spiritual commentaries, such as the Talmud, are great examples of this.

Tribal or "uncivilized" peoples who did not have to think in this way. They always thought in the positive because they dealt with nitty gritty reality every day and so did not develop the skill for intellectualisation. But then, they had no need to as they did not have conflicted minds and have to deal with the attendant neuroses.

Anyway, I think I'm with Ned Block. But we'll see. Whatever, it sounds like a 'must read'. Thanks, ICG

Jayne's book sounds

No, I haven't heard of it until now. Now I have more reading to do.

McJ's picture

Hello ICG

Hello ICG - glad to see you back. smiling
If memory serves me, the last time you were here you were embarking on a project to read the old testament - another one of them page turners I imagine. laughing out loud
Thanks for the info and the new word. It sounds interesting.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

Hello McJ

I pick it up every so often, but I haven't finished it. The 'problem' is I read it and it sends me off on 'research assignments'. Though I must admit I put it down a number of times because I was blaming it for just about everything under the sun. ( i detect a potential joke in that last sentence somewhere)

It took a long time to write the OT, so taking a long time to read it seems OK.

I pop in anonymously every so often to see what's up. I haven't finished all of James' economic writings yet either!

McJ's picture


"i detect a potential joke in that last sentence somewhere"
laughing out loud I'm sure there is - I'll work on it and get back to you if I can think of a good one.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson


I keep thinking, it is no fucking wonder we go to war a the drop of a hat, our unconscious minds are so filled with violent images we think this is the natural order of things.

Then the Pentagon must be very pleased with all the violent video games that are filling kid's minds with images of how psychotics deal with life's stresses and problems.

the clickable link


Exactly, Greg (welcome btw). No opportunity is missed, it seems, to present violence as the answer to any problem.
And the video games get the kids to act it out in their minds with no messy consequences for them to clean up. Or for someone else to clean up who just might point out to the child that this doesn't work; that the only thing that comes from violence is more violence and no one escapes its consequences.

McJ's picture

Welcome Greg. It's telling

Welcome Greg.

It's telling that the armed forces use video games to train their soldiers for combat. And with the new drone and robot technologies the soldiers don't even need to be there for the violence and killing. Even though the subconscious mind may have been conditioned to violence we still have the conscious mind (our conscience) to override it. Although as James pointed out the bulldozer is likely going to win that battle in the long run. With the advent of video game technology it seems to me, not only is it conditioning the sub conscious mind, it is a way to condition the conscious mind to accept the violence (as entertainment - fun and games).

Another conditioning of note is the glorification of the modern day anti-hero. The 'Dirty Harry' character, that takes the law into his/her own hands dispensing 'justice' and restoring order through the use of violence. As a society we have come to accept this type of character as being one of the 'good guys', a savior of sorts, necessary to 'keep the peace" - violence then means peace (law and order).

Thanks for the link to your blog. I liked your post - thumbs up! Now, if we could only implement some of your suggestions. smiling

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

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