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Shine your own introspective light on the recesses of the subconscious and confront your Angst

Shine your own introspective light on the recesses of the subconscious and confront your Angst

We all find ourselves on the dark side from time to time. Our subconscious fears, frustrations and anger erupt over the rim of a repressed mountain, and the result is mayhem. I can’t even say that this is always the result of a clash of wills: I have moments when I become incredibly frustrated and angry with none other than myself.

The subconscious is one of the more interesting places on the psychological road map. Western medicine describes it as the seat of all that we avoid thinking about. It’s not just anger, fears and frustration that are deposited in the subconscious, but also desires and fantasies too skeletally disturbing to be allowed out of our individual closets: attraction to the same sex, a less than healthy love of a father, the Electra Complex, or the Oedipal love felt for a mother.

The Kahuna, a small group of Hawaiian spiritualist magicians describe the subconscious as a second being, one of two souls that inhabit our bodies. According to the Kahuna, these second souls intermingle with our conscious souls and nurture our material and spiritual destinies. Occasionally, the Kahuna say, this soul can even leave a body and wreak havoc in the form of poltergeist activity or the materialization of a curse.

Whatever you choose to believe, the conscious element of the psyche references the subconscious on an ongoing basis. So if you have a problem that you can’t let out, don’t expect it to go away too soon: it’s going to stick to you like chewing gum in hair on a hot summer afternoon.

I am not particularly good at handling conflicts. I am too big to allow my dark side free reign. The few experiences I had as a kid have probably stayed with me longer than the recipients of my ire, and I am sure I will feel pangs of regret till my dying day, even though throwing someone over a fence may qualify as a form of slapstick. I choose a path of reason, reconciliation and least resistance wherever possible.

On the other hand, you get people who positively thrive in the realm of the subconscious.

Fears, repressed desires and anger have a way of becoming fuel for the slow-burning fire of life. Yet the dark frustration is often partially directed at someone else. For instance, someone may have a subconscious fear that his shoes make him an object of ridicule. The result is that his shoes are obsessively kept gleaming, and that everyone around is expected to keep their own shoes in same condition.

In the shoe scenario, the person with the fear of embarrassing heels strives for security not just with his own shoes, but also by enforcing conformity on those around him, with his own vision of what is correct and safe.

In other words, a minor situation gets blown out of all proportion, and depending on the power and influence of the individual, it can become a social force and even a political system. Substitute more serious situations and you begin to see the true potential for disruption.

This is not a particularly offbeat scenario. A skilled therapist pointed out to me that the fault people see in others is more often than not a result of fear, related or unrelated, that people find within the realms of their own subconscious. However in exerting control and enforcing uniformity, the stress intensifies and the subconscious may well become a darker and more distorted place.

The probable antidote to this circumstance is to recognize the landmark elements of your own subconscious and confront them. Perhaps wearing silly shoes is not such a scary thing after all. Fashion stylists and rock musicians made platform boots immensely popular, even amongst timid people who stick to conservative lace-ups and slip-ons. It’s more difficult to look at it from someone else’s point of view, particularly when you are responding to the needs of your own subconscious, but the potential is there.

Like all dark places, the subconscious is only feared because we have difficulty seeing what lies ahead. Shine a light in there and the shadows begin to lose their fears.


About The Author

Pierre Maré

Pierre Maré is a multi-awarded Namibian advertising strategist and copy writer. From 2004 to 2016 he wrote a weekly tongue-in-cheek column for the Namibia Economist, eventually amassing an impressive 590 articles over the almost 12-year period. This series of Offbeat is a digital rerun of his pieces that received the highest reader acclaim. - Ed.