“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.” – Iris Murdoch
Daily Nugget of Gold 1353
Bizarre Nuances of the Subconscious Mind
Think about your mind and your body for a moment. Isn’t it amazing that we have such a keen sense of ownership that we feel over what is our body? If someone touches us, we feel that touch and respond to it almost instinctively. This makes sense, doesn’t it? Years ago, if a predator were to attempt to attack us, we’d want to be alert to it. Henrik Ehrsson, MD, PhD, has been studying the connection between mind and body for some time and through his research, he’s made some rather startling discoveries. We like to think of ourselves being in control of the subconscious mind, that’s probably ego-driven. His research throws that into question.
In one experiment, he has a test subject enter a room blindfolded and lay down on a mat. The blindfold is exchanged for a virtual reality type headset, next. The subject is asked to watch and remain still as the researcher gently strokes his leg with a probe. What the subject sees in the goggles isn’t his leg, but a dummy’s on an adjacent mat! The stroking is done at the same moment in time so within a minute or so- the participant’s brain links up what he sees and what he feels. Then the researcher introduces a knife the dummy’s leg and as you might imagine, the subject tenses up and flinches. Even after the subject figures out that the dummy’s leg isn’t his- he can’t override the nervous response whenever the knife is brought back.
In another experiment, Professor Ehrsson uses the same kind of equipment to have someone believe their body has become invisible, or has even switched with another person’s body. Once again- as soon as a connection is established on the subconscious level, it’s very difficult for the subjects to employ logic and begin assuming that they aren’t feeling or seeing interactions with their own body.
So what does all this mean? Our deeper mind was designed to incorporate our senses into how it arrives at the conclusions it makes. If the senses are fooled, we don’t have an easy time convincing ourselves that they were, in fact- it’s quite difficult. Go back to the discussion we had in our last two sessions about how a pickpocket can so easily convince us that we are not missing an item even when we were warned in advance that it might be taken from us. Intellectually, we get it, but our deeper mind may not be convinced. Dwell on that point until next time, we’ve got more to say on this subject and we think you will find it useful and fun.
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
“What can I do to verify that what my senses are telling me is real?”
Copyright 2015 Kevin Littleton, all rights reserved.