Difference Between Subconscious Unconscious

What triggers our reactions to present-day situations?

Blue indicates link

Our emotions, the fight, or flight response. That certain smell, a song, or a familiar scene, does it take you back to something that happened in your past? I know it does for me. I am living in the present, but my past does influence me as to how I approach certain situations.

Conscious vs Subconscious

Certain studies have shown, that while we are fully aware of what is going on in the conscious mind, we have no idea of what information is stored in the unconscious mind.


The ability to remember experiences or learned information, involving advanced mental processes such as learning, retention, recall, and recognition

Repressed memories are memories that have been unconsciously blocked due to the memory being associated with a high level of stress or trauma. The theory postulates that even though the individual cannot recall the memory, it may still be affecting them consciously and that these memories can emerge later into the consciousness. Ideas on repressed memory hiding trauma from awareness were an important part of Sigmund Freud’s early work on psychoanalysis.


I have read pages upon pages to see what, or if there is a difference between your memories and your subconscious mind.

The Mind Stages

The subconscious begins to develop from the day you are born, while memories start to develop at later stages in life where you start to make conscious decisions. The subconscious contains all sorts of significant and disturbing material that we need to keep out of awareness because they are too threatening to acknowledge fully.

The subconscious mind acts as a repository, a ‘cauldron’ of primitive wishes and impulses kept at bay and mediated by the pre-conscious area. For example, Freud (1915) found that some events and desires were often too frightening or painful for his patients to acknowledge, and believed such information was locked away in the subconscious mind. This can happen through the process of repression.

The subconscious mind contains our biologically based instincts (eros and Thanatos) for the primitive urges for sex and aggression (Freud, 1915). Freud argued that our primitive urges often do not reach consciousness because they are unacceptable to our rational, conscious selves. People have developed a range of defense mechanisms (such as repression) to avoid knowing what their unconscious motives and feelings are.

Freud (1915) emphasized the importance of the subconscious mind, and a primary assumption of Freudian theory is that the subconscious mind governs behavior to a greater degree than people suspect. Indeed, the goal of psychoanalysis is to reveal the use of such defense mechanisms and thus make the unconscious conscious.

Freud believed that the influences of the unconscious reveal themselves in a variety of ways, including dreams, and slips of the tongue, now popularly known as ‘Freudian slips’. Freud (1920) gave an example of such a slip when a British Member of Parliament referred to a colleague with whom he was irritated as ‘the honorable member from Hell’ instead of from Hull.

Critical Evaluation:

Initially, psychology was skeptical regarding the idea of mental processes operating at an unconscious level. To other psychologists determined to be scientific in their approach (e.g. behaviorists), the concept of the unconscious mind has proved a source of considerable frustration because it defies objective description, and is extremely difficult to objectively test or measure.

However, the gap between psychology and psychoanalysis has narrowed, and the notion of the unconscious is now an important focus of psychology. For example, cognitive psychology has identified unconscious processes, such as procedural memory (Tulving, 1972), and automatic processing (Bargh & Chartrand, 1999; Stroop, 1935), and social psychology has shown the importance of implicit processing (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). Such empirical findings have demonstrated the role of unconscious processes in human behavior.

However, empirical research in psychology has revealed the limits of the Freudian theory of the unconscious mind, and the modern notion of an ‘adaptive unconscious’ (Wilson, 2004) is not the same as the psychoanalytic one.

Indeed, Freud (1915) underestimated the importance of the unconscious, and in terms of the iceberg analogy, there is a much larger portion of the mind under the water. The mind operates most efficiently by relegating a significant degree of high-level, sophisticated processing to the unconscious.

Whereas Freud (1915) viewed the unconscious as a single entity, psychology now understands the mind to comprise a collection of modules that have evolved over time and operate outside of consciousness.

For example, universal grammar (Chomsky, 1972) is an unconscious language processor that lets us decide whether a sentence is correctly formed. Separate from this module is our ability to recognize faces quickly and efficiently, thus illustrating how unconscious modules operate independently.

Finally, while Freud believed that primitive urges remained unconscious to protect individuals from experiencing anxiety, the modern view of the adaptive unconscious is that most information processing resides outside of consciousness for reasons of efficiency, rather than repression (Wilson, 2004).

Sigmund Freud didn’t exactly invent the idea of the conscious versus unconscious mind, but he certainly was responsible for making it popular and this was one of his main contributions to psychology.

Freud (1900, 1905) developed a topographical model of the mind, whereby he described the features of the mind’s structure and function. Freud used the analogy of an iceberg to describe the three levels of the mind.

Freud (1915) described the conscious mind, which consists of all the mental processes of which we are aware, and this is seen as the tip of the iceberg. For example, you may be feeling thirsty at this moment and decide to get a drink.

The precociousness contains thoughts and feelings that a person is not currently aware of, but which can easily be brought to consciousness (1924). It exists just below the level of consciousness, before the unconscious mind. The precociousness is like a mental waiting room, in which thoughts remain until they ‘succeed in attracting the eye of the conscious’

This is what we mean in our everyday usage of the word available memory. For example, you are presently not thinking about your mobile telephone number, but now it is mentioned you can recall it with ease.

Mild emotional experiences may be in the precociousness but sometimes traumatic and powerful negative emotions are repressed and hence not available in the precociousness.

Finally, the unconscious mind comprises mental processes that are inaccessible to consciousness but that influence judgment, feelings, or behavior (Wilson, 2002).

According to Freud (1915), the unconscious mind is the primary source of human behavior. Like an iceberg, the most important part of the mind is the part you cannot see.

Our feelings, motives, and decisions are actually powerfully influenced by our experiences and stored in the unconscious.

Freud applied these three systems to his structure of the personality, or psyche – the id, ego, and superego. Here the id is regarded as entirely unconscious whilst the ego and superego have conscious, precociousness, and unconscious aspects.

The most important thing you need to know about the subconscious mind is that it is always “on”. That is, it is active day and night, regardless of what you are doing. The subconscious mind controls your body. You cannot hear this silent inner process with your conscious effort. You need to start taking care of your subconscious mind. It is vital to maintain your mind in a state of expectation of only good events and make the usual mode of thinking based solely on loyalty, justice, and love.

The problems with the subconscious are connected to our outlook on life:

The human subconscious has been an area of mystical postulation during man’s scholarly existence. Its power, ability to surprise, cruelty, violence, and love have upset many scholars. Frequent attempts have been made to evade this entire subject. Even the first and foremost guide to our insight into the subconscious, Carl Gustav Jung, was frightened by its power. The same fear is manifest in modern shamanism: an imaginary voyage into the realm of the subconscious appears as a frightening option to a number of sensitive individuals.

One of the obvious fears is that of becoming and remaining a prisoner of psychosis. Aboriginal people have a more definite view of the subconscious phenomena. This clarity appears to have been connected to the fact that mythical tradition gave them a key to the domain of the subconscious and traveling in it. For them, it was a well-known reality.

They called it the world of the spirits and gods. The power and effect of grandparents and great-grandparents were seen as spirits of them. For us, in turn, our science poses a problem, as it cannot free itself from its tradition and venture to an open, unbiased encounter with the human mind.

In psychology and psychiatry, understanding subconscious phenomena has often been regarded as something close to impossible. Hence, great numbers of individuals suffering from mental health are being kept as inmates of mental institutions, fully occupied by their imaginary worlds. Nobody seems to understand their life and imagination.

Obviously, the lack of understanding mainly derives from the fact that even professional helpers appear to have lost their contact with mythical tradition. On the other hand, there are numerous sensitive and able therapists, who are capable of learning to interpret anyone’s subconscious messages. This ability will develop readily in the subconscious mind of such a therapist, only he or she allows it to happen.

Apparently, the greatest difficulty lies in the fact that few therapists are really prepared for an open encounter with a client in the sense that they become wholly present in the client’s world. Instead, they tend to cling to their sensibility and analytical mind. While using this approach, they are not fully present to the client emotionally. Full presence is love, sharing feelings, and some kind of spiritual atmosphere with another person.

The therapeutic skills of a responsive therapist are ’telepathic’ in nature. On the emotional level, he understands the client’s feelings and the language he uses in expressing them. This, however, calls for forgetting oneself and entering into the client’s world using the ’memory’ of the whole of mankind infused in his body.

Basically, all humans share this ability. More often than not, it is courage that fails. A therapist who fears insanity lacks the courage to enter into a world that he experiences as frightening and threatening. A client who has been badly ’wounded’ (traumatized) in the psyche, however, needs support from a fellow traveler to be able to face the mythical world of his subconscious mind.

The subconscious is man’s most sacred and rich mental deposit, his treasury. However, this mental realm appears frightening, threatening, and destructive as long as its images and visions are foreign to one. Man’s body is his anchor to the outside world. Whenever the subconscious images are frightening, uncontrollable monsters, they have been imposed there by other people. As a rule, they are emotions transferred from father, mother, or other ’near and dear’ ones; emotions that the individual as a child was not capable of giving shape to.

His own experience of the world was at least partly different from that of his parents. It is in this discrepancy that the world of foreign powers, in the shape of scary monsters, comes into being in the child’s subconscious mind. In earlier times, these powers were regarded as demons or evil spirits possessing a person and were therefore exorcised, i.e. by special rituals forced to leave the mind.

In that we have alienated ourselves from the domain of mythical characters, the world of fairy tales, legends, and myths, we have come to miss the ability to get rid of these foreign images. The process of getting rid of means facing the monsters and fiends by means given in mythical tradition. In its genuine and unadulterated form, this tradition provides one with strong powers of helping and supporting images.

With these powers in his support, an individual can move in the world of the spirits, like the shamans of the aboriginal peoples. In that world, the demons – possessing spirits – can be met and let go. In dreams, the dreamer is doing the same work of a long tradition. He faces his inner demons and releases them from their ’duties’. Thereby peace is brought into his ’inner garden’, allowing admittance only to the good spirits, those of love and peace, who guide his journey in the world of his emotions.

The therapist’s task is to set off with the client on a journey into the frightening world of the subconscious. To survive from day to day, a fearful person needs a confidant(e) from the outside to help him or her analyze the subconscious experience. In the earlier world, the shaman or the magi behaved in this job. Jointly, they can learn a more fearless and clarified way of meeting the erroneous imps molesting the mind. This gives more room to the true layers of the soul, one’s genuine spiritual existence.

Our subconscious consists of a reservoir of all emotions and sensations experienced in our lives up to the present. Any experience that we might have will always be interpreted within the limits set by a given outlook. The subconscious is a field of understanding that we have not become conscious of; a field giving rise to the meanings that we attach to things.

Yet, it is a field that has not taken clear shape, at least not clear enough to become a part of our conscious understanding. Unclear and vague emotional charges can survive ’half-conscious’ only in the form of a myth or tale. We can tell stories about those emotions and experiences with the help of them.

Without a sensible and meaningful connection, an experience cannot be sensed as an ’experience proper’, but turns into a vague sensation of anxiety. The child develops his ’emotional body’ through the mediation of his mother where the mother helps him to ’analyze’ his unpleasant and oppressive feelings through her experiences, i.e. the child witnesses his mother’s reaction to them.

Often when the child is distressed, he watches his mother’s eyes to grasp what the matter is. In case the mother is emotionally responsive to the child, she is able to – often subconsciously, sometimes consciously – communicate to the child in such a way as to help him connect the new experience to the existing emotional reservoir.

This is how certain experiential patterns of reaction, common to a family – even ’running in a family’, so to speak, are established. And this is why these social patterns can originate from generations upon generations ago. The family understands and appreciates its inherited social patterns within the folklore of the prevailing culture.

That is why emotional experiences can be transferred from parent to offspring in a narrated form. Through family folklore, a child becomes a partaker in the common ’family mythology’. He realizes his experiences to be a part of human life.

The subconscious as unconscious bodily relations:

Subconscious mind quote

Since the emotional body is gradually accumulated as experienced relationships, it is unresponsive to the passage of time. It simply immortalizes everything and is hence capable of recollecting the whole past. If a person is taken back to the past – by means of hypnosis, for example – his personal life story becomes retrievable, in other words, it can be called back to his remembrance.

In fact, there is some evidence suggesting that even future experiences could be in this way retrieved into the conscious mind. This is enabled by the special facility of our emotional body to record all our experiences as a continuing life story.

A dream may, for instance, bring to the fore a hotel room No. 16, which an intuitive interpretation will refer to a memory of something significant having occurred at the age of 16. It is in this way that a dream or story stops the flow of time at a figure signaling a particular occasion. The ’law’ of connections is based on associations. This can start for example as a chain: hotel room number 16 -in own room at age 16 – mother approaching interrupting the first kiss.

It seems that the timelessness of the subconscious carries immense importance to us. It frees man from the chains of time, rendering him an eternal being. In the world of the subconscious, any instant of time will be transformed into the present. The ability of recollection is thus rendered timeless and unrestricted.

All the past is present in the form of experiences. If a person is by hypnosis brought back to an upsetting experience, which can now be felt like a real bodily sensation, it may give rise to a tremendous shock. The shock itself, however, is no part of his present reality. It is a thing of the past and upsetting only to the self of that particular time. In short, when the time difference (distance between now and then) is eliminated by hypnosis, a shock may result.

The subconscious consists of sensations and experiences. Man’s existence, which is always related to his environment is, in this view, extended to existence in, or rather, responsiveness to, the past, and even the future. Our past life lives on in our present life in the guise of sensations, airs, and ‘atmospheres’, so to speak.

These sensations can be retrieved into the consciousness by calling forth, intensely enough, the past situation to which they are connected. Being a human individual means existence in constant relationships with the surrounding reality, things, and beings, into which the personal history, and experiences, will add the dimension of time-relatedness, which is but one way of experiencing reality.

What is essential is to try to understand the special nature of the past recorded in the brain. A human being is inseparable from his environment. At any given moment, he exists, lives, and experiences only as an integrated part of it. It is seldom, in fact, that he is actually aware of watching the world that he lives in.

His existence is of world-watching; indeed, he is of world-watching. Moving open-eyed in that world, he is a part of it, and therefore his awareness can be equated with it. Equally, seldom, he is in himself, even by means of his thoughts.

Thus, if he is, he is also then in himself only as a part of his true self. A human being is his way of being bodily, and not a ’given package’ within his body. Also, the concept of inter-activeness is illusory. A person is not first within his own self and then starts to affect his environment in order to meet with a response from it.

Or let the environment first influence him, and then start to affect it, in turn. The very term ’interaction’ is an illusion created by scholars and researchers. Man’s fundamental existence is being in relation to everything. In his subconscious mind, man exists all the time in everything.

Man’s memory is also in a certain way, in a relationship that never ceases. His waking consciousness is an attempt to localize in time and place, and thus only a small part of his total memory. Through mythical tradition, a family’s collective experiences can be recorded in its memory. Memory and subconscious are collective in essence.

When I return to the neighborhood of my childhood, I can suddenly observe that my old sensations with their related images and sights are there, present to me through my five senses. This memory is fully alive to me. I can see myself running around and playing in the yard of a home.

Things from the past are present as pictures, images, airs, and ‘atmospheres’. They can be relived with the help of a story, fairy tale, and myth. They can be restored into the conscious mind, and be re-experienced by ’casting a spell’, ’invoking’, and ’conjuring up’ a situation from the past. Such an ’invocation’ can be represented on the physical level simply by a word, expression, or touch on a part of the body.

The methods of working on the human mind used by aboriginal people are still viable to modern man. By speaking, imagining situations, and showing objects the revival, and re-invocation of powers from the past is equally viable as it has always been.

So, memory is based on associative connections. Storytelling and dreaming are letting those associations come to mind. To remember a certain situation is at the same time remembering the other things that happened there.

An emotional bond turns into a possessing spirit:

The subconscious goes beyond the confines of time and place. It has the same features as the domain of gods among aboriginal people. The subconscious world resides in eternity. Everything within it merely is. They are relationships and connections. The nature within us is the same as the one without. By way of comparison, a brook coming down the mountainside is not counting moments or days, all it does is run.

That a person puts the past off his awareness does not mean that it no longer exists for him. Man’s way of recording things and relations is to remain in constant relations with his surroundings. This interrelatedness can, by several means, be activated in the brain layers producing consciousness. In a dream, our whole past is readily available to us. In this lies the ageless wisdom of dream.

Something, however, happens to the earlier experience; it is converted over a period. This conversion seems to be controlled by the emotional bindings of the experience. If, for example, the experience has been repressed into oblivion because of its upsetting nature or some other similar reason, it is as if it somehow gains extra energy of attachment; it turns into a foreign power possessing the person. In this way, the experiences of the old gain a ’new lease of life’, and start living a life of their own, irrespective of their ’ career’.

In this process, reality is turned into a realm in which mythical tradition is given the frightening name of ’underworld’, the threatening domain of the spirits of our ancestors, the abode of gods. This underworld, however, can also be an abode of peace and tranquility, without any possessing spirits. The language of the myth has also termed the subconscious as an ocean with a ruler, the subconscious powers are churning on its dominion.

The spirit of the dead is mightier than that of the living:

Students and scholars of religions past and present are familiar with the fact that religious founders and leaders will become much more important after their death than they ever were during their lives. This stereotypical pattern is connected to our subconscious reality. If either parent dies, the children will very lovingly treasure his or her memory and hold it in high esteem.

That memory, or spirit, will then turn invisible and remain so since there is no other person in their reality on whom to reflect that spirit. In present scientific culture, he cannot be seen or heard of, or in any other way rendered ’open to senses’, available and experience-able to our senses.

His shadow, ghost, will, therefore, become ubiquitous: he is seen as a ghost or phantom, and his power increases in proportion with the increasing awe shown to him by the people. It is here, in facing the awesome dead that the myths and rituals of aboriginal peoples – as well as our dreams – will help. In our dreams, we, fortunately enough, encounter ghosts.

Connection to another person by subconscious associations:

An individual will always grow up as a member of a family. Without the presence of an adult, he will not grow into integrated adulthood. The experiential performances of archetypal patterns are common to all members of a community. This makes it possible to share things. By joining in communion the spiritual reality of a community, each member can attain a world common to all of them. The alienation and isolation that have bothered them will disappear.

There is the risk, however, of becoming detached from one’s personal bodily experience. Quite often, religions create conceptual systems that have become too distant from individual experience. The defenders of faith tend to negate and invalidate all sensual experiences. Any followers who show such a tendency will obviously not so readily comply with their striving or the interests of power and control exercised by their leaders and conservative supporters.

Freud’s Subconscious Mind:

Your subconscious is the storage point for any recent memories needed for quick recall, such as your telephone number or the name of a person you just met. It also holds current information that you use every day, such as your current recurring thoughts, behavior patterns, habits, and feelings.

The workhorse of the mind/body experience Freud’s subconscious mind serves as the mind’s random access memory (RAM). “Thus the unconscious mind can be seen as the source of dreams and automatic thoughts (those that appear without any apparent cause), the repository of forgotten memories (that may still be accessible to consciousness at some later time), and the locus of implicit knowledge (the things that we have learned so well that we do them without thinking).”

Freud’s Unconscious Mind:

The unconscious mind is where all of our memories and experiences reside. These are those memories that have been repressed through trauma and those that have simply been consciously forgotten and are no longer important to us (automatic thoughts). It’s from these memories and experiences that our beliefs, habits, and behaviors are formed.

A review of the earlier illustration shows the unconscious, sitting a layer deeper in the mind under the subconscious. Although the subconscious and unconscious have direct links to each other and deal with similar things, the unconscious mind is really the cellar, the underground library if you like, of all your memories, habits, and behaviors. It is the storehouse of all your deep-seated emotions that have been programmed since birth.

Freud’s psychoanalytic theory teaches that it is here, in the unconscious mind that necessary change can occur through the use of psychoanalysis.

How Your Subconscious Mind Controls Your Behavior:

Scientists have known for decades that the subconscious (or unconscious) mind is more powerful than the conscious mind. Some of them even suggested that if you could access and control your subconscious mind, doing extraordinary things, such as telekinesis would be like a walk in the park.

In the popular documentary “What the Bleep Do We Know”, Dr. Joe Dispenza states that a healthy human brain can process 400 billion bits of information per second. However, we are only conscious of about 2,000 of those 400 billion bits of information. In simpler terms, he is telling you that most of the information on reality is processed by your unconscious mind.

The main reason why your subconscious mind processes most of the information about your environment is that your conscious mind isn’t powerful enough to process all the information of reality. If your conscious mind tries to process a billion bits of information at once, you will see or experience things that would make your life very chaotic.

This is why your subconscious mind translates most of the information so that it can filter out unnecessary things. This allows you to experience life in a way that makes sense to you.

Since the unconscious mind is more powerful than the conscious mind, could it influence your behavior? Some psychologists believe this is possible and they have actually done experiments to prove their theory.

One of the most popular psychologists is Sigmund Freud. His theory of the structures of the mind is the most well-known. Freud separated the mind into three parts, the id, the ego, and the superego. Freud believed that most of our emotions, beliefs, and impulses were buried in our subconscious mind, which he referred to it as the id.

Because of his belief, he considered the id to be the main drive for our behaviors and personalities. Freud tends to see the subconscious mind and ego as scary and chaotic, which is still widely accepted in modern psychology.

The unconscious mind and ego are part of who you are because they are parts of your identity. When you become fearful of them, it makes it easier for them to control your behavior. The ego is a part of your mind that loves to control you. It’s always living in a state of fear due to its belief that it needs to fight against you for survival.

As a result, it will lie and deceive you, so that it can stay in control. If you want to stop the ego from controlling you, you need to learn how to integrate the ego with other identities of your mind, so that the ego doesn’t feel so lonely and separated. One of the first steps to calm your ego’s controlling behavior is to stop fearing it and accept it as a part of you.

Behaviors that arise from the unconscious mind are very effective at influencing how you behave, which is why advertising companies are obsessed with subliminal messages. These types of messages were created by advertising agencies for the purpose of reprogramming your unconscious mind so that they can influence how you think.

If subliminal messages didn’t work, do you think they would waste millions of dollars per year on them? Since the unconscious mind plays a big role in how you behave and experience reality, if you want to have more control over your life, learn to acknowledge it instead of fear it. By doing this, it will help you become aware of your unconscious compulsive behaviors, making it easier for you to control them.

How to Control Your Subconscious Mind

Practicing Positively

1) Practice positive self-talk. Replace your negative self-talk with affirmations. Shifting your language will alter your mindset and override negative subconscious actions and thoughts. Replace “I can’t do this!” with “I can do this!” Instead of saying “I fail at everything!” exclaim “I will succeed!” If you catch yourself slipping back into negative self-talk, pause and take a deep breath. Consider why you are telling yourself you won’t succeed.

Identify the factors that caused you to become negative. Note that these factors are triggers and recommit to affirming yourself.

  • This shift in your language won’t happen overnight. It takes time and consistency. Remain positive as you work toward ridding yourself of negative subconscious expectations and behaviors.

2) Craft a positive mantra. When anxiety or stress arises, calm your nerves, and quell negative thoughts by repeating a personally crafted mantra. Consistent use of the mantra will subdue negative thoughts and actions that arise from your subconscious mind. Identify your negative thoughts and accept that your self-judgment is unfounded.

Create a healing mantra by identifying the opposite of your self-judgmental claim. Craft two additional mantras that express the same idea; use them interchangeably. Select a spot in your body to ground the positivism. The spot could be your heart or your stomach. Place your hand on the spot as you repeat the mantra. Focus on the action and swell with confidence.

  • If you feel that you are never good enough, your mantras would be “I am good enough,” “I am worthy,” and “I am worth it.”

3) Practice visualization. Visualizing, or mentally rehearsing, the achievement of your goals is a wonderful way to engage with and train your subconscious mind. Start with visualization exercises that only require you to utilize one to two of your senses. Try to visualize every detail of a photograph or a familiar object. As you master this, work towards visualizing entire scenes of movies or memories. Note the sounds, smells, colors, textures, and tastes.

When you acquire the ability to focus and accurately depict details, begin visualizing yourself achieving your goals. It is essential that you visualize yourself as realistic as possible. Don’t dwell on the negatives or envision yourself failing but visualize yourself succeeding and achieving your goal! For example, if you are visualizing yourself giving a speech, picture yourself recovering from a stutter or a skipped sentence instead of moving the crowd to their feet.

  • Visualize specific goals. Be specific about what it is that you want to achieve. Identify the location, time, and circumstances of your success. Go into as much detail as possible!
  • Don’t envision yourself as superhuman; instead, imagine yourself as you really are.

There Is No Such Thing as Conscious Thought:

Philosopher Peter Carruthers insists that conscious thought, judgment, and volition are illusions. They arise from processes of which we are forever unaware. In an excerpt from his book, book Peter Carruthers states the following:

I believe that the whole idea of conscious thought is an error. I came to this conclusion by following the implications of the two of the main theories of consciousness. The first is what is called the Global Workplace Theory, which is associated with neuroscientists Stanislas Dehaene and Bernard Baars.

Their theory states that to be considered conscious a mental state must be among the contents of working memory (the “user interface” of our minds) and thereby be available to other mental functions, such as decision-making and verbalization. Accordingly, conscious states are those that are “globally broadcast,” so to speak.

The alternative view, proposed by Michael Graziano, David Rosenthal, and others, holds that conscious mental states are simply those that you know of, that you are directly aware of in a way that doesn’t require you to interpret yourself. You do not have to read your own mind to know of them.

Now, whichever view you adopt, it turns out that thoughts such as decisions and judgments should not be considered to be conscious. They are not accessible in working memory, nor are we directly aware of them. We merely have what I call “the illusion of immediacy”—the false impression that we know our thoughts directly.

The Stages of Life. Subconscious and conscious, Memories are formed built, and stored for later recollection.

Life Stages

Infancy (Ages 0-3): Vitality – The infant is a vibrant and seemingly unlimited source of energy. Babies thus represent the inner dynamo of humanity, ever fueling the fires of the human life cycle with new channels of psychic power.

  1. Early Childhood (Ages 3-6): Playfulness – When young children play, they recreate the world anew. They take what is and combine it with what is possible to fashion events that have never been seen before in the history of the world. As such, they embody the principle of innovation and transformation that underlies every single creative act that has occurred in the course of civilization.
  2. Middle Childhood (Ages 6-8): Imagination – In middle childhood, the sense of an inner subjective self develops for the first time, and this self is alive with images taken in from the outer world and brought up from the depths of the unconscious. This image serves as a source of creative inspiration in later life for artists, writers, scientists, and anyone else who finds their days and nights enriched for having nurtured a deep inner life.
  3. Late Childhood (Ages 9-11): Ingenuity – Older children have acquired a wide range of social and technical skills that enable them to come up with marvelous strategies and inventive solutions for dealing with the increasing pressures that society places on them. This principle of ingenuity lives on in that part of ourselves that seeks new ways to solve practical problems and cope with everyday responsibilities.
  4. Adolescence (Ages 12-20): Passion – The biological event of puberty unleashes a powerful set of changes in the adolescent body that reflect in a teenager’s sexual, emotional, cultural, and/or spiritual passion. Adolescence passion thus represents a significant touchstone for anyone who is seeking to reconnect with their deepest inner zeal for life.
  5. Early Adulthood (Ages 20-35): Enterprise – It takes enterprise for young adults to accomplish their many responsibilities, including finding a home and mate, establishing a family or circle of friends, and/or getting a good job. This principle of the enterprise thus serves us at any stage of life when we need to go out into the world and make our mark.
  6. Midlife (Ages 35-50): Contemplation – After many years in young adulthood of following society’s scripts for creating a life, people in midlife often take a break from worldly responsibilities to reflect upon the deeper meaning of their lives, the better to forge ahead with new understanding. This element of contemplation represents an important resource that we can all draw upon to deepen and enrich our lives at any age.
  7. Mature Adulthood (Ages 50-80): Benevolence – Those in mature adulthood have raised families, established themselves in their work-life, and become contributors to the betterment of society through volunteerism, mentorships, and other forms of philanthropy. All humanity benefits from their benevolence. Moreover, we all can learn from their example to give more of ourselves to others.
  8. Late Adulthood (Age 80+): Wisdom – Those with long lives have acquired a rich repository of experiences that they can use to help guide others. Elders thus represent the source of wisdom that exists in each of us, helping us to avoid the mistakes of the past while reaping the benefits of life’s lessons.
  9. Death & Dying: Life – Those in our lives who are dying, or who have died, teach us about the value of living. They remind us not to take our lives for granted, but to live each moment of life to its fullest, and to remember that our own small lives form a part of a greater whole.


When I started writing this article, I thought it would be pretty much basic information. When it comes to the mind I now know there is no such thing as basic. How do we act or react to situations? Are they based on our experiences? The statement, “Every day is a new day”. It most certainly is, but do we live this new day with sub-conscious decisions, to the different and or similar situations from our subconscious past?

If at some time in your past you felt rejection, does this cause you fear to build relationships? Applying for a job, and being told you do not meet the requirements, does this cause you doubt, or does it encourage you to learn about the requirements required to get that job? A car accident from years ago, a traumatic experience a girl or boy saying no I do not want to go on a date with you, these past encounters do they cause you to fear in your present-day life.

The Subconscious mind

How does your subconscious affect you? What can you do to overcome this?

I hope somewhere I have given you a feeling of strength to leave the traumatic past as history and move on to newer a better conscious today.

Best wishes,


Your comments are welcome.

8 thoughts on “Difference Between Subconscious Unconscious”

  1. Hi Michael, thank you for sharing this post on the subconscious mind. I am really amazed and intrigue by this topic as it is. I never thought for once that our past experience that may have been forgotten or not remembered (subconscious as you called it) has a way of affecting us. This really wows me…

    • Hi Shifts,

      Thank you for your comments. There is so much more we have to discover about the subconscious and conscious mind and the interaction with everyday living.

      Best wishes,


  2. What a great article.  Your orderly and exhaustive overview of the subconscious is amazing.  We talk about the subconscious quite a bit, often in relation to blaming a unwanted or expected action on it.  I often wonder if our long past family history has a part in our subconscious more than just events and circumstances of our lifespan.  Are we possessors but ignorers of an accumulated body of knowledge back through our ancestors.  I appreciate the breakdown of the subconscious that you offered.  I have spent much of my life working with cognitively impaired individuals.  I have offed wondering if the relationship between the conscious and subconscious changes as our intellectual capacity for learning and interpreting the world around us change.  Thanks for the article.

    • Hi Anastazja,

      Thank you for your comments. The theories amaze and the links to the subconscious and conscious mind are still to be explored. I sometimes wonder how some autistic people where they may be lacking in one part excel in other parts as far as their talent and certain parts of intelligence.

      Best wishes,


  3. We could call unconscious mind the human SSD drive – Well, all those gigabytes of knowledge must be stored somewhere & that very well can be substantial part of it.
    Hehe, & I really like it how you illustrate the concious vs subconscious mind at the beginning of your article. Just a tip of the iceberg, eh?
    The way most people are trapped in habits, auto-piloting through their daily chores day in, day out is a good indication of the power of subconscious mind. That piled on, pre-programmed knowledge to help us walk down the chosen path without a second thought.
    Preconciousness a ka mental waiting room is a new concept for me.
    It’s wonderful how psychology has come a long way, however I have the audacity to say that it’s only the same aforementioned tip of iceberg that we’ve discovered.
    To support my claim, the other day I was studying histrionic disorder – A subsection of anti social behaviour & to my amazement it’s only a tiny, vague segment of a much larger cluster that we don’t even have names for yet.
    This is only a one good example how vast our minds are.
    Would love to see a day where science & spirituality can somewhat merge to create a new frontier.
    I’m more of a science man myself, however with all due respect, in my opinion academic minds with their empirical thinking are shooting themselves into foot, denying themselves another dose of infinite knowledge that’s free to grab & lying right under their noses.

    • Hi Henry,

      Thank you for your comments.

      The 10 percent of the brain myth is a widely perpetuated myth, (Wikipedia). I do believe that there are some that have tapped into the un-activated 90% of the brain. I did a post on the pineal gland and an association to what is called the third eye. It is said that we can use this third eye for extra creative aspects to brain power. It is very popular in India, and you may see east Indians having that dot on there forehead. Also it is said to be present on the top of the Pyramid on the American dollar.

      Best wishes,




  4. Wow, I think you have enough for four or five posts in here. I have had mental health challenges for most of my adult life and I’ve found that William Glasser’s Choice Theory has been very useful. It actually is quite a different approach to what you’re saying here about the subconscious mind, but I will always believe that there is more than one way to address any challenge and some ways work better for some people while different approaches work better for others. I also have a strong interest in spiritual matters which Glasser does not address but I have found that in my day to day experience if I concentrate on meeting my needs I am at my best. Congratulations on all the work you have poured into this site. Very impressive 🙂 Deb


Leave a Comment

Follow by Email