Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Subroutine for the Subconscious

I woke up yesterday morning, just before the alarm went off, and the strangest words formed on my lips. “I hate life.” Strange words, since I most certainly do NOT hate life. I love life. True, I despise many aspects of life on this planet, such as the senseless slaughter of millions so that power hungry psychopaths can attempt to achieve their goals.

I was not particularly excited about going to work, that is a given, but that is no reason to hate life. I can just think about that good and lovely money and all the good and lovely things I will do with it, such as finish buying my way out of bondage and jump start my next adventure.

The subconscious is stupid. It believes everything. It can’t discern sarcasm, and takes everything everyone says to heart. It’s true. Millions upon millions have been spent in efforts to learn how to bypass your conscious mind to get right to that stupid subconscious. SRI and Rand have put plenty of brainpower behind the science.

I will give an easy example. If you live in the US, then you are probably aware of the Swiffer all-in-one mopping system. Your conscious mind knows damn well that after figuring out the thing you will not dance around the house, excited as a monkey in heat, about your lovely, adorable swiffer mop. Your subconscious does not know this little fact, and believes all the advertising. You are at the store; you are exhausted after working so hard for your family, perhaps even a little down about life in general. Suddenly, there is the box in day-glow color. You are probably running on automatic, and before you know it, you have just purchased another mopping system, that to make it work you will have to constantly supply more and more money to Proctor & Gamble.

Your conscious mind never said, “You know, people have been mopping floors for perhaps thousands of years. Does the world really need yet another ‘ingenious’ method of mopping. In fact, why am I thinking about mopping at all?” Nope, your subconscious really believes what those ads portrayed, and it may even give you a little bio-chemical cocktail boost as a reward for purchasing it. It won’t last long, but many of us are easily amused, and will take our small, bitter pleasures where we can find them.
Few people at the beginning of the 19th century needed an adman to tell them what they wanted - John Kenneth Galbraith
Right now, I hate that I know about the swiffer mop, even though I have hardly watched television at all for the last couple of years. I hate that I know it is spelled with two f’s rather than one, and that it is dubbed an all-in-one system. I hate that I have a better chance of jumping into an alternative universe where the mop does not exist than to actually forget that it exists in this one. Such is the power of the media.

After waking up, and uttering those words, I jumped to an alert state. No dreams that I could recall. No impending doom for myself on the agenda. I knew that my subconscious was going to believe me. It was time to exploit the stupidity of my subconscious. A counter hack, if you will.

Normally, I don’t go around doing positive affirmations – too new agey for me – but this was an emergency. I said how much I love life, and thought about future plans, and set goals for a few small accomplishments. Then I went outside. For the first time this year I could enjoy the sunrise before heading off to work. It was beautiful. I sat on my front porch enjoying the first cup of coffee and first cigarette wearing my bath robe, and promptly decided I was going to be kind to myself and go to work late.

Then I decided to write a subroutine for the subconscious. From now on, when any self-destructive thought patterns arise, as if by magic, I am to blame HAARP.

Yep, blame evil, secret government geniuses and the horse they rode into my subconscious. My conscious mind does not even have to believe it is true, nor does it need proof. I just have to assign it a certain probability above zero.

Of course, such a subroutine can get certain types into trouble, and is not for every one. I will have to save my theory on the sliding scale of paranoia for another post.

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