John Young asked:
“Monsters from the Id, John.”
Dr. C.X. Ostrow clutched the arm of Commander John J. Adams in the 1955 science fiction movie “Forbidden Planet” and stared at him feverishly.
“Morbius was too close to the problem. He didn’t see that when the Krell machine gave the Conscious Mind a boost, it also boosted the Id that lies in the Unconscious. It is where the mass of formless, bestial impulses develop…”
Anyone who saw “Forbidden Planet” would never forget it as the first movie to convey a postulate of Freudian psychoanalysis … the Unconscious Mind.
For those too young to remember “Forbidden Planet”, it’s a tale of Morbius, a mad scientist who survives a disaster on a distant planet and discovers a super-scientific race known as the “Krell”. The Krell had developed machines that boosted their intelligence and gave substance to their thoughts.
Unfortunately, the Krell destroyed themselves by unleashing primeval monsters lurking in the Id.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS MIND
Shakespeare used the concept of the Unconscious Mind in many of his plays, and indeed, “Forbidden Planet”, is a remake of “The Tempest”. The concept predates him, however, and was explored in the Hindu Vedas between 2500 and 600 BC (Wykipedia, Unconscious Mind).
In his development of Psychoanalysis, Freud proposed a model of the mind which consisted of the Conscious and Unconscious, the latter consisting of the Superego and Id. Later psychoanalysts elaborated on the concept of the Unconscious, or disputed its actual existence, but none denied the notion that there were buried, non verbalized impulses deep within the human psyche that resulted in unexplainable, and sometimes irrational, behavior.
OUR UNCONSCIOUS TALKS TO US
I rent rooms in my home. I once put an ad on the Internet advertising one of my rooms and forgot to mention that I had a cat. I received an inquiry and set up an appointment to show it. Everything was going well until the prospective renter saw the cat.
He paled. “I…I uh, am afraid of cats.”
I stared at him in disbelief. “Cats? Oh, our cat is harmless. He’s just a housecat and we’ve had him for years.”
When I saw the genuine fear in his eyes, I decided his reaction wasn’t ridiculous. For some reason, he was afraid of housecats, and I sincerely doubt he knew the reason for it
Something must have happened when he was very young. Fear of cats lurked in his Unconscious and was being communicated to him nonverbally in a way that was very difficult to deal with.
ADDRESSING THE “ROOT CAUSE”
Panic Attacks are acknowledged to be different from Panic Disorder, which can be treated with drugs that modulate the neurotransmitters in our nervous systems.
Even though medications may treat the “symptom” of the Panic Attack, the root cause is not addressed and dealt with. In order to do that, you have to have a little conversation with your Unconscious Mind.
DEALING WITH YOUR UNCONSCIOUS MIND
Why should an incident like waiting in line in a grocery store suddenly cause bodily sweating, shaking, and unreasoned fear? The Unconscious Mind is responding to the stimuli, and the question is…what is it communicating that is causing this kind of reaction?
Communication, however, is a “two way street”. The Unconscious can “talk” to us, and vice versa. How can we find out what it is saying, and how can we talk to it?
There are at least 9 ways we can attempt to communicate with our Unconscious Mind:
1) Hypnosis. This can be a way of talking to and reprogramming the subconscious. There have been amazing success rates in overcoming phobias by this means.
2) Dreams. The Unconscious communicates with us through dreams. In order to use them as therapeutic tools, you must immediately record the dream when you wake up and most likely get professional help in interpreting them.
3) Meditation. Take time to clear your mind…stop all Conscious thought…give the Unconscious the opportunity to communicate with you.
4) “Freudian slips”. Freud believed that when we involuntarily say things we don’t mean, we are given clues to what is going on in the Unconscious.
5) Flashbacks. These can be vivid recollections stemming from the Unconscious, and can give us clues to problematic behavior.
6) Imagination. What we imagine when our minds are allowed to “drift” can give us clues as to what is going on in the Unconscious.
7) Regression techniques. These are done professionally in an attempt to take us back to our childhood to explore Unconscious programming.
8) Inner dialogue. Sometimes just “ordering” the Unconscious to come up with something works. It may take time, but the machinery starts operating, and may produce surprising results.
9) Intuition. When you have a “gut level feeling” that either agrees or disagrees with the rationale of your Conscious Mind, it is your Unconscious communicating with you.
NO BRAIN BOOST FROM THE KRELL
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we can’t receive a “brain boost” from a super scientific race like the Krell in “Forbidden Planet”. If we could, maybe we would be able to drag the monsters out in the light where we could talk to them.
Meanwhile, however, we are stuck with the techniques of psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy and meditation.
But, come to think of it, that might be for the best. I didn’t really want to talk to the monsters anyway.