Monday, November 27, 2006
The Subconscious Brain
at 9:28 AM
Over the past weekend, my husband and I watched some interesting shows so I figured I would use those as examples. We watched John Ramsey on 48 Hours, we watched a fascinating interview with Warren Buffet on CNBC, and we saw an interview of a child prodigy on CBS's 60 Minutes.
Buffet's interview was the last one we had seen. It was fascinating. I never knew I liked Buffet, but I do. He has a great mind -- even outside of his financial thinking. Buffet is a genuine, sincere and happy man. He is the kind of man when something bad happens to him, he quickly puts it into perspective, copes and looks forward. He doesn't dwell on what he can't control. He doesn't stew, he doesn't get mad -- he just gets perspective.
I explained to my husband, Buffet is much like his own grandmother was. It was when I was watching Buffet that I first saw the jawline of my husband's dad. Buffet has a similar jawline to my father-in-law -- and as he was talking -- my father-in-law's face came to mind. Then as Buffet's jovial spirit continued to come across the screen, I saw my husband's grandmother -- his father's mother in Buffet, in bits and flashes. Not in looks so much as his father -- but in personality (this is what I call paralleling).
As the flashes came to me, I had an instant connection, much without thought -- that these two people (my husband's grandmother and Buffet) shared a similar personality trait -- the trait of jovial happiness. With that, knowing his grandmother, I could predict how Buffet would behave given certain circumstances. If Buffet told me he was crossed, and stewed for days about a deal gone bad and wanted revenge -- I wouldn't believe him. I'd know better! My husband's grandmother would get upset briefly, but then she'd let it go and move on. So would Buffet.
I know my brain absorbs a lot of information: facial features, mannerisms, voice pitch and tone, habits, speech patterns, personal style, behaviorisms, personality traits and quirks, etc. So when one of these appear in someone else, my mind automatically links it to others I have known in the past who share a similarity -- and my brain makes an instant connection -- an instant understanding. I don't think about it, drudge through old canals to figure this out. It's automatic. Sometimes, though not always, I can connect that two people grew up in a similar area of the country by the tone/style/mannerisms of their voice.
Here is another example of an over-active subconscious brain. We also watched 48 Hours about the JonBenet murder investigation. Professor Michael Tracey who corresponded with John Karr for four years spoke for the first time. His story didn't sit well with me. His motive for the investigation just didn't add up, but I didn't have an exact reason why.
After the show, I went to bed that night without answers. I knew I would re-watch the show again to write about it here so I let it rest. However, when I turned over in the middle of the night, I got the answer as to why it wasn't adding up.
It was strange, but by no means uncommon for me. I often roll over in my sleep -- half-awake, half-sleeping yet half-thinking --and figure out answers to questions I have or realize I have a problem when I didn't know it. As I rolled over on Saturday night, the following thought came to mind. I was awake enough to register it.
That professor (Michael Tracey) said he finally got the authorities involved with John Karr because he was afraid that he might molest another girl.And then I fell fast asleep again until I awoke in the morning and remembered my thoughts so I could share them with my husband. When I think about this, I think it is merely an example of how my subconscious brain works overtime unlike the average person. My subconscious mind is constantly analyzing things I don't even realize it is analyzing. Who knew I was thinking about Tracey in my sleep? I certainly didn't!
That's not the truth.
If that was the truth, then why wasn't Tracey concerned about Karr killing other children during the four years he kept up correspondence with Karr? I mean, Karr could have molested/killed hundreds of kids in four years!
Tracey said himself that Karr disappeared for 18 months - and Tracey never expressed fear about what Karr was doing then in the interview. Why all of the sudden after four years does Tracey care?
This points to other motives...
That brings me to the last show I watched which was about a prodigy on 60 Minutes who has written five symphonies by age 13. He is the first prodigy to come along in the likes of Mozart in some 200 years. This young man is fascinating: Simply fascinating. He is a unique character, very absorbed by his music. It commands his life from sun-up to sundown. Yet amazingly, this young man offered out an explanation for how he can do it.
...Jay told Pelley he doesn't know where the music comes from — but that it comes fully written, playing like an orchestra in his head.Very well said, Jay. If only I had Jay's talents. I am not even comparable, yet I think Jay offers up a good answer about the mysteries of our brain. We know so little about our subconscious mind -- and I have to wonder if I have a slightly overactive subconscious brain that perhaps works quarter time compared to Jay's mind that works triple-overtime.
"As you hear it playing, can you change it as it goes along? Can you say to yourself, 'Oh, let's bring the oboes in here,' or 'Let's bring the string section here?'" Pelley asks.
"No, they seem — they seem to come in by themselves if they need to," Jay replies. "It's as if the unconscious mind is giving orders at the speed of light. You know, I mean, so I just hear it as if it were a smooth performance of a work that is already written when it isn't." (source)
I realized that when I compare personalities like Buffet and my husband's grandmother, I don't consciously sit there and think is Warren like John? Who is Warren like? No, my thoughts are much quicker, much more innate -- as though they come from my subconscious mind. I can't recall one time where I had to sit there and think and wonder -- who is this person like?? Do I know someone like this? Either I know or I don't. It's almost instantaneous. This is all bringing me back to the book Blink. Malcolm Gladwell is certainly on to something.
I don't always use my subconscious brain when I detect lies...but part of the time, I tap into it. Perhaps I tap into it more than I realize. When I parallel personalities, the answer always comes to me -- from deep in my brain -- from a place that I don't even know is thinking and calculating and crunching information.