Reply To: Inhibitory neurons at play between L+R prefrontal cortex

  • Whit Blauvelt

    May 4, 2023 at 5:08 pm


    I began studying consciousness in the ’50s. When I was 4 years old I liked to sit in a dark closet and observe the mind with the senses stilled. Then in college in the ’70s I spent a year in a coordinated studies program on consciousness which prominently considered Sperry’s work.

    You say “Right away – if everything exists in Consciousness (and there’s no
    empirical evidence that even hints otherwise) there can’t be anything
    that’s actually ‘unconscious.’ A better term of mental-consciousness
    and submental-consciousness.” That’s a big “if.” Yes, in The Matter … McGilchrist somewhat favors that stance in the latter chapters; and Deepak Chopra has made it popular of late. But I find it obvious there are things in consciousness that are not in the world (e.g. unicorns), and things in the world which are not in consciousness (e.g. unobserved quantum fluctuations in ’empty’ space).

    In any case my long, particular interest is talk in mind, with a background which also includes studies in Buddhism and poetics. McGilchrist’s summary of the differences in how the hemispheres anchor linguistic capabilities is of obvious interest here. One way to approach the disharmony many of us experience between hemispheric capabilities is to use meditative techniques to quiet talk in mind. But that’s like solving the disharmony in a choir by asking the person singing out of key to shut up. Better to help that person learn to sing in harmony. My focus in on ways to get the “emissary” in tune, to sing with the “master.”

    In any case, I’m quite happy if you read my use of “unconscious” to mean your “submental-consciousness.” I have no notion what it would mean if the world contained “non-mental consciousness” as well as “mental-consciousness,” yet it’s entirely plausible that what from our waking point of view is “unconscious” may be in some way conscious within itself.