Blame Your Unconscious Mind For Your Own Actions

“Don’t blame your unconscious mind for your own actions” is a very interesting paper, my thanks go to the author, Tania Lombrozo. I cite her last paragraph: “It’s tempting to think that unconscious beliefs reflect what others “really” believe, that they reveal the true self. But why should unconscious beliefs be considered any more genuine than conscious beliefs, the ones over which we have more control? Is it reasonable to hold people responsible for their implicit beliefs, or their brain activity, even if it doesn’t translate into action?”

Of course your unconscious beliefs do not reflect what others or what you yourself really belief. Say for example someone comes to consult me because he can’t work, he has to do writing work and he doesn’t do anything but watching tv-series whole day long. After probably a long process, it may appear that he himself unconsciously very much wants to do nothing, wants to actively boycott his work. But this is not the “real” truth: the truth is as much that he consciously wants to work and that unconsciously part of him does not want to work; the truth is the subject is divided, continuously and changeably internally divided.

Moreover, we probably have more control on the conscious beliefs than on the unconscious, but we are not in control of them neither. But, the most important point to make is: yes it is reasonable – and more than that – necessary, ethically necessary, to hold people responsible for their implicit belief. Even if they can’t control directly neither their brain activity, nor their societal influences, yes, we should ask people to respond for their actions – because, fundamentally, asking them to respond, in and by itself, is enabling them, structurally, to take a part of control.




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