A symbol stands for
the unknown, something that is beyond the obvious. It is different
from a sign, which merely designates something. Mankind uses
symbols to represent what we can't define or fully understand.
in everyday life; in religion, there is a more conscious use
of symbolism , whereas the unconscious produces dream symbolism.
Unknown factors influence
subconscious reaction to stimulus; this is in part due to our
inability to fully "know" or "understand" the external world,
or even the own self.
There is an "unconscious aspect" to our interpretation of conscious
There are two "subjects"
within the mind - the conscious and the subconscious.
Development of consciousness developed over eons.
One of the highlights of this development was the invention
of written script about 4000 B.C.
The "psyche" is the
entire psychological unit, but consciousness is a new development
As such, it can tend to be "frail", subject to disorientation.
The "soul" is not
necessarily a complete unit to primitive people, whom experience
a closer affinity with nature than does modern man. Their soul
is part of nature, and can be shared by certain animals or other
aspects of nature.
With the concept
of numerous souls comes the possibility of disassociation -
similar to modern neurosis.
around the time of Freud noticed that the neurosis "split off"
from normal consciousness-
the patient could perform a repetitive, nervous activity and
be consciously unaware of it.
Such people are not insane, but provide an insight into the
normal ability to "concentrate".
Concentration is limited to a a topic or two at a time, out
of necessity, though the unconscious is always present and always
It was the influence
of events upon the subconscious, that in turn influenced the
conscious mind, that indicated to Freud the significance of
the subconscious itself, an area previously ignored.
on the part of an otherwise sane individual, is symbolic of
their traumatism or obsession.
It was this symbolic relationship that revealed to Freud the
activity of the subconscious in dream symbolism.
Freud employed "free
association" in discussing dreams with his patients to "talk
around" a problem -
The conversation, even by manner of avoiding certain important
topics, would indicate the repressed thought or emotion.
Carl Jung realized
this "key" to the past, to the subconscious and forgotten events,
was not limited to the dream itself: He had a friend who related
an incident where he was daydreaming upon letters of a language
he did not understand, imagining his own meanings for the unknown
letters, when he surprisingly recalled unpleasant incidents
of his childhood he had deliberately forgotten. Jung then understood
that there were other "paths" to the subconscious besides dreams.
While this discovery made dreams less necessary for subconscious
analysis, it indicated a special significance of the dream itself
as something to be studied for its own sake - a language of
its own with its own unique purpose.
has gestated a life's events, and inherited an ancient history
of human physical and psychic development. Only the conscious
mind thinks in a linear pattern, from beginning to end. This
is why the dreams produced by the subconscious lack our familiarity
with ordinary space/time relationships.
The dream is "telling
a story" in a different way than the conscious mind -
trying to understand it is like perceiving an unknown object
from various vantage points.
has a tendency to resist the unknown, and dreams are a product
of the unknown subconscious, it is also true that dreams were
ignored by "civilized" or "modern" people until relatively recently
- the advent of modern psychology about 100 years ago.
Similarly, primitive man fears the unknown, such as his first
encounters with technology such as photography.
Part of the "link"
between the conscious and subconscious is forgetfulness.
Not being able
to recall everything assists in preventing an overload of attention
upon our consciousness.
The subconscious retains impressions of all these life experiences,
Forgotten ideas and thoughts are not gone, merely absent from
the conscious mind.
As such, they continue to be part of the overall psyche.
Often repressed thoughts or emotions are revealed to the consciousness
under various circumstances.
Conversely, subconscious thoughts can effect conscious behavior
such as "forgetting" something unpleasant.
who have experienced traumatism and are unaware of their immediate
surroundings nevertheless perceive and subconsciously retain
even the most insignificant aspects of location and circumstance.
This has been revealed through hypnotism and unexpected recollection
of such memories in later years.
In a neurotic person,
they can be unaware of some aspect of their behavior or speech.
This is the subconscious behaving consciously.
are exaggerated "normal" individuals.