Bastard Travel's Reviews > Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do

Before You Know It by John A. Bargh
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really liked it

Everyone has seen the iceberg metaphor for the Freudian unconscious, but most just think "wow, look at all the weird sex stuff underwater there" without considering all the squishy equivalent of RAM tucked in between all the weird sex stuff.

Bargh unintentionally defends Zen buddhism by making the case that much of the anxiety we experience comes from our distrust of our unconscious. The reason we get eureka moments, or we're most creative when we take a break, take a shower, have a cigarette, think of nothing is because our unconscious seizes the opportunity to tackle the problem without being bogged down by all the judgmental bullshit our conscious mind brings to the table. Sort of like how much processing power your computer gets when you close your 150 open Google Chrome tabs.

Of course, our distrust of our unconscious comes from the demonization that stems from the heuristic biases we're uncomfortable with, like racism. A third of the book talks about the implicit bias test, and how it'll out you, no matter how unracist you think you are. Or it'll out your unconscious, anyway. Fortunately, there's a workaround: if you make a conscious effort to change your thinking, it will eventually change how your unconscious thinks, too. The neurons that fire together wire together and so forth.

The rest of the book was just a celebration of the capacity of the unconscious, and anecdotes suggesting "genius" comes from comfort with and easy access to it.
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Reading Progress

April 21, 2018 – Started Reading
April 21, 2018 – Shelved
April 26, 2018 – Finished Reading

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