The other day I was asked to explain my use of the concept ‘contemplation’. I posted a reply but was not happy with and deleted it.
I decided to think about my response non-linguistically, non-conceptually. I thought a day would be sufficient (one can intuit what is sufficient).
How does one think non-linguistically and non-conceptually? By consigning the issue to one’s subconsciousness, by giving up control of the process (through language) and just ‘sitting with it’, letting it run its course.
Several times my thoughts on the subject ‘rose’ into my consciousness (as shards and snippets, very likely due to my conditioned desire to control the process) but I stopped them from forming beyond single concepts, immediately sending those shards and snippets back into the workings of my subconscious brain.
I simply got on with my day. I focused on other matters.
I knew that the process was developing and could feel it was so – intellectually (I knew, by the briefest glimpses, as though quickly opening an oven door the slightest amount, that my thoughts were taking shape) and, inseparable from this, emotionally (I felt good that I could deliberately initiate and be conscious of this subconscious process).
I left the process to itself.
Last night I sat down at my computer, brought to my consciousness what had developed in my subconsciousness by reconsidering in language how to explain my use of ‘contemplation’, composed and posted my reply.
My response which a day before had seemed so difficult to express and inadequate, came easily.
‘Sitting with it’ in one’s subconsciousness is no less a form of thought, of reason than is conscious reason using language – the reason of patriarchy and control (‘Here-comes-a-sentence-now.’).
Yet the former is far more fluid and creative – to draw from Zamyatin, it is a process in which trotting chairs and fluttering wings can freely mingle.
It is a form of reason (delicate, dynamic, intuitive, sensitive, poetic, profoundly rich and complex) that is active all the time, which linguistic reason can easily dominate, drown out, precisely because the latter is – has to be – defined, measured and structured. Limited.
Having acknowledged and embraced it, we can consciously employ and focus this powerful subconscious tool.
It is most probably the same as what we employ when we have a problem and ‘sleep on it’, waking at 4am at the ‘Eureka!’ moment – ‘I have spent ages thinking about this problem (linguistically) and couldn’t solve it – but now, in my sleep, I have!’.
Most importantly, this subconscious process is reason.