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Chapter 6: Encountering the Unconscious

Considering the example of sensual instinct, kindly explain the practical ways to encounter the unconscious mind, and how can one know that one has become free from it?

The unconscious is not really unconscious. Rather, it is only less conscious. So the difference between conscious and unconscious is not of polar opposites, but of degrees. The unconscious and conscious are related, joined, they are not two. But our ways of thinking are based on a particular false system of logic which divides everything into polar opposites.

Reality is never divided like that; only logic is divided. Our logic says either yes or no; our logic says either light or darkness - and there is nothing in between as far as logic goes. But life is neither white nor black. It is, rather, a great expanse of gray. One extreme becomes white, another extreme becomes black, and life is a great expanse of gray, degrees of gray. For logic, white and black are realities and there is nothing in between - but life is always in between these two. So, really, every problem should be understood not as a logical problem, but as a life problem - only then can you do something with it. If you are too fixed with this false logic, then you will never be able to solve any problem.

Aristotle has proved to be one of the greatest menaces, blocks, to the human mind, because he created a system - which became dominant all over the world - that divides everything into two opposites. Really, this is a strange fact. We have nothing for the in-between reality - not even words.

De Bono, a modern non-Aristotelian logician, has created a new word - po. He says that we have only two words, yes or no, and there is no neutral word. Yes is one opposite, no is another - there is no neutral word. So he has coined a new word - po. Po means, “I am neither for nor against.” If you say something and I say, “Po,” it means, “I have heard you, I am neither for nor against. I am not making any judgment.” Or, to say, “Po,” means, “Perhaps you are right, perhaps you are wrong. Both are possible.” Or, the use of the word po means, “This is also one point of view. I need not be on the yes side or the no. It is not a compulsion.”

De Bono has derived this word from words like hypothesis or potentiality. This po is a neutral word, not loaded with any judgment, condemnation or appreciation. Just use the word po and you will feel the difference. You are not taking any standpoint in the polar opposites.

So when I say conscious and unconscious, I don’t mean the Freudian opposition. For Freud, conscious is conscious and unconscious is unconscious. The difference is that of white and black, yes and no, life and death. When I say unconscious, I mean less conscious. When I say conscious, I mean less unconscious. They overlap each other.

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