rcampb wrote: ↑
June 22nd, 2020, 6:38 pm
The ancient philosophers didn't know about the existence of the unconscious which was discovered only by modern psychology. We know now that the unconscious has a huge influence over our behaviour and it has changed the modern worldview about the human condition. In the light of this do the ancient Stoics speak to us now, why should we turn to them for guidance instead of modern thought.
In a similar way to how Psychology seemed to excavate a new angle on our world view, neurobiology is beginning to do the same.
Now we know about neural correlation, we can think about ''the unconscious'' in more concrete terms, and see it more as a metaphor for the underlying physical processes. Neural processes inter-connect and influence each other, but not all rise to phenomenal consciousness, and our behaviour reflects both. With the thinky voice in our head giving an ongoing commentary which creates a coherent narrative out of it all. The raw material from which meaningful ideas like Stoicism are crafted.
(There's also the issue of focus and attention, so you might 'peripherally' register something without consciously thinking 'I am now noticing those shadows over there move', but react anyway and maybe even later on 'remember' noticing the shadow's move. Or just 'having a feeling' something was off. Like you can instantly like/dislike a person/idea/situation for no conscious reason, but because some unconscious neural connections are firing).
So the unconscious can be thought about as genetic factors and pre-dispositions influencing types of neural development and interaction, combined with experience continuing to do the same. Some phenomenally conscious, some not. Early experience setting and reinforcing neural patterns which might later be triggered by different stimuli. A lot of psychology is about untangling that and trying to set healthier patterns. (Where psychiatry takes a more direct approach in adjusting the chemistry). Philosophies like Stoicism aren't dissimilar to offering cognitive psychological coping methods perhaps. Whatever works for you...