Consciously programmed Subconscious

This paragraph from Ayn Rand's "Philosophy - who needs it?" speech and especially the remark on the nature of the subconscious resonated with me.

"A philosophic system is an integrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation — or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind's wings should have grown."

The subconscious mind is quick, intuitive, and emotional. The conscious mind is deliberate, logical, rational, and unemotional. 

Both serve a purpose. Daniel Kahneman referred to them famously as System 1 and System 2 thinking. The subconscious mind can pattern-match and alert you to important things like danger, hunger, unfairness, opportunity, etc. It can be fast, creative, and automatic. But it can also be inaccurate, noisy, fearful, and needy. The conscious mind can think step-by-step - logically and analytically. But it's slow, robotic, and can miss cues.

In the last decade, I think there's been a societal shift in the balance between conscious to subconscious. I blame it almost entirely on the rise of incessant communication, media, and social feeds. 

We are constantly and unintentionally dumping garbage into our subconscious. We live hyper-stimulated, fast and furious dopamine-fueled lives that we barely have the time and boredom to think for ourselves and consciously process and integrate our experiences. We are becoming unhappy, group-thinking, shallow, materialistic, desire-maxing walking zombies who are losing the most important evolutionary gift that has gotten us so far - the prefrontal cortex and the conscious mind.

The solution? 

Create rituals and space to consistently surface the subconscious to your conscious mind and reprogram it. This is the common denominator of several effective mental health practices - mindfulness, therapy, journaling, planning, gratitude, affirmations, and prayers. Naval Ravikant refers to this as “running your brain in debug mode”. 

Your conscious mind holds your values and principles - like positivity, generosity, love, resilience, effort, focusing on what you control, etc. - that keep you calm, purposeful, and successful. Keep training the conscious mind, and let that consciousness filter and reprogram your subconscious so that your beliefs, thoughts, and actions are harmonious and serve your well-being.