Creators vs. Consumers: Resolving the Conflict Between the Conscious and Subconscious

(Some of these ideas and definitions are inspired from the writings of David Kahneman in his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”)

Creator is someone that takes something and constructively changes it into something else.

Consumer is someone who looks for what is already created and takes it in (whether physically, intellectually, or emotionally).

Conscious is the problem-solving part of the brain. It works slower than its counterpart, the subconscious, but is more methodical and critical in its processes.

Subconscious is the automatic part of the brain that deals with survival. It is very fast, but not calculated or critical.

For humans, the pursuit of happiness can often be a difficult journey to take. We are met with countless obstacles, struggles, and setbacks that can cause us to lose sight of what is important or what will bring us the happiness we desire. These struggles that we go through can derail us from our pursuit and can put us on the track of simply trying to medicate or repress our struggles. When this occurs, when we try to run from all the bad things in our lives and develop a phenomenon called “consumer behavior.” When we endeavor to continually buy other people’s creations to cope with our own struggles, this is called consumer behavior.

We live in a world full of sedatives, creations of other individuals that elicit an emotional or a physiological response out of ourselves. These things can appease the survival part of our brain which is called the subconscious. The subconscious is always concerned about keeping us away from danger. It will work actively to try and build a life where it does not feel threatened. While this can be a good thing, if it is not kept in check or “bridled” it can actually lead to self-destruction. This is why we need the continuous help of the conscious part of the brain. We have seen this time and time again with addicts and other mentally afflicted individuals. They have experiences a trauma in their life (or a lack thereof) and have started to medicate with a variety of creations, whether it be drugs, entertainment, or sexual activity. These sedative-filled activities will keep our conscious doormat so we do not need to think about what was causing us distress, and therefore sooths the subconscious and creates a state of bliss or temporary reprieve. Overtime, as this process continues, the conscious brain weakens and the subconscious’ reliance on the substance increases—this creates almost a prisoner effect, we become slaves to our own subconscious.

If we are to stay the course to creation and happiness, we must find the balance between the conscious and subconscious. The conscious is like a muscle, it takes continuous exercise to become strong. This is done through putting some sort of stress or pressure on it (as we do with our physical muscles while working out). This stress or pressure comes in the form of presenting problems for the conscious to solve. Reading books full of ideas to grasp, solving a math problem, trying to solve the mysteries to human nature by participating in a variety of social settings, and trying to create something all give a good workout to the conscious brain. A we make a habit of working out our conscious brain, we will see that our subconscious will lose some of its power and start to work for the conscious brain. Now do not worry, there is not a possibility of becoming a slave to the conscious brain, for the conscious brain is lazy in nature. If it is not upkept, it will lose its strength as a muscle does. The subconscious brain is continually work and is hardworking in nature, therefore it will always maintain its strength.

The key to balancing the conscious and subconscious is to regularly expose yourself to creativity and problem solving, while giving little bits of time to rest the conscious brain by indulging in consuming other people’s creations. We need some consuming of there’s creations in order to give the conscious time to recuperate. If we do not, we will exhaust the conscous and we can experience “burning out.” There is a spectrum of usage with the subconscious and conscious, the more you can stay in the middle or more towards the conscious, the happier you will be.

So being a consumer has dangerous effects when it comes to one’s wellbeing. If we continually consume but do not create, we will never satisfy the hunger we have for happiness, for happiness is a byproduct of creation. Being a creator, as Dr. Diamond has talked about in his book “Anger, Madness and the Daimonic,” means that you accept the challenges and struggles you have in your life by reconstructing your reality in a positive way. As a creators create to better understand themselves and the world around them, life becomes more meaningful to them and gives them a more lasting sense of happiness.