My brain is smarter than I am

I said that in my last post. It’s something I say quite often, in fact, and I mean it most sincerely. It comes from years of self-observation: I work and work (consciously) but still sometimes come up short. Then I stop working (or so it appears) and suddenly the answer comes welling up as if out of nowhere.

But it’s not really out of nowhere, and it’s not that mysterious. There is a part of my brain that doesn’t have easy access to words, but is still able to reason, think, and make connections. In fact, I think it thinks better than the part of my brain that is aware of thinking. The challenge is that I can’t see it working, can’t monitor its progress, and can’t force it to produce on any kind of timetable. I have to sit back, hands off, and have faith in it.

This can be much easier said than done. I’m finally getting good at it, here in middle age, because I’ve seen the pattern so many times before. I still get impatient sometimes, however.

Anyway, when I wrote that last post, a friend of mine (who’s heard me make that exact statement a hundred times before) sent me this article about a recent test of unconscious cogitation: Your subconscious is smarter than you might think.

To which I respond: a) obviously, and b) it’s always so gratifying when science finally catches up to my anecdata.



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