My metaconscious is defective

I’m serious. The damn thing is out of control.

Quick explanation of the term[1] : your metaconscious mind is the part of your mind that monitors what the rest of the mind is doing and intervenes when necessary in orer to correct your thinking, prevent disaster, or keep you from making mistakes.

For example : if you have ever started to say something then stopped because you were suddenly aware of how rude or stupid or terrible it would sound, the part of you that made that realization was your metaconscious mind.

it’s also the part that lets you restrain yourself by staying calm and logical when you are feeling extremely emotional. By staying out of the emotional stew, the metaconscious lets you keep hold of your long term interests even when you are anything but rational.

But that’s the metaconscious working correctly. What about when it malfunctions? What if it becomes so toxic that it’s like you are constantly being prosecuted by a malicious judge who is venting his rage on the first available target.

Kind of like my Dad. Food for thought.

That is what I think my own metaconscious mind has become. It does try to keep me out of error – thank goodness for that – but it does so via methods which are harsh, arbitrary, excessive, wrongheaded, and just plain mean.

And it’s chilling to realize that your metaconscious mind is your worst enemy. It’s like finding out your anti-virus program has a virus in it.

Right now, my feeling is that I need to take a step back and view what this crazed lunatic inside my head has to say. I want to remember that what it says is highly suspect and that its judgment is anything but impartial.

And it hates me. Never trust anything said by someone who hates you.

This ideal of detachment is simple but hard to achieve. We count on our metaconscious minds to, as it were, look out for us and keep us safe, in the broadest definition of the word. It’s our highest level of day to day consciousness.

If you can’t trust it, what CAN you trust?

Well for me, there is always the fallback position of strict logical thought. It helps a lot in certain circumstances. When I feel like I am going crazy and all kids of wildly negative thoughts are going through my head, it can be very soothing to have an inner resource that can talk me down from my tree.

But for the most part, it’s errors in my metaconscious processing that lead to the self-loathing and sadness and abysmal self-esteem of depression.

The chemical condition of my brain warps its reasoning capacities when it comes to anything about myself. Statements that, to a caring but dispassionate observer would be obviously false, suspect, and downright wrong are accepted not because they make sense or explain the evidence but because they conform to my pre-existing warped idea that I am horrible and hideous and toxic and don’t deserve to breathe.

Against this chemical condition, my metaconscious mind is helpless. In fact, it becomes warped into working for the enemy, essentially. It guards the depression and makes sure to disarm, disable, or deflect any and all challenges to the existing order.

That order being the whole set of irrational beliefs about oneself that stem from this negative chemical state.

And depression has inertia on its side. The longer these irrational ideas persist, the more deeply entrenched in the mind they become. Eventually, that persistence becomes subverted into a substitute for evidence – after all, you’ve believed it for so long, it must be true, right?

And changing your mind takes energy, admitting you were wrong, willingness to pass through a time of instability in order to achieve a superior stability,. and all kind of other things that are hard and scary and that nobody is actually making you do.

Much easier to ignore the evidence and the testimony of those who love and admire and respect you and go right on thinking you suck.

And in a terrible and tragic sense, it doesn’t matter whether you actually suck or not. You will keep on hating yourself regardless. There are people in this world right now who are, by all reasonable standards, at the pinnacle of success in their field and yet they hate themselves and have the same ten sub-basements down self esteem as any other person with depression.

In fact, the distorting effect of depression is so strong that people will convince themselves that all that success was somehow fraudulent and unearned and that one day soon everything will find out how awful they really are.

It’s called Impostor Syndrome, and it demonstrates the power of depression. Even perfectly intelligent, reasonable, and sensible people who have had great success in life and have all the evidence of their worth that anyone could ever need nevertheless conclude that none of it counts because they still feel worthless and awful.

And the truth is that our feelings determine a lot of how we see the world, and even the most rational people will find that, if they look at the playback of how they made decisions, they will see just how little reason had to do with it.

They simply solved their emotional vector problem. The most primitive form of reason is simply a device that resolves conflicts between instincts.

Even fish have that. If they didn’t, any situation of competing drives would paralyze them and those little fishies don’t live long enough to reproduce.

The situation is the same with us big-brained higher mammals as well. That primitive part of us that resolves emotional conflicts makes a lot more of our decisions than anyone would care to admit.

How the hell did I get here? Jesus.

I guess the point I am trying to make is….

*spins the wheel of possible points*

That depression hijacks out metaconscious minds and that puts us depressives in the position of not being able to trust what our own minds are telling us.

And that’s a terrible place to be in.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Yes, I know most of you already know this. Indulge me. I am feeling didactic pedantic and want to explain stuff.

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