Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Maybe instead of 'subconscious' I ought to say 'non-conscious' thought - it isn't a word, but it might express what I mean.
The mind functions by putting things into boxes. If it didn't, we would be insane because we couldn't recognize anything around us. As an example, near the end of my military career, I took a course in target recognition systems. The Professor showed us a picture and asked what we saw. It wasn't much, but we all agreed in seconds that it was a tank of some sort in the woods. He told us we were right, but we recognized it because of our military experience. He also said there wasn't a computer in the world that could replicate what we did - not then, don't know about now.
All of our lives, our minds are assaulted with 'pixels' of light in our eyes, and sounds hitting our ears. Our mind learns to categorize them, and decide what is useful. With rare exceptions, we don't sit and try to puzzle out what we see. We see, and our minds tell us WHAT we see. That is why, for example, many people who see a plane crash will report it was on fire, when the wreckage makes it clear there was no flame. The mind sees a plane going down, compares it to TV images, and supplies the flame. There was no flame, but the witness is completely honest in saying they 'saw' flame.
Thinking analytically doesn't disable your ability to see things without consciously contemplating them, and responding accordingly. Much of horsemanship is noticing the details that most humans miss, and responding accordingly. I hire a trainer to work with my mare Mia, because she takes in Mia's body language and responds much faster and more accurately than I do. But I can ask her to explain, and she'll say something like, "Mia blinked a few times, her head lowered maybe 5 deg, and her left ear moved from the rear to me..."
I could 'see' that too, if I was paying enough attention, and understood what it meant. But she has 40+ years of living with horses, so it isn't surprising she picks up on those signals faster than I do. But I pick up far more of them than I used to, so I'm on the road to becoming a horseman.
"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."