the ocean, representing the unconscious

The 'unconscious'


1. This concept is by no means original with Freud, but was postulated by such philosophers and psychologists as Herbart, and Nietzsche.

2. Nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs

We will discuss here the following phenomena, giving my experiences with these matters and my explanations of their mechanics


'Table turning'

The Ouija board

Automatic writing

The scribble drawing technique


This is a term coined by the Italian psychiatrist Silvano Arieti to refer to the faulty logic of the psychotic/schizophrenic. It does not obey the principles of Aristotelian logic, but harks back to archaic forms of logic used by prehistoric mankind. In these systems identities are established on the basis of identical predicates of premises rather than identical subjects. For example, given the premisses
1. All men are mortal
2. Socrates is a man
the Aristotelian conclusion would be
3. Socrates is mortal
because the subject of the second premise is contained in the subject of the first, (BARBARA)

On the other hand, given the premises
1. Some Indians are swift
2. Stags are swift
the paleologician might conclude that
3. Some Indians are stags
Such autistic or highly subjective thought processes following paleologic principles are said to be found, as well as in schizophrenia, in childhood, in primitive cultures, and in dreams. The schizophrenic is unable to correct his paleologic view of reality by applying any residuals of Aristotelian logic he might still possess.

I believe that this formulation, as well as being a reasinably good description and explanation of the phenomena of schizophrenic, primitive, and infantile thinking, can also be used to explain phenomena such as ritualistic and obsessive-compulsive behaviour


1. the little black hyperactive boy at WW.

On one occasion, in class, he was walking, (or more likely running!) past a desk/table and struck his arm or leg against it. He then proceeded to repeat this action/event a number of times, deliberately.

Possible explanations

1. He attempts to bring the event under his conscious control.
(See other examples of SLD children being highly motivated by the desire to control their environment, which is perhaps heightened by factors which make this achievement difficult, e.g. the case of Helen, (Dinky) P. who was quite spastic
2. On a rational basis, he sees that after the deliberate action he is OK, and so concludes that he must be, and have been, OK after the earlier events, because they are similar.
"I did not hurt myself the third time it happened, so I did not hurt myself the first time it happened"
On a much less rational basis he might view the various events and consequences as not just being similar but as being identical. By this I do not mean of an identical type, as two twins might be identical, (as a theoretical possibility), but that they are the same things. (which the twins cannot be since they do not occupy the same position in space. In the case of conjoined or Siamese twins only the shared parts of the body would be identical in this sense, the other non-shared parts, e.g. the heads, would not.
So the various events of hitting himself on the desk are not just similar, and not just identical in type, but are the same event. This destroys the separating effect of time.
"I did not hurt myself the third time it happened, so I did not hurt myself the first time it happened" ------>"I did not hurt myself"
Notice here that the conceptual structure of the second statement is far simpler than that of the first, so the latter is more likely to be represented in the 'unconscious' than in the 'conscious' 'mind'

2. Personal experiences

As an intelligent, intellectual, and cultured citizen of western Europe living in the 20th to 21st century it is still true that vestiges of very primitive mental structures and processes are still present in my psyche, as is the case with anatomical, (including neuro-anatomical) structures.
In addition I manifest some marked obsessive-compulsive traits.
As a result these sort of behaviours occur

1. One of my treasured items suffers some kind of physical insult, a minor accident, e.g. I accidentally drop it or knock it against a hard surface. I inspect the item and am not sure whether it is damaged or not, as a result of this.
So I try to replicate the insult as close as I can, and see if the item is damaged or not. If not I conclude that it was not damaged in the first place. This sort of behaviour is very similar to the behaviour of the black child mentioned above. On the surface of both we see what appears like rational thinking but on looking deeper there lies I believe something far more primitive

Table turning

Description of the phenomenon

Here a group of people sit at a table and place their finger tips on the table surface. After a while the table begins to move, e.g. rock, and sometimes moves around the room so the people have to follow it to maintain the contact of their hands with the table. On one occasion when the senior author, his ex-wife, and a couple of friends tried this the movements of the table became so violent that it actually broke!
The appearance of the phenomenon is facilitated by lowering the level of illumination in the room. Some rather weak minded individuals might be quite disturbed by the experience and some desperately offer explanations which might be almost as bizarre as the phenomenon itself

The rocking type of movement may be used in a sort of ouija board fashion: the group asks questions, asking for the answers to be coded, in the time honoured manner as:

one rap for "Yes"
two raps for "No"


The hands of any person are constantly moving, in a sort of fine, sub-clinical minor tremor. There seems to be a natural tendency for the frequency and phase of the individual movements of the hands of the different people at the table to match, so that there is a cumulative effect, with the movements growing in amplitude. The result is the sort of thing that is said to have occurred on occasions when a group of soldiers marched accross a bridge in step. The movements produced in the bridge eventually became so extreme and violent that the bridge collapsed. Now, it is said, soldiers are told to break step as they cross a bridge. There is also a natural vibration frequency of a structure, and it is perhaps when the movements of the men match this that the bridge's movements become extreme so that the structure shakes itself to pieces
Another example is a pendulum, which can be deliberately set swinging with a large amplitude by properly timing very small pushes on the swinging thing. As another example of an unconscious process, actually with a pendulum, if one holds a string with a weight attached to the bottom and simply imagines that the bob or whatever is moving, after a while it will do so. Again the explanation is in terms of fine unconscious movements, tremor, in the hands.
There is also often a motivation, probably common to the group of people, since they have all agreed to try the experiment, for something to happen, and have some excitement, so this is a facilating factor.

These sorts of movement are easily explicable by ordinary means, what would not be would be a complete levitation of the table. Investigators have tried to produce and/or record such an occurrence for years. In fact there was, (is there still?) a monetary prize offered by the Society for Psychical Research to anyone who could demonstrate this phenomenon, under rigorous test conditions, to preclude trickery, or the use of natural scientific principles.As far as I know however the prize has still not been won.

The Ouija board

= (Yes (French) + Yes (German))

Description of the phenomenon

Here again a group of people sit around a table, best with a smooth surface, on which is arrayed a set of cards with each bearing a letter of the alphabet, in order, in a circle. In the circle somewhere are also two extra cards, one bearing the word "Yes", the other "No". An upturned tumbler or similar is placed in the middle of the circle and each person places a forefinger tip on the tumbler base.
The group then pose a question and after some time the tumbler begins to move towards various letters in turn, so as to spell out various words, or to one of the words "Yes", or "No".
As before, the process takes some time to begin, and is aided by dimmimg the lights in the room. When the movements begin the level of illumination can be raised.
Typical questions have a sort of spiritualistic flavour, e.g.
"Is anybody there?"
"What is your name?"
etc until the sitting was cut short

On one occasion a group of about four of us experimented with this method and got this result
Messages were received from someone who said he had been murdered in a certain place. Various other pieces of information were got from this 'person', until the sitting was cut short by the 'entity' telling us he had to leave, as he had to go to a ?seance? in ?Droitwich?


As with table movements tiny movements of the sitters hands, or fingers, might combine to make a large movement in a definite direction. Expectations, and hypotheses, as to what the answers will be are narrowed down successively by the movements of the glass, and the movements of the glass become quicker and more decisive as the possibilities are reduced, or the probabilities increase. The desires of the group, again perhaps unconscious, should again act to direct the movements of the glass.


"Is there anybody there?"
(The group want a result, an evening's excitement or at least entertainment, and some may believe in the existence of discarnate entities. So the answer is--)

"What is your name?"

There is an immediate restriction on the possible answers here, the answer must be a name, of a person.
There is still a wide range of possibilities at first however and the movements of the people's fingers are hesitant and uncertain.
Say that after a time the glass lands on the letter "J"
Now the possibilities are much reduced and we might have names like Jack, John, James, Jean, Jennifer, June, Jessica.
Say the next letter gone to is E
Now we are thinking of Jean, or Jennifer, or Jessica.
Next the tumbler lands on the letter S,
Now we feel sure the name is Jessica, and the tumbler moves more and more rapidly to the appropriate letters.

On occasion there seems to be a breakdown in the process of forming meaningful answers and the response is meaningless garbage.

Automatic writing

The scribble drawing technique

© John and Ian Locking