The Lake

this is a reformulation of a previous idea (the murky lake model), and a reductive simplification of standard IFS, but one that i think might be easier to reason about for people who aren’t well-versed in IFS.

if you think about your conscious and subconscious and separate agents, you get a large amount of predictive power for free.

it is usually the case that the subconscious agent withholds information from the conscious one.

the primary reason is usually that the conscious agent has expressed deep-seated fear or distaste for certain things, so the subconscious agent refuses to communicate those parts of you to it.

for instance, if you have a deep fear or even hatred of violence, you will still have violent thoughts in your mental ecology, but your subconscious will not let your conscious know about them, so moments where the violent thoughts could be processed are missed entirely, and you end up feeling fragmented and stuck and unable to get to where you want to be.

establishing trust between these two parts/agents means attempting not to flinch away or slip off difficult thoughts, and instead trying to understand and integrate those thoughts. and the more you do this, the more the subconscious agent is willing to trust the conscious agent with difficult emotions, and when those emotions are successfully processed and handled, you’ll feel an immense relief.

this is because when your consciousness is separated from your subconsciousness, you are separating yourself from your own ground truth. in fact, you are likely, to use the words of my friend julia rosedale, running an emulation of a subconscious, that acts in (what society would consider) a socially acceptable way. the problem is that when you’re running the emulation, few real feelings get processed, and it’s computationally taxing (i think a lot of anxiety arises from this specifically).

i imagine this is similar to what other neurodivergent people mean when they talk about masking, or what keith johnstone means when he talks about wearing masks, except the “mask” is occurring at a subconscious level, and your conscious agent is simply reacting to a masked subconscious agent