How much can we be aware?

My thesis, in sum, revolves around these premises: The mind can protect itself against anxiety by dimming awareness. This mechanism creates a blind spot: a zone of blocked attention and self-deception. Such blind spots occur at each major level of behavior from the psychological to the social.

Lacunas are psychological analogues of the opioids and their antiattention effects. Lacunas are black holes of the mind, diverting attention from select bits of subjective reality - specifically, certain anxiety-evoking information. They operate on attention like a magician misdirecting his audience to look over there, while over here a key prop slips out of sign.

The notion of schemas is itself a schema. As such, it is the most promising account we have to explain to ourselves. Schemas are the organizing dynamic of knowledge. To realize how they operate is to understand understanding. Schemas not only determine what we will notice: they also determine what we do not notice.

Consciousness, we have seen, runs along parallel, interlinked tracks, most of them outside awareness; awareness is the last stop - and not always an essential one - in the flow of information through the mind. Crucial decisions as to what should and should not enter awareness are made in the unconscious mind. Thus that essentially human ability, self-awareness, brings with it the capacity for self-deception.

--Daniel Goleman

How much can we be aware?

If we constantly had to qualify every assessment of those around us, how would we make sense of the world?

--Anthony de Mello

How much can we be aware?

No, self-analysis is impossible. You cannot psychoanalyse yourself because you cannot face the factors that would offend your own opinion of your ego.

--A. S. Neill