Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Great Subconscious Answer Machine

My friend and colleague Julie G. is not a quizzer. Its not a crime. Now, I could go on about the trials and tribulations of a teacher's daily life in work, but you'll be delighted to know that I won't. However it can be a stressful job, and we find that one of the small things which can help just to relieve the tension from time to time is a snatched 5 minutes during break or lunchtime to have a go at the Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword . The other day we had a quick go before registration - no joy. Break time was slightly better, but at lunchtime we flew through it in double quick time. It was then that Julie made her observation - which went something like this -

In the morning, before registration, relatively few people have already solved the puzzle throughout the country. By breaktime more people have, and by lunchtime even more. So the chances are that the answers are there to be drawn from the 'great collective subconscious ', which all of us apparently have the ability to tap into by lunchtime which makes it easier to complete the crossword at lunchtime than it is earlier in the morning.

Personally I think the fact that you're probably more awake by lunchtime than you are by registration has more to do with it, but lets put that to one side for a moment. What I do really like about the theory is that it would at least give some explanation for those answers which seem to pop into your mind fully formed out of nowhere. Case in point - last Thursday we were asked -
In which London Theatre did John Osbourne's "Look Back In Anger " have its original premier ? Immediately the answer popped out of my mouth "The Royal Court" bypassing my conscious mind completely , so it seemed. Now, OK , I guess that I must have either read it somewhere, or heard it somewhere, and just forgotten about the source of the information. But that's just too prosaic. I love the idea that all the answers are out there, floating around in the collective subconscious, just waiting to be magically tapped into.

Mind you, thinking about it, some people with no morals just use their internet phones to do the same thing anyway.

1 comment:

Quentin Vole said...

Julie's idea is called Morphic Resonance, and was first suggested by Rupert Sheldrake in 1981. An example often given is the sudden spread among British blue tits of the idea of pecking through the foil caps of milk bottles.

Serious experiments have been conducted to investigate this possibility, but (AFAIK) there's no scientific evidence to support it.