Unconscious Knowledge

Unconscious Knowledge

Throwing off the shackles of traditional thinking has its tradeoffs. One must accept the awesome responsibility of the uncertainty one faces when left adrift in a sea of inexactitude. How am I certain I am on the right road? How am I certain, for instance, that Love is the true path? And how do I know that peace among nations is the best policy? Is it simply because that is what appears to be the most desirable state of affairs? I don’t think so.

I am certain that the way of Love and Peace is the way of Truth. The question is epistemological: how do I know this?

First, I must state what my mode of apprehension is not:

1) It is not a product of emotions

2) It is not a product of inference

3) It is not due to my assent to some objective truth

4) It is not knowledge that has been received from some authority figure

5) It does not originate in the intellect

6) It is not something definable in human language

So, after all this scrutinizing, what am I to conclude? I think there is a mode of apprehension that is beyond the rational intellect. I see it as a mythopoeic, imaginal function that is innate to humans. In everyday vernacular, we say “I know that I know that I know” to indicate our certainty of something. This does not originate in the intellect or simple emotions. This comes from an epistemological source that is non-empirical. The closest word that works here is intuition.

Here, Jung is writing about the human intuition of being immortal:

The intuition of immortality which makes itself felt during the transformation [individuation] is connected with the peculiar nature of the unconscious. It is, in a sense, non-spatial and non-temporal. The empirical proof of this is the occurrence of so-called tele­pathic phenomena, which are still denied by hypersceptical critics, although in reality they are much more common than is generally supposed (The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, p. 142, brackets mine). 

In another place in the same book, he make it more clear:

…I have defined intuition as “perception via the un­conscious” (ibid. p. 283).

 I believe this is accurate. It is the answer to my inquiry.

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