Freud talked about the unconscious and the pre-conscious.
The unconscious is the suppressed elements of the mental processes, and the preconscious is the parts which are not yet either expressed or suppressed.
And he argues that the "subconscious" is too ambiguous a term to be meaningful.
I'll give him one on that last, but I wanted him to admit that "unconscious", "preconscious" and "conscious" are also rather ambiguous classifications, not forming a true partition.
What we suppress changes from moment to moment. So does what slides in-and-out of focus.
If I wanted to make the divisions he makes, I would do it this way:
- deliberate thought processes
- non-deliberate thought processes
I would make another set of classifications, cutting across the first set, dividing by the topics they cover:
- topics of focus
- topics out of focus
- suppressed topics
- forgotten topics
But the third is not just a subset of the first two. Whether we have deliberately suppressed a topic or not, the question of focus cannot be answered reliably. This may be somewhat the class Freud was intending by pre-conscious.
Forgotten topics are not just out-of-focus. They are in cold storage.
In a computer system, the first class of topics would somewhat correspond to data in cache. (Except there are hard limits to computer cache, not so much to our minds' cache.) The second class of topics would be data in high-speed store (RAM, in current systems). The fourth would be data stored on disk (or tape, etc.) in persistent store, indexed and addressable, but it takes a while to get at it.
The third would be discarded data, results that seemed, at the time, to unnecessary or even counter to the goal of solution. If a computer system is capable of bringing the discarded data back, it is data that must be regenerated, recalculated, re-indexed, etc.
This is one of the remaining differences between human cognition and mechanical reasoning -- Humans generally can, if they have enough motivation, bring suppressed topics into memory and into focus. Computer systems generally (still) require human intervention to do so.
There are at least four more classes of thoughts that need to be considered:
- social consciousness
- divine revelation
- false revelation
Revelation, of course, is off the board when it comes to scientific discussion.
Wait. I want to refine this last list:
- internal thought processes
- socially imposed thought processes
- other beneficial thought processes
- other anti-beneficial externally thought processes
Internal thought processes includes the following:
- instinct from patterns in our genetic material,
- para-instinctual patterns from our existence in the pre-birth spiritual realm,
- habitual and other patterns from our mortal lives to the present,
- and our own active thoughts, the ones we are most responsible for.
Socially imposed thought processes include
- trained patterns -- most of what we refer to as "common sense",
- lessons of social propriety -- obligation and duty, etc.,
- reactive thought processes -- analytic, semi-analytic, confirmative, etc.,
- rebellion processes,
By "other beneficial" I mean various forms of revelations from good sources -- words of warning and encouragement from angels, some of whom are mortal and some of whom are not. Also, scripture, and the more direct revelation from what the Christians call the Holy Spirit.
Mortal angels would include friends and family in their positive moments, some church members who influence us for good, influential teachers, and so forth. They may not be official messengers from God, but they do bring us good and helpful things to think about, and the confirmative feelings by which we generally recognize that there is something worth listening to, checking, pursuing.
I'm not going to talk about immortal angels because God will do what He will do, and there really is not much use talking about that. For the same reasons these sorts of things are not subject to scientific inquiry, they are not generally of much use except to those who receive them.
But I will say this, they are more common than we generally recognize. We have a certain blindness.
The Holy Spirit is, among other things, the primary source of our conscience. I won't say much about this either, except that if you believe there is anything true and good, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that you believe it. I'm not saying you are a closet Christian, I'm saying that the Holy Spirit is so universal, so ubiquitous. And we often can't see the forest for the trees.
If we believe in love and truth and good, the influence that gives us the confidence to believe is what I call the Holy Spirit. If we find ourselves questioning the errors and excesses of certain religionists, partisans, politicalists, charismats, it may be the same Holy Spirit telling us that they've gone too far.
Anti-beneficial external influences? Well, yes, I did mean to talk about the adversary of our souls and those who follow him. Father of lies -- 99% truth so as to pervert it all and undo it all with that 1% lie.
But refraining from talking about the devil is a good idea, anyway. Much more beneficial to talk about good things and good influences and our relationships to them.