"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." - Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau was talking about unfulfilled potentials, at best; participating in a rat-race you did not sign up for, at worst.
Quiet desperation is like an engine design that's done wrong. It works but it's unnecessarily sluggish.
There exist a class of desperation so quiet that you don't know you know it's there.
Here's a recap of The Rumsfeld Matrix:
|Known||Things you've learned||Things you've mastered|
|Unknown||Things you know exist but is ignorant about||Things you cannot even conceive|
Unknown-unknowns are usually the most interesting part in this matrix, but we won't talk about it here.
The focus here is on unknown-knowns. Things that belong here are one of two extremes. The good extreme are things you've habitualized, like clicking 'agree' on terms-of-services, you don't even know you're doing it anymore. Any craft practiced to mastery will be a display of unknown-knowns.
The bad extreme is a form of quiet desperation you don't know exist in your head. In the attempt of making it known, you do not have the capacity to express them.
We shall call these unthoughts.
Unthoughts cannot be found by thinking harder. Very few problems in the world are solved by thinking harder in the same direction. Finding unthoughts by thinking harder is like imagining a sound you've never heard of before.
Unthoughts got there partly from social influences, learned desires and yearnings. Seeing your friend's nice car makes you want one, for instance. It's not a desire you independently derive but cargo-culted from. Desire to be unreasonably virtuous learned this way is no less an unthought.
Some unthoughts are incomplete, broken pieces of ideas that are waiting to find its whole. They are under no obligation to be congruent with each other.
They come in different stages of maturity. Like individual children housed in the same room, the loudest unthought (not necessarily most mature) tends to drown out the softer ones.
Crapware they may be, unthoughts are treasure trove for truths you need to learn to handle. Played right, they are vehicles for exploits.
To detect and unveil unthoughts, few conventional methods come to mind: meditations and psychedelics. Meditation is costly in time and willpower; psychedelics are reputedly inconsistent in outcome (I can't speak to that).
There are progmatic reasons for why meditations and psychedelics are not widely (relatively) practiced. In the context of unthoughts, they are rather like swatting a fly with an iPad.
To get more real, unthoughts are what good arts are meant to unveil. They take shape in the form of films, TVs, novels, paintings, poetry and music. Good tweets et al might even join the ranks of poetry. Some games are certainly high art, though its utility for unthoughts remains to be seen.
Good art is challenging. They do not hand you the message on a silver platter. Sometimes its not conscious of its own message. There is no guarantee of pay off. When it resonates, they do so in ways that the creator may not even intend to. Your analysis for them becomes a valid extension to the art itself.
Your reading for the art is often a projection of your own biased mental models. Within them are where your unthoughts hide.
Art is by far the cheapest method. For guys, there is another avenue: get into fist fights. For some men, there is in fact no better way.
Martial art puts you in System-1 mode entirely. You have only your skills applied in reflexes only. There is no place for thoughts in how your fists and body move, only unthoughts.
After all, how well do you know yourself if you've never been in a fight? ;)
No matter the method, it hinges on you being observant towards your thought-stream by developing a third-eye view.
This has gone long enough without covering what to do about unthoughts after unveiling them.
I do have an agenda for developing a mapping framework for laying out distinct internal-players but let's see how that goes.
Touching on general strategies, the game is about subtraction after you've collected enough yearnings. The less you want, the freer you are. The older you needs to die for the new you to take place.
Without a coherent strategy though, turning off desires randomly simply leads to unfulfilled potential. A map is needed for selectively toggle yearnings like a configuration panel.
Once the psyche players are mapped, then only are we sufficiently prepared to eat our shadow, Jungian style.