In 1956, George A. Miller published his famous paper “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.” In essence, this means that our conscious minds can handle between five and nine “chunks” of information simultaneously. So we can hold a seven-digit phone number in our consciousness for a couple of seconds unless we write it down, or commit it to memory. Once it’s committed to memory, it’s in our subconscious mind, and different rules apply for our unconscious mind.
Our conscious mind can handle seven plus or minus two chunks of information simultaneously.
It’s a good thing that our unconscious minds are not limited. Our unconscious minds can handle millions of chunks of information simultaneously. If our unconscious mind could only handle nine pieces of information simultaneously, I’d say OK, 1) let’s keep the heart beating 2) Better keep that digestion going 3) Must remember the blood flow. 4) Oh, yeah, let’s process images coming in through the eyes. 5) Yep, some nasty bugs out there, keep on top of the immune system. 6) Better be aware of how the left small toe feels. 7) Must remember to process those sounds, the mother in law might be saying something important. 8) What’s that smell? 9) There’s still a remnant of a taste from lunchtime in my mouth 10) Oh, oh breathing, must remember that – oops, what was the first item on the list again.
Our conscious mind can handle a trickle of information; our unconscious minds can handle a massive, surging flood of information.
Our unconscious mind keeps track of everything that is going on in and around our body simultaneously. In terms of information flow, our conscious minds can feel the equivalent of a trickle from a tap. In comparison, your unconscious mind can handle the equivalent of the flow over Niagara Falls. For example, every time somebody says something to you, your unconscious mind simultaneously fires off all the associations it has with that word, analyses the context, and immediately sends the correct meaning and interpretation to your conscious mind. Imagine trying to do that consciously!
You may have heard of near-death experiences, where a person’s whole life flashed in front of them. Perhaps these are hallucinatory. However, it’s an impressive amount of information in a few seconds, regardless of whether it’s real or hallucination. Wilder Penfield was the famous pioneering neurosurgeon who was the first to create maps of the sensory and motor cortices of the brain. He reported in his paper “Memory Mechanisms” that some of his patients (less than 5% of them) re-experienced full vivid memories of their past when individual neurons in the temporal lobe have stimulation, but modern neurosurgeons have not replicated this. The only sure thing about memory is that it is unreliable.
When a person’s entire life flashes in front of them, it’s an impressive amount of information in a few seconds, regardless of whether it’s real or imaginary.
Einstein said that “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Time is relative to how fast we are moving. Our internal concept of time is comparable to what we are experiencing. If you were to stop for a second and think of a time, you were excruciatingly bored, and just when you thought it was over, they started something else. Time seemed to go slowly, didn’t it! The time on the clock went at the same rate since you probably weren’t traveling near the speed of light! Now stop, and think of a time when you were having fun, and notice how time seemed to pass fast, even though the time on the clock went at an average speed. Time contraction and expansion are functions that your unconscious mind knows how to do already.
What if you could make time seem to go more slowly when you are enjoying what you are doing? (Perhaps you’ve already experienced an intense romantic experience or experiences where time seemed to stand still!). What if you could make time seem to go faster when things are unpleasant.
Clock Time is relative to speed. Perceived Time is relative to what you are experiencing. When bored, time seems to go slowly. While enjoying the experience, time seems to go fast.
When using hypnosis, it’s possible to combine the powers of your unconscious mind to
Do many things simultaneously
What this means is that you can do a lot of things in your imagination, in a short amount of clock time, and it can seem as if a long time has passed in your awareness.