Unthought Known

by Tanya Monteiro on 03/20/2019

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Can’t recall which podcast I heard this phrase but it’s been bounding around in my mind for weeks – The unthought known.

To me it goes a long way in describing what we think but don’t have words for, or what we don’t think but do feel, and still don’t have words for.

As I started to search for more information I came across a Perl Jam song with the same title and was struck by these words.

“All the thoughts you never see
You are always thinking”

I’m a long way off thinking this through fully but I’m sharing it cause it’s so profound to me. For most of my childhood I did not have words for my feelings, I still find it hard but I just love it when I learn something that describes what I’ve not been able to describe simply.

Here’s that Perl Jam song;

And the Wiki description of “Unknown known”

Unthought known – “It’s is a phrase coined by Christopher Bollas in the 1980s to represent those experiences in some way known to the individual, but about which the individual is unable to think.”

“At its most compelling, the unthought known stands for those early schemata for interpreting the object world that preconsciously determine our subsequent life expectations.[1] In this sense, the unthought known refers to preverbal, unschematised early experience/trauma that may determine one’s behaviour unconsciously, barred to conscious thought.[2]

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