Consciousness is a very slow kind of mechanism. If you do not properly command a certain language, for example, and have to take in every word consciously to consciously fit the appropriate meaning and images to it, that’s very slow work.
The Unconscious, on the other hand, is mighty quick. How else can you explain the understanding of a book or speech, typing, car-driving and the like.
To know what we are doing or thinking, we must switch our attention to the self-same thing, i.e., think: What am I thinking?, or rather: What was I thinking?. The self is a subject of consideration for our thoughts, as is a problem, a book or a tree. We have to look at ourselves as if we were looking into an internal mirror.
This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to know one’s own self. Others can do it better, they can watch us and have more symptoms to go on, face, manners, expressions, hands etc, which we have not.
All this is not so important for the thing we are doing or talking about, but for our own motives. Conclusions can be drawn from our appearance, our way of saying things, emotions connected with them which we are not aware of, and which we ourselves might never be able to notice.
Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Let me try to make this clear.
Everybody knows what we understand by ‘interests’. We can easily discern interests in others, their interest in poetry or politics, horse racing or housekeeping, girls or boys.
Now, how do you know your own interests? Think. Can anybody tell me?
Difficult, isn’t it? And interests are comparatively simple! We have even more trouble if we endeavor to make out the powers, the forces that are behind those interests. We’d have to find answers to questions like: Why this interest? Why that interest now, in these circumstances?, in other words:
We’d have to find our motives.
[More about motives in the next part of Jupp’s talk “On Psychology” in 1941. These are his notes, slightly modified for better readability.]