To introduce her book, alternative health consultant Felicia Drury Kliment begins, “It’s a way of thinking we seldom use today….” Given some current trends, a reader might assume Kliment is referring to a thorough and realistic way of thinking.
But it’s just the opposite.
In her book The Subconscious: Your Port in the Storm, Kliment encourages us to make decisions based solely on the subconscious — a term she is unable to sufficiently define.
She does use the term interchangeably with “intuition,” and contrasts it directly against scientific reasoning, writing that the subconscious “has been eclipsed by the scientific method, often referred to as ‘deduction.’”
Though most of the book is dedicated to providing evidence of the subconscious, Kliment steers clear of research and is forced to stick with insubstantial stories, because even the notion of empirical study conflicts with the book’s proposition. Between the woman at the supermarket who believes she predicted the weight of a melon by the power of her subconscious and her nine-year-old son who suggests that she guessed correctly since she has weighed a lot of melons before, Kliment declares Mom the winner.
She admonishes us to “break the hold of your conscious mind making bad decisions with limited information.” But rather than just praise the subconscious and bring it into context, Kliment ventures to criticize decision-making based on logic, learning, and experience. She tells a story about a student she taught who loved history. She labels the boy as having lower intelligence, but says he overachieved and outperformed others in the subject because of his subconscious — no mention of conscious study, emotional involvement, or time commitment.
She recommends that we make major life decisions based on a sense of intuition — decisions about which careers to pursue, where to live, and even whom to marry. She praises a woman who claimed that while walking past a man in a theater aisle she knew immediately the two were destined to marry, without need of dating, talking, or even knowing the other’s name.
The book leads one to consider mistakes of all sizes that could result from such a mindset, but Kliment doesn’t require the reader to come up with a dangerous example, because she provides her own. While outside her home, she writes, two women approached her with a significant amount of cash, including what one of the strangers purported to be a $1,000 bill. The women said they had come upon the money randomly and that they should all share it, rationalizing that it was probably money laundered by a drug dealer.
Out of excitement to cash in, Kliment writes, she accepted the strangers’ insistence to travel in their car and split the cash evenly. Then, she tells us, while stepping into the car, her subconscious saved her by reminding her of a time she heard someone say to never get in the car of someone you don’t know. She writes, “The women then went on to their next victim.”
Kliment claims to have not consciously reasoned that it was odd for strangers to approach her and offer her money, or that she shouldn’t accept the money without a clue as to its source, or even that she should not put herself in such a vulnerable position as two strangers’ backseat.
I’m not criticizing the idea of a subconscious, but defending conscious reasoning as part of decision-making. (For instance, let’s keep Kliment’s pitch miles away from lawmakers — agree?)
Amid a slew of inconsistencies, Kliment goes from admonishing readers to become less fixated on themselves to then specifying how to pay close attention to the mind, focus on the subconscious, and practice ways to dismiss conscious thoughts. For someone of a similar mindset and vague imagination who wishes all coincidences and ironies were magic, the book could be fascinating and full of enchanting stories. That outlook would immediately swing one of Kliment’s stories from disheartening to fascinating: a man who studied cats being killed in a car accident because he swerved to avoid hitting a cat in the road.
Going from one anecdote to the next, Kliment neglects to expand on illustrations or to corroborate them. Instead, she expects the reader to put a subconscious stamp on every instance without reflecting on other applicable concepts such as predisposition, connection between loved ones, auras, and muscle memory.
There are two possibilities for the book to be a good read. The reader could consider Kliment a storyteller, and enjoy the book by simply reading it as a novel. Or, the reader could share with Kliment a wish to be psychic.
Someone who finds space for logic in their lives, however, should not waste time on one page.
The Subconscious: Your Port in the Storm
Archway Publishing, February 2014
Hardcover, 248 pages