Much like its better known cousin, the Moral Compass (MC), there is a Subconscious Wisdom (SW) inside us humans that helps to pull us back on course when we’ve derailed ourselves, or to tug at our attention with mystery tears to mourn the consequences of a *wrong* decision.
Easy to confuse, these two, but they operate in totally different frameworks. The MC is employed in the simpler plane of This World — splicing the rights and the wrongs that most everyone can agree on. To lie or not to lie. To hurt or to protect. The SW, however, moves in the gray spaces between two realms — originating from a world that has broken, Fallen, but still, deeply rooted in us — poking out in green tendrils in its effort to crack through the layered cement peripheries. Creating rubble in its wake, when it breaks.
You see the SW at work when you’re a Christian who can’t quite get behind either political option regarding the hot topic issues of the day — how do we legislate an issue like gay marriage or abortion? When the Bible says a life is a life is a life but society doesn’t provide a viable option for carrying that life to term and being a productive, fully equipped single mom. When the evangelical church points to the examples of Sodom and Gomorrah but you know about love and it doesn’t seem like a decision you should be making on behalf of anyone else, to deny or to allow.
You see the SW at work when a child of divorce spends years self-explaining, justifying, his absentee father’s absenteeism — “This is normal. This is what having a dad is like. This is my dad.” — but inexplicably cries at his elementary school presentation on family. When there’s an innate awareness of brokenness, no matter how you’ve sliced it, diced it, logicked and justified it.
This SW was a tool placed at the core of us, meant to be applied to the workings of an unbroken world. In that original place, we would have been able to listen to its wisdom to make the truly *right* choices — no unintended casualties along the way. But displaced from the garden and forced to operate in this new, bleaker place, this guiding light refracts all funny, too. Broken shafts of light in a broken cathedral.
It’s easy to manipulate this idea: at any twinge of discomfort with a decision, to blame it on the broken world and the impossibility of avoiding casualties with the choices you make. Setting up vigilant systems of logic so you don’t actually have to make any hard choices, but just apply a problem to your problem-solving algorithm — lowest-common-denominator solutions. Least-casualty output. Or, paralyzed by fear, to run away from decisions of any kind (which, of course, isn’t actually an option).
But even in this imperfection, there’s something to be said about this wisdom of ours. Light, refracted or not, illuminates. The work that’s left to us is the peering carefully in the semi-darkness. The wading through the gray. But to listen to that twinge provided by the SW. To be still, to be quiet, when that ancient voice will have you pause and consider the decision before you (or maybe already behind you).
All this to say, there’s quite a bit to look forward to in that heaven place. For light to meet light, glorious and unfettered by brokeny cement walls.