The book is getting more and more fantastical as we read on. As Alberto comes up with his secret plan, weaving in hints about it while teaching Sophie about Darwin and Freud, he mentions Freud’s emphasis on the subconscious of our minds.
In AP psych, we learned about how many of our actions may be driven by unconscious urges or desires. Many people don’t realize the power of our unconscious because when they remember things they did, they rationalize what they did using the most plausible reason their conscious minds fill the gap with.
The unconscious is most obvious when looking at the various states of consciousness people live in. While being awake, or conscious, and asleep, unconscious, are the most obvious; there are many states in-between. These can happen naturally, when very relaxed or tired, or be induced with drugs or even hypnotism. As Alberto suggests that the major may not be completely aware of his thoughts during or after his writing, there are many situations when people aren’t aware of what they are doing or have done. We studied a case in psychology where, once in a state of semi-consciousness induced by a hypnotist, a woman was convinced the number 4 didn’t exist!
I think it would be fascinating to be able to see or record people’s thoughts when in these altered states of consciousness. Truly unique ideas are created during free association- such as writing a philosophy book where the characters are aware they are being manipulated- and they are usually lost when the person wakes up and their thoughts are mediated by the ego and superego.