We only do what makes sense to us whether un.consciously Bacellart Psyc

We only do what makes sense to us whether consciously or unconsciously (more – or – less).

     A classic universal question is: “What is the meaning of life?” We understand that each person assigns or absorbs a particular meaning, and that meaning can change. For a minority, who don’t have a satisfactory answer to this question, it can cause anxiety (a feeling of strangeness, a disconnection from existence, questioning who they are), which is very uncomfortable. However, for these few, it’s still uncommon to feel this way. Regardless, I want to highlight how important it is to have a ‘purpose’ in what we do and think; because we only do what makes sense to us.

© Copyright – Bacellart, Psychologist USP. This essay can be reproduced, in whole or in part, as long as the author and source are cited.

We only do what makes sense to us – Key points:

  1. Meaning refers to purpose, projects, plans, or what we feel destined to do.
  2. Understanding meaning is personal value, something we agree with in terms of its significance or opinion, so it is unique to each person.
  3. Can be Meaning ambiguous and change.
  4. Meaning can be conscious or unconscious (more or less).
  5. Unconscious meaning can have such power that a person might do or think something that doesn’t make sense consciously.

     “Why would an anxious person, given a medical diagnosis, avoid therapy and continue to eat poorly?” For them, therapy might not make enough sense, and their eating habits may not seem problematic enough to change something they enjoy and find emotionally comforting. The medical recommendation made sense to them, but psychologically and likely partly unconsciously, they don’t feel strong enough to change. A more rational understanding isn’t enough to alter something deeply felt. For example, when someone feels emotional discomfort, like sadness, they can’t “choose” to stop feeling sad or to feel happy just because it makes sense.

    The Unconscious:

We don’t have complete control over ourselves. Often, what makes sense to our unconscious doesn’t align with our conscious mind. Sometimes the unconscious “takes over” certain actions, thoughts, and feelings. For instance, a person who can’t say no to others, even though they know it’s not good for them, might have an unconscious or semi-conscious need to please others. This makes sense to their unconscious, so they agree to do things for others, which ultimately serves their own need for approval and affection from those they help.

     Whether conscious or unconscious (more or less). For example: the meaning behind a person no longer being able to do various activities they used to do might be due to intellectual exhaustion. This is the ‘reason,’ as they need to relax. Since we don’t have absolute, premeditated, rational control over our personality, actions, thoughts, and emotions, if a person stops doing several activities, it is because they need to.

Alien Hallucination, Makes Sense in the Delusion, It’s Just Another Form of Sense.

“I am chosen by God to purify humanity, so i need to kill a certain politician” – even if it only makes sense to the individual.

We only do what makes sense to us:

Philosophers Who Help Us Explore This Topic:

Heidegger, Sartre, Husserl, Arendt; since they were not psychologists, did not understand our ‘unconscious,’ and did not undergo psychotherapy/analysis, they could not advance such a fundamental topic in understanding human beings, considering psychological and practical life issues. But I quote a phrase from Viktor Frankl, an important psychotherapist, on this topic: “An individual’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in their life.”

Why Do We Act/Think This Way?

The term ‘sense’ will be presented as we talk about it in everyday life, being something we agree with; but note, it aligns with each individual’s values and their ‘unconscious,’ which (more or less) exerts power over our actions, thoughts, and feelings. Another point: what makes sense to one person might not make any sense to another.

Language and Sense:

      A life without meaning is unhealthy. We give and/or receive meaning to everything, and like ‘in language,’ including with ourselves when we have a ‘conversation’ with ourselves. Thinking, feeling, doing: it’s all in language, which allows understanding. Even if you think “I don’t know what that noise outside the house is,” it is already an understanding: ‘a strange noise.’ If there were no ‘language with meanings,’ we couldn’t communicate, reflect on something, or exist. As Heidegger says, “Language is the house of being.” If language didn’t make sense, life would be “disoriented.” So, it is necessary for this language to make sense to us. And as it is in our way of being, directed towards the future, it guides us with purpose, so we only do what makes sense to us.

Doing is Based on Trust and Sense for Ourselves, with Others, and in the World:

     Generally, with few exceptions, in our lives, we are always doing something, solving problems (even for leisure), sleeping, thinking, everything. This doing [which can (more or less) be unconscious] is ‘enabled,’ so to speak, by the initial “energy” of trust (hope) that it will be accomplished; and oriented by the ‘sense’ that a certain action (future) makes to us. For example, as a volunteer distributing meals; the person believes they will be able to deliver the food, and it is an action that makes sense to them. Even before performing the charitable act, they already feel satisfied with themselves for achieving something so important to them, already thinking ahead, even telling their loved ones about how it went. This doing was for themselves, as they chose what was interesting to do in their free time, helping others, and the type of help that also interested them.

Acting ‘for oneself’ is what we must do because, as mentioned, we are always doing something, hoping to achieve it, and agreeing with its meaning. This ‘for oneself’ has nothing to do with egocentrism or ‘negative narcissism.’ For example, for a mother to breastfeed her baby, she needs to feed herself first to have a healthy body to nurse… for what is most important in life… her child. Taking care of what is most important to her, even giving her life for it, is taking care of herself first and foremost; however, always with some reference to others and to existence (life, things).


We Only Do What Makes Sense to Us (Consciously or Unconsciously):

     We don’t do what doesn’t make sense to us, whether consciously or unconsciously. But people often ask or comment, “War doesn’t make sense!” According to your ethical and moral values, no. But for a certain country, ethnicity, or group, it does, which is why they are at war. “But it’s absurd, deaths, suffering, what’s the point?” The ‘purpose’ for those who started the conflict can be various: expanding territory to become richer, initiating a social revolution they believe will benefit the population, or perhaps a sadistic, megalomaniac, or egocentric disturbance of the leader who started the atrocity. “That’s wrong, obviously!” To you, yes, but not to them.

     Here, I am not judging, giving my opinion, or justifying atrocities, merely stating that, generally (with a few exceptions), humans only do what makes sense to them, consciously or unconsciously, because it doesn’t make sense for a human to do what doesn’t make sense.

Sense as a Project for Heidegger – Or Our Meaningful Project:

     In our existence, we are ‘thrown’ ‘towards,’ projected into the future. The future is the primary time in human temporality. Temporality is the “time” of humans, different from the mechanical ‘chronos’ time of the clock. The past (memories, learnings) comes second, and the present, now, which passes every second, comes last. We have ‘goals, plans, objectives, hope,’ all these words refer to the future. For example: a person wants to know what they will do (in the future) on their work vacation. They will think about what they did in past vacations to have references, decide what they want (future), then “return” to the present and execute the decision.

     Later, they think about how to prepare for the trip, like buying winter clothes (for something that hasn’t happened yet, the trip, because they have the trust (project/meaning) that it will occur, the hope, and act to prepare for it). Therefore, if the future “didn’t exist,” as is sometimes said in everyday life, there would be no reason for them to worry about deciding what to do on vacation since ‘now’ it doesn’t exist.

Trust in Others and the World* – Humans Only Do What Makes Sense to Them:

     Generally, a well-cared-for baby (more or less) during its development ‘gains’ the ability to trust others and the world* (the world understood as life, like believing that the ceiling won’t collapse). Trust is in what makes sense to us and in hope, in something that will be a gain. For example: a person feels that studying architecture makes sense, they ‘trust’ / have hope they will work in what they like, have a better financial situation, meaning they will be in a situation that makes ‘sense,’ of gain. I call this ‘confident caring with sense,’ taking care (doing) and trusting (believing it will happen) in what ‘directs’ them.

     “So humans only do what makes sense to them? Even in things that are bad for them?”. Yes, because it makes sense as again.

  • “What’s the sense in smoking?” – It can be to stay calm, follow what others do to feel included, etc.
  • “What’s the sense in self-harming?” – It can be relief from guilt, alleviating psychological suffering through a ‘greater connection’ with the body, etc.
  • “What’s the sense in making wrong choices?” – At that moment, the person believed it was the right (or best) choice.
  • “What’s the sense in being masochistic?” – The pleasure, as with everyone, but they get this pleasure in a rare ‘sexual game.’
  • “What’s the sense in ‘liking to suffer’?” – That doesn’t exist. As in the previous example, what has a negative sense for you, in the masochist’s ‘sexual game,’ is pleasurable for them. There’s no purpose in liking something that harms you.
  • “What’s the sense of maintaining behavior that the person themselves recognizes as harmful, like ‘not saying no’ to others and having problems because of it, even saying they don’t like being that way?” – It’s possible that, because of what this person went through, especially as a baby and child, they didn’t receive (or received very little) the love we need, and/or received the opposite, mistreatment. So, unconsciously, they continue doing their best to receive this love, trying to please others, as they “know” they will be well-regarded and approved.
  • “What’s the sense of procrastinating or being ‘lazy’ (disinterested) about doing something important, even in their own opinion?” – Likely, it’s something the person (who can generally be quite energetic) doesn’t see the sense in doing immediately and knows they will do it by the deadline.

     Remember that sense is unique (to each person) and temporal (it changes over time):

  • “What’s the sense in self-sabotage?” – It doesn’t exist because it doesn’t make sense to harm yourself. In this case, the person, unconsciously (more or less), did what makes sense to them, as in the examples of gastronomy and ‘not saying no to others.’
  • “What’s the sense of a farmer having a job they hate; almost like a slave for the amount of effort they put in and the meager pay they receive?” – Initially (for example), they need that meager salary for their and their family’s survival. They might also not know how to do something else and/or have no better opportunities.
  • “What’s the sense of suicide?” – There are many cases where the person had an ‘uncontrollable impulse’ and didn’t plan it. But generally, this ‘shortening the inevitable’ is to end intense suffering and absolute loss in the sense (trust) in existence and in relationships with others.
  • “What’s the sense of living a life that doesn’t make sense?” – The vast majority of people live a life that makes sense to them, whether ‘absorbed’ from parents (guardians) and/or society or through self-conscious decision.


We only do what makes sense to us whether un.consciously psychologist

I Hope this helps!

We only do what makes sense to us whether un.consciously – Bacellart psychologist.

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