I got this phrase from a Stephen King novel. The phrase has a meaning behind it that requires some contemplation. It has to do with the opposite of what your inclination might be when you are trying to solve something complicated, or working on something really tough. When you are trying to solve a major problem, you naturally want to think about it a lot. Your active, conscious mind wants to go into overdrive. You dwell on it, obsess on it, keep cramming more and more into your mind all the while thinking that you are helping.
Reality is that there comes a point when the active brain has done all that it can do and it is time to let the subconscious go to work and this requires suspending active thought for a while. You just get filled up to the brim and you cannot process any more. The subconscious does the heavily lifting, sorting organizing, working things out. What you need to do is figure out how to suspend your mind for awhile and let the boys in the basement do the hard part.
The boys in the basement is meaningful for many reasons. First of all, the concept of boys means a immature, impulsive and rowdy group of natural instincts, and primal forces at work deep withing your subconscious. Basement refers to the lowest part of your soul, the part you have no active knowledge of. So when you let the internal side of you go to work, you are doing so, knowing very little of what actually is happening. However, it is with full understanding that the human soul, the collective of the mind and all its various parts is more powerful than you realize. Numerous scientific studies have been done on the effects on learning, growth, development and a variety of other things that the subconscious has on us. Recognize that sometimes you have done enough processing with the active mind. You have thought all that you can. Time to let the other part of your mind get to work for a while.
There are many ways to accomplish this. Probably the worse is watching TV or something similar. You do not want your active mind processing anything during this time when the boys are at work. Quiet meditation, a quiet walk, light sleep, or just sitting somewhere quietly for a long period of time will all work well. Amazing how some of us will complain that we are so stressed out, overwhelmed, really mentally exhausted and at the same time have never really given our active minds a respite. We are constantly filling it with active thoughts. You need to suspend the mind now and then, it is a requirement to let the subconscious work things out for you.
If you do not believe, it is because you have never tried. Next time you have a challenge or a problem take a long walk that has no purpose or direction. Just walk. Do not think about anything, do not listen to music. Whenever you have a thought, think, oh that is a nice thought. Let it hang there for a minute and let it drift a way. Keep doing that for as long as you can. After a while, the subconscious will bring the active problem back to your mind again. Often times when this occurs, you will have a new way to look at the problem. The boys will done their work and are making a suggestion. It is amazing how many complicated problems I have solved by simply just taking a walk around the neighborhood and thought about nothing.
I’d like to know what book you got “the boys in the basement” from. I’ve looked in “on writing” and I cant’ find it.
I got this from a commentary interview I heard with Stephen King on his novel the Shining.