Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What Do We Know? Not Ourselves.

An article on Live Science tells us that scientists think that human beings don't have a solid understanding of how their own brains and consciousness work:

"So when it comes to our actions, consciousness really just skims the surface. Most of what drives what we do is embedded in neural networks not readily accessible by conscious thought, said Joseph LeDoux, a neuroscientist at New York University.
“The intuitive everyday idea about the sense of self and its control over behavior is as incorrect as the idea that the earth is flat,” Morsella agreed. Although we think of ourselves as independent agents, we’re not. Everything we do is influenced by unconscious processes and our environment, he added. "

The article also compares the workings of the brain to a Wi-Fi Network. I remember when our brains were IBM Mainframes, or clocks. We don't really have good metaphors for ourselves either.

Buddha was telling us about the illusory nature of the self 2500 years ago. So it is not surprising that scientists are finally looping back around to discover that we know a lot about the world but almost nothing about ourselves.

Personally, I think human consciousness is like a Blog. Most of the content is shaped by systems and templates created by mysterious subconscious servers arranged in googleplexes. And our eyes are like an iPhone, only less expensive. And our ears are like Bluetooth headsets, but easier to connect to that damn iPhone. And our memories are like MP3 players, but they don't have a true random setting and keep repeating the same old tracks from the 80s. I can feel it, coming in the air tonight. Oh Lord. I think this metaphor is like a mysterious tiki god with burning red eyes surfing on the surface of consciousness with a PDA. Sometimes a PDA is just a PDA, but cigars are never just cigars Tiki Man. Well, if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand. I've seen your face before my friend, But I don't know if you know who I am.

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