Consciousness
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Consciousness
It's a mystery...
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The brain runs its show incognito

The brain runs its show incognito | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Eagleman’s new book, Incognito, examines the unconscious part of our brains — the complex neural networks that are constantly fighting one another and influencing how we act, the things we’re attracted to, and the thoughts that we have.

 

Eagleman refers to consciousness as “a tiny stowaway on a transatlantic steamship, taking credit for the journey without acknowledging the massive engineering underfoot.” His book investigates this fact and its implications in decision making. He explains how the mind does enormous amount of work to reach the moment when you can gleefully say, “I just thought of something!” He emphasizes how we often take credit for our ideas without considering the “the vast, hidden machinery behind the scenes.”

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Mariana Soffer's comment, August 3, 2012 6:08 AM
This rocks
gregorylent's comment, August 3, 2012 9:55 AM
yet still, rooted in phrenology 2.0, thinking meat makes consciousness ... tell me mr. eagleman, what is the magic that drives the brain?
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The User Illusion: Cutting Consiousness Down to Size

The User Illusion: Cutting Consiousness Down to Size | Consciousness | Scoop.it

In his book The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size Danish science journalist Tor Norretranders presents a scientifically sound and intellectually stimulating theory of conscious experience. “The user illusion” refers to a computer users idea of how the computer works based on how they interact with it. The bits and bytes are concealed by a largely metaphorical, extremely simplified, and not necessarily accurate illusion. Norretranders central thesis is that consciousness is our user illusion of ourselves. Consciousness arises after much information has been discarded. Conscious experience is a manageable distillation, essence, of our extremely rich raw experience. The User Illusion is incredibly readable in spite of its plethora of references. Norretranders pulls from innumerable sources, most notably Gödel, Libet, and Shannon. He integrates a wide array of prior research, tying together ideas from information theory, thermodynamics, physics, psychology, and philosophy to substantiate his theory; this is indeed the strongest aspect of the book.

 

Norretranders builds his theory of consciousness on the tenants of information theory. He makes sure the reader understands the basics before he applies them to his broader claims. The take home message is the notion of information and exformation. Exformation is discarded information. Norretrander uses the example of grocery shopping, among others. At the register the prices of the individual items are summed, it is this number, the total, that we are interested in. The sum is useful to us, it tells us how much money to take out of our wallet, the individual prices are not, they are irrelevant once we obtain the total. The author then extrapolates to consciousness, explaining that a huge amount of information must be discarded along the path from unconscious to conscious experience.

 

via Serendip's Exchange

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