Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Relevant quote from Self Comes to Mind

I like the following quote from Self Comes to Mind, relevant to recent enquiry
"The ultimate consciousness product occurs from those numerous brain sites at the same time and not in one site in particular, much as the performance of a symphonic piece does not come from the work of a single musician or even from a whole section of an orchestra. The oddest thing about the upper reaches of a consciousness performance is the conspicuous absence of a conductor before the performance begins, although, as the performance unfolds, a conductor comes into being. For all intents and purposes, a conductor in now leading the orchestra, although the performance has created the conductor--the self--not the other way around. The conductor is cobbled together by feelings and by a narrative brain device, although this fact does not make the conductor any less real. The conductor undeniably exists in our minds, and nothing is gained by dismissing it as an illusion" (25).


  1. Recall this from Churchland in this post:*

    "But what is the 'self' of self-control? What am I? In essence, the self is a construction of the brain; a real, but brain-dependent organisational network for monitoring body states, setting priorities and, within the brain itself, creating the separation between inner world and outer world.... Does that mean my self is not real? On the contrary. It is every bit as real as the three-dimensional world we see, or the future we prepare for, or the past we remember. It is a tool tuned, in varying degrees, to the reality of brain and world."

    * http://integralpostmetaphysicalnonduality.blogspot.com/2013/01/patricia-churchland-on-free-will.html

  2. Some more from Self Comes to Mind:

    "Still, most important decisions are taken long before the time of execution, within the conscious mind, where they can be simulated and tested and where conscious control can potentially minimize the effect of nonconscious biases. Eventually the exercise of decisions can be honed into a skill with the help on nonconscious mind processing, the submerged operations of our mind in matters of general knowledge and reasoning often referred to as the cognitive unconscious. Conscious decisions begin with reflection, simulation, and testing in the conscious mind; that process can be completed and rehearsed in the nonconscious mind, from which freshly selected actions can be executed" (288).


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