The Consciousness Lie

It was all a lie!
  1. The idea that that consciousness arises from interaction between different forms of thinking in the different brain hemispheres, as described in the book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes, which I am currently reading.
  2. The story of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden.
  3. Recent research in AI about how to design neural networks that are more easily interpretable.
  4. The idea (illustrated beautifully in the animated film, Bolt) that part of becoming an adult is realizing that a lot of what we learned as a child is a lie.
  5. The arguments Mercedes and I have where she tries to articulate a feeling she has, but ends up saying something that doesn’t quite capture what she wants to say, which sometimes leads me to dismiss her instincts, even though she is probably right.
  1. Our conscious self believes (like the serpent told us) that knowledge and self-awareness will help us overcome death. But all it does it makes us fear death.
  2. We are convinced we tell ourselves a true narrative about our own motivations. But really all we have access to is a thin layer of brain architecture that sits on top of a black box that took hundreds of millions of years to evolve and we can’t really understand.
  3. Children aren’t really conscious, but they instinctively pretend to be conscious in order to get attention.
  4. Children become conscious by developing the ability to spin intentional narratives about themselves and the world. In other words, they become conscious by lying.
  5. Whenever we talk to each other we have to create simple, intentional narratives in order to communicate. The need to create these narratives is one of the things that led to the evolution of a brain capable of consciousness.

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