Friday, May 30, 2008
The illusion of consciousness and self
I've been kind of disconnected from this blog for some time (ok ... for a long time!) and I don't even feel bad about it (hey, that's freedom :). If I said that the main reason was that most of my reading in the past couple months was: paper books! it would be hard to believe by my previous posts, but it is true! (I sensed a connection between reading blogs and writing blogs in the past, but that's another subject)
By looking at one's blog in retrospective you can have a new glimpse into your own consciousness. Particularly you might find yourself surprised by how far away (even if not necessary contradictory) that mindset that you had in the past was. Most likely any state of mind you had in the past does not hold on and match your current state of mind. You might sometimes find yourself thinking: did I write that? Or you might find that the relevance or intensity of things totally changed in one or another direction. It might be that your attention was in totally different things or it might be that your curiosity was totally somewhere else.
This and other experiences in life lead me to grasp, in a more deeply way, that consciousness and self is only an illusion. We work hard every minute and specially when we sleep putting together the experiences of the previous day and creating the illusion of continuum. As a matter of fact even animals have this built-in illusion of time continuum; otherwise they would not be able to go for a pray or flight from a predator. But of course we humans brought this to a new level, we have this sense of self that is almost tangible, we firmly believe it exists: I am.
Then, my next thought was, that this feeling of self that we experience as our neural networks live in our brain, could be emulated in a greater scale. If a machine would have enough connected nodes of the nature of one mind being those biologic (as in humans) or not, and would have some mechanism of putting together all those experiences into one, a feeling of self would arise.
So now I have hope, that even if the experience is transcendental for us, there is some explanation for this sense of there has to be a greater purpose. It's not probably an ultimate purpose, but I think that sense of purpose that my daughter tells me she wonders about, as I did when I was her age, might after all exist in some level that transcends us.