Thursday, October 7, 2010

275: The ghost in the meat machine

Sofar we have focused on how our brain is wired to generate our mind and our supersense, our ability to believe in the supernatural. Today we'll have a closer look at the mind itself.

In the first place we instinctively try to figure out what’s on each other’s minds. What is going on in the other, so that we can come up with the right response in a debate or a negotiation or in a counseling session.

We are mind-readers, but of course not perfect ones. Nevertheless, it is easier to understand others as beings motivated by minds rather than the unsavory alternative: mindless beings, sophisticated robots, or well-dressed zombies.

To be able to read the mind of others we focus primarily on the face of the other and secondly on the movements of the other. We have learnt that movements have a goal and that there is an intention behind.

The brain is wired to concentrate on faces. Like we are able to see faces in the clouds or in creepy dark shadows…. The fusiform gyrus of the brain (an area just behind your ears) is active whenever you look at faces.

When this part of the brain gets damaged you will have difficulty in recognizing faces. It even can be that serious, that you don't recognize your own face in the mirror.

From the beginning of our existence faces and movement are a sign of the other mind, of a person with intentions and beliefs. And our basic strategy is to read the mind of the other.

Evolutionary our ability of mind-reading is an important tool in the group, to be able to anticipate what the other will do next. We naturally assume that others are motivated by their mind. This is what Dan Dennett calls adopting “the intentional stance.”

Thus we attribute beliefs and desires to agents, as well as some intelligence and the funny thing is that these agents do not have to be only human.

A smart manufacturer of vacuum cleaners put a face on its HVR 200-22 model and a name: "Henry". The result is that people start to talk about Henry as the dedicated servant whenever complains.

And there goes our supersense again. The intentional stance is just a comfortable way of talking about and interacting with the natural and artificial world.

Just remember Piaget, and how he discovered the animism that is in every child. Like the intentional stance this way of thinking emerges at a very young age and creates an easy route to supernatural thinking.

For those who have forgotten, "supernatural thinking" means believing in ideas that defy any law of nature. Like the idea of talking to your vacuum cleaner or your dog and then believing that is has a mind that understands.

The basic conclusion is that these observations of cognitive development psychology reinforce the conviction that our brain is wired to believe in dualism: the belief that we have a body and a mind and that they are two interrelated things.

It was not Descartes(1596 - 1650) who introduced dualism. It was the way he used and interpreted his mind not knowing that his brain was his mind, that introduced substance dualism: body is material, mind is….????

Ever heard an elder person say "Hold on… this old carcass isn't that fast anymore?" or something the like? The implied meaning is clear: tho the mind is still young and willing, the body is old and no longer what it used to be.

"We treat the mind and the body as separate because that is what we experience. I am controlling my body, but I am more than just my body. We sense that we exist independently of our bodies." says Bruce Hood.

To conclude for today we could say that our brain generates a dualistic experience of ourselves. What this really means we'll discuss in the next lecture.

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you... :-)
[13:21] Adriana Jinn: thanks to you
[13:22] herman Bergson: If you have any question or remark..feel free
[13:22] itsme Frederix: cogito ergo sum QED
[13:22] Florencio Flores: *¨¨*:•.•:*¨*«´¯`•.¸¸• ☆☆☆ * S * U * P * E * R * N * A * T * U * R * A * L * ´¯`•.¸¸• *¨¨*:•
[13:22] Florencio Flores: Supernatural!!!
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate: it is still interesting finding out about the relationship of mind and body
[13:22] itsme Frederix: sum ergo cogito?
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes fact that is the real thing
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate: guess so itsme
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:23] herman Bergson: If our thesis is, that the brian is the mind then our friend Descartes was obviously mistaken
[13:23] itsme Frederix: smart thing that brain, smart move of evolution to I guess
[13:24] herman Bergson: in fact Itsme this is supernatural thinking...
[13:24] itsme Frederix: nothing wrong with that after all these lectures
[13:24] herman Bergson: To attribute smartness to evolution...
[13:24] herman Bergson: Evolution isnt smart at all ^_^
[13:24] itsme Frederix: sure,
[13:24] AristotleVon Doobie: evolution just is
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes Aristotle
[13:25] itsme Frederix: so we just are
[13:25] itsme Frederix: happens to be
[13:25] herman Bergson: You could say that yes Itsme
[13:25] AristotleVon Doobie: indeed, the children of evolution
[13:25] herman Bergson: and if a dog would understand thinking why doesnt it read the newspaper then?
[13:26] itsme Frederix: vehicles of evolution (supernatural, elitair?)
[13:26] herman Bergson: No Itsme...
[13:26] itsme Frederix: if you think right you wouldn't read a newspaper Herman
[13:26] herman Bergson: the issue here is, that supernatural thinking is in fact not good...
[13:26] Florencio Flores: AND LEARN THEM
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: itsme
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: it is not good
[13:27] itsme Frederix: I think we must say, supernatural thinking is neither good or bad, but its good to be aware what kind of thinking you use in circumstances
[13:27] Florencio Flores: well i think this herman
[13:28] herman Bergson: Ok Itsme...supernarural thinking definitely has a function
[13:28] itsme Frederix: Gemma, newspapers are alays interpretation you better made yourself
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: the question could be , is it productive or destructive
[13:28] herman Bergson: yes Aristotle...
[13:29] herman Bergson: And the general opinion is that supernatural thinking, especially if it is religious zeal is very destructive
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: a dog understands things but not as well as we do, ex you can say to a trained dog ex sit and it will do that, however you might have to bribe it some with candy in process too
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:29] Adriana Jinn: i think so herman
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: or even learn them do advanced tricks
[13:29] itsme Frederix: evolution has both sides productive and destructive,
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: is the dreamer in a state of supersense, before they invents
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Bekita,but that is all based on training only
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: aa yes
[13:30] itsme Frederix: herman, can you quantify "general opinion" fact please not hyperlinks into the nothing
[13:30] itsme Frederix: qualify would even be better
[13:31] herman Bergson: well...general opinion in the world of science
[13:31] itsme Frederix: platitude
[13:31] herman Bergson: ok..
[13:31] herman Bergson: let is be my opinion then
[13:31] itsme Frederix: supersense, science as supersense
[13:31] herman Bergson: and maybe there are others that share that opnion
[13:31] itsme Frederix: autority?
[13:32] herman Bergson: no historical facts...
[13:32] itsme Frederix: history is interpretation, facts ... which ones
[13:32] Florencio Flores: here where i live dogs talks with their
[13:32] Florencio Flores: ladridos
[13:32] Florencio Flores: Bark
[13:32] herman Bergson: The monotheistic religions, judaism, christianity and Islam have there good sides but are highly desctrucive too
[13:33] Adriana Jinn: as you can interprete them yes
[13:33] itsme Frederix: so atomic energy has it good side, is very destructive too
[13:33] herman Bergson: this kind of supersense leads to a feeling of superiority...
[13:33] herman Bergson: no...Itsme...
[13:33] itsme Frederix: aha, its the way you use (or misuse) supernatural
[13:33] herman Bergson: The human being who uses atomic energy can be both...not the atomic energy itself
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:34] itsme Frederix: right you are herman, I slipped away also
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: the evil of it resides in the mind
[13:34] herman Bergson: As I said...supernatural beliefs mean beliefs in things that defy any natural law...
[13:34] herman Bergson: no abuse there
[13:35] herman Bergson: the belief in gods, afterlife, ghosts, invisible forces etc.
[13:35] itsme Frederix: oke, but natural law (causality) might be a supernatural interpretation
[13:35] herman Bergson: If I may rephrase your statement Itsme
[13:36] itsme Frederix: I'm honored
[13:36] : Florencio Flores smacks Bejiita Imako's ass!!!
[13:36] herman Bergson: The natural law might be defying the natural law's way of interpratation of reality...
[13:36] herman Bergson: that makes little sense
[13:37] itsme Frederix: well "sense", does it have to make sense (I'm serouos) blind evolution
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: how's this for supersense, regarding dualism, I feel the mind is actually separate from the brain, making us a trilogy of mind/brain/body
[13:37] Gemma Cleanslate: very complicated thought!!!
[13:37] itsme Frederix: am I stil on the topic, other might have better things to state ???
[13:37] Florencio Flores: there's no evolution
[13:37] Florencio Flores: simply not
[13:37] Florencio Flores: people don't cares of it
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:38] herman Bergson: yes my next lecture I'll address that issue in detail
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: oh good
[13:38] herman Bergson: Well Itsme, I dont really get what your point is :-)
[13:39] herman Bergson: Hi Rodney ^_^
[13:39] itsme Frederix: ? do I ?
[13:39] Rodney Handrick: Hi Herman
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: Rod Man!
[13:39] Rodney Handrick: Hi Ari
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: hi Rodney
[13:39] Rodney Handrick: Hi Bejita
[13:39] Alarice Beaumont: Hi Rodney
[13:40] Rodney Handrick: Hi Alarice
[13:40] herman Bergson: Maybe things get clearer after the next lecture ^_^
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: i doubt it
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:40] itsme Frederix: oke, reading back - I guess we must not over estimate science and make that 1-1 to reality (whatever reality is)
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL they will be as clear as mud
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: it only gets more complicated as e go
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:40] Adriana Jinn: HIHI
[13:40] herman Bergson: Ok....
[13:41] herman Bergson: But if our main "mission" as social animals is survival then science offers an opportunity and supernatural thinking doesnt
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: yes!!!
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: amen
[13:42] herman Bergson: It even could endanger our survival..
[13:42] itsme Frederix: If I may interprete Herman
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: I believe it has
[13:43] herman Bergson: go ahead Itsme
[13:43] itsme Frederix: IF our mission is survive THEN science offers ... May I remind you that without science men lived 100.000 years, and we are now learning that we can destroy men withing a 100 years
[13:44] itsme Frederix: sono "historical" fact YET
[13:44] herman Bergson: interesting point Itsme, yes
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: I suspect we have not lived one iota without science
[13:44] Rodney Handrick: I agree Itsme
[13:44] itsme Frederix: (again of the topic I guess)
[13:44] herman Bergson: But I think you are mistaken...
[13:44] herman Bergson: The cave men had science too....
[13:45] herman Bergson: they didnt call it that...
[13:45] herman Bergson: they just carved stones, made weapons, they might have called it just knowledge
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: indeed they did, and some great scientist in contribution
[13:45] herman Bergson: so science/knowledge has been there since the beginning of mankind
[13:45] itsme Frederix: that is technics
[13:45] Florencio Flores: agree herman
[13:45] Alarice Beaumont: think you are right Herman
[13:46] Florencio Flores: human just fabricate weapons
[13:46] herman Bergson: no Itme...that is human knowledge..
[13:46] herman Bergson: they also learned about the healing power of certain plants...that is medicine
[13:46] Alaya Kumaki: i think tha t supernatural thinking was a science that was misinterpreted or lost
[13:46] itsme Frederix: He we are talking about best oppertunity to survive, and you come up with weapons?
[13:46] herman Bergson: They learnt about the movement of the stars...that was astronomy
[13:46] herman Bergson: and so on...
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: the very first person to rationalize was a scientist
[13:47] herman Bergson: We have real knowledge and we have supernatural knowledge..
[13:47] herman Bergson: and the real knowledge contributed to our survival..
[13:47] herman Bergson: what we are trying to understand here is to deal with supernatural knowledge...
[13:48] herman Bergson: Why do we believe in the Unbelievable
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:48] itsme Frederix: We have scientific/rational knowledge and supernatural/intuitive knowledge, about what we name reality
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: I don't
[13:48] Florencio Flores: herman
[13:48] Alarice Beaumont: getting complicated
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:48] herman Bergson: On that point we disagree Itsme
[13:48] itsme Frederix: there is no such thing a "real knowledge"
[13:48] Florencio Flores: do you believe in the future zen?
[13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: that we seem to agreee on
[13:48] itsme Frederix: or everything is "real knowledge"
[13:49] herman Bergson: My definition of knowledge is that its truth value can be experiment
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: historical facts appear to be real knowledge
[13:49] herman Bergson: the existence of angels or ghost can not be tested...just believed in
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: yes and scientific facts
[13:49] Qwark Allen: the real knowledge of today, it`s not the same as in the future
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: unless they are altered for political reasons
[13:50] itsme Frederix: a fact is not the same thing as knowledge, a fact you can know and imbed in knowledge (that my opinion)
[13:50] itsme Frederix: ?why can we not test for angels Herman?
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: actual experience is the closet to truth you will get
[13:51] herman Bergson: well...this gets complicated..for here we come to ideas of for instance Wittgenstein....
[13:51] herman Bergson: The world is all states of affair...
[13:51] herman Bergson: The concept of "fact" is very difficullt
[13:51] itsme Frederix: complication is not an excuse, we are trained by you so ...
[13:51] herman Bergson: or to say it otherwise...where does the fact begin and where dus it end :-)
[13:51] Adriana Jinn: ohhhhh
[13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: in the end, we alone are the judge of fact or fiction
[13:52] herman Bergson: Yes Itsme, but we loose focus, for this is an epistemologial problem
[13:52] Qwark Allen: begin in real knowledge and end in the supernatural one
[13:53] itsme Frederix: oke focus ... body/brain => mind
[13:53] herman Bergson: Well...I would suggest to wait and see what the next lecture will bring you
[13:53] Florencio Flores: brb
[13:53] Qwark Allen: not always istme
[13:53] herman Bergson: This was really a great discussion..especially thanx to Itsme..!
[13:53] itsme Frederix: quarks are different I know
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: thanks
[13:54] herman Bergson: So,...may I thank you for this good debate...
[13:54] Qwark Allen: your lack of knowledge there it`s not natural
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: hope to see you on Thursday
[13:54] Qwark Allen: eheheh
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: the next class is a must then......thank you, Professor
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: interesting ㋡
[13:54] itsme Frederix: I felt like the roman guy in Asterix&Obelix, setting up every one
[13:54] herman Bergson: Class dismissed.... ^_^
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: Herman
[13:54] herman Bergson: you are welcome Gemma
[13:54] Adriana Jinn: sorry have to go thank you professor and all
[13:54] itsme Frederix: Herman you gave the fuel. THX
[13:54] Alarice Beaumont: wow... thanks Professor
[13:55] Qwark Allen: HooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo !!!!!!
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Adriana
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:55] Alarice Beaumont: have a great evening Qwark :-)
[13:55] Jeb Larkham: thanks Herman byeee
[13:55] herman Bergson: Thank you Itsme..
[13:55] Adriana Jinn: bye aristo
[13:55] itsme Frederix: your welcome Herman ;)
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thanks! was so interesting!!!
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty herman!
[13:55] Alaya Kumaki: thank yu herman, it is interesting, somthing to pond uppon, again,
[13:55] herman Bergson: smiles at Bergie
[13:56] itsme Frederix: Bye Bye
[13:56] Rodney Handrick: thanks Herman
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ׺°”˜I'M BACK`”°º×
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: :-) smiles
[13:56] herman Bergson: Ok Alaya...go for it ^_^
[13:56] Alaya Kumaki: byby
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: wb bergie
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: cxu
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: LOL
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: bye
[13:57] Alarice Beaumont: nite everyone :-) see you thursday
[13:57] herman Bergson: Bye all
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: very interesting Herman
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: thanks agin
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: see you Thursday
[13:57] herman Bergson: Ok Aristotle...always good to sasee you here!
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: :) later
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