Monday, December 29, 2008

Consciousness > User Interface


Norretranders compares consciousness to a concept invented by the computer scientist Alan Kay: ''the user illusion.'' Sitting at the computer dragging documents into folders or into the trash can, the operator is under a machine-induced hallucination. Inside the computer chips there are no documents, trash cans, words or letters -- just voltages and charges representing the ones and zeros of binary code. Instead of overwhelming the user with a flood of useless information, the computer projects a simple array of metaphors: icons that can be manipulated to get things done. In a similar way, the brain, throwing away unneeded data, generates its own user illusion: the interpretation called consciousness. No wonder people constantly surprise themselves as their bodies are led through an impossible turn on the ski slope or their brains are seized with an idea that seems to pop out of nowhere.

Maxwell himself marveled at this phenomenon in a quotation used as the epigraph here: ''What is done by what is called myself is, I feel, done by something greater than myself in me.'' But it was not some supernatural force using the great scientist as its instrument. He was merely in the grip of his own brain.

Why not directly act from unconsciousness instead of trying to increase communication between consciousness and unconsciousness, instead of trying to feed the "consciousness" with our richer unconscious resources? Possible to live always unconsciously? Would it be more productive? Is consciousness necessary/useful? Advantages, disadvantages?

Consciousness = Piece of Art(ificial) ? Are "we" all pieces of art?

In the future people will get over their consciousness, they'll recognize the potential their unconsciousness has and will decide to become unconscious organic robots so they can achieve greater things. Or will they? Can I consciously choose to let go of my consciousness?

"Unconsciousness in Development" ?
"Conscious Unconsciousness in Action" ?

"...we have to forget things like "I should be mindful of this or that". If you are mindful, you are already creating a separation..."

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