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How Your Brain Decides Without You (2014) (nautil.us)
51 points by dnetesn 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments



Am I to understand from the title that I am different from my brain? Then who am I? Something other than my brain/body?


You are your brain/body, but don't overestimate the ability of the brain to see what it is doing. It doesn't have perfect insight into how it functions and often must guess why it made decisions (Reconstructive cognition).


I suppose the implication is that the "you" in the title is your conscious experience and in reality, you are the sum of your conscious and unconscious processes with all of their inherent perceptual distortions.


You are not your brain. Your consciousness extends to a highly interconnected subset of your brain. You are not conscious of the parts of your brain that are loosely coupled. Since the network is dynamic, we are conscious of different parts of it at different times; we experience this as thought.


"I" is a fuzzy concept. In that the decision to parse the picture as a duck or rabbit will initially occur entirely in unconscious processes that will never be serialized into memory I think saying that that isn't "you" will convey accurate information at least.


I would argue so. Despite my mind telling me not to eat cookies, I feel a strong compulsion to eat them.


Compulsions are part of your mind as well. I would argue that the world is also part of yourself, as all your experiences that made you who you are come from the world.

In my view we are agents that make a living in the world. All that we are is ultimately tuned for life protection and procreation. It's a game, and the prize is being.

In this view the premise of the title is flawed - my instincts are an integral part of me, participating in my survival.


You certainly raise interesting points that I agree with, but "I" am definitely not a 100% representation of my brain.

"I", in the sense of my ego and my perception of myself, will want things that my brain doesn't want.

A morbid example of this is holding your breath. I don't think there's ever been a documented case of someone able to hold their breath beyond the point where their brain forces their airway to open!


Free divers have to be careful not to hold their breath so long as to pass out under water. I'd be interested in hearing from an expert but seems like the conscious mind passes out then the autonomic nervous system takes back over.


That's correct. A free diver above water could probably make themselves pass out, but they will immediately begin taking extremely deep breaths as commanded by their brain while unconscious.

If you are underwater, you die :(


Well the point is, your brain does not control breathing in that sense, the medulla, nervous system does.


Cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. - Carl Sagan


Memories would form a better differentor of two people than DNA for example. The problem is we can indpendently test and investigate DNA, we can't really do this for memories.

We can have identical twins but you can never have identical personalities.





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