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hack your brain
September 10, 2005 10:06 PM   Subscribe

hack your brain An insightful post on "ourselves". A interesting metaphor: your brain as an OS.
posted by omega (66 comments total)

 
That guy to took many mushrooms.
posted by delmoi at 10:10 PM on September 10, 2005


Mind Hacks
posted by homunculus at 10:25 PM on September 10, 2005


Detonating the Mind Bomb
posted by homunculus at 10:27 PM on September 10, 2005


I'd been wondering why all of my thoughts appear in brushed metal frames.
posted by fungible at 10:27 PM on September 10, 2005


Rusty pop neurology.
posted by Gyan at 10:29 PM on September 10, 2005


You just need to access "command mode" for an upgrade, fungible. Except you'll be constantly pestered to download stuff from the iTunes store afterwards.
posted by jokeefe at 10:36 PM on September 10, 2005


Also, that "10% of your brain" thing is bunk.
posted by Jairus at 10:38 PM on September 10, 2005


Wow, that was ridiculously long.
posted by blacklite at 10:46 PM on September 10, 2005


And also ridiculous.
posted by jokeefe at 10:48 PM on September 10, 2005


I think this metaphor drops through the shitchute because I have not met an Operating System that has consciousness. Or, using this faddish idea, some metaphors display the redundancy of the macrokernel vs. microkernel argument.
posted by gsb at 10:53 PM on September 10, 2005


why is being human so often reduced to a mechanical model? Oysh!

I probably should know this but isn't this tendency kind of a very old way of looking as Self and the world - mechanistic something or other?

(yea . . what Gyan said)
posted by johnj at 11:03 PM on September 10, 2005


I probably should know this but isn't this tendency kind of a very old way of looking as Self and the world - mechanistic something or other?

I read it as more like looking at reptile brain and mammal brain (and then human brain on top of that). I found it an interesting read (although the "10% of our brain" bunk bothered me, too), with somewhat challenging ideas - I don't know that I bought it, but it at least made me think.
posted by biscotti at 11:37 PM on September 10, 2005


Turn on, Plug in, Drop out.
posted by Balisong at 11:59 PM on September 10, 2005


Isn't the whole 'we only use 10% of our brains' stuff debunked?
Maybe, if all your neurons were firing at once (seisure, but worse) than you would be using your brain at 100% capacity.

The sad fact is, we really can't think abour more than a couple things at a time.

Try reading some text, and reciting your childhood phone number at the same time. It can be practiced and mastered, but it sure doesn't come naturally.
posted by Balisong at 12:05 AM on September 11, 2005


your brain as an OS

That explains my desire to rule the world by consuming my enemies.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:19 AM on September 11, 2005


My mind will hang before I finish reading all that. Too long!
posted by persia at 12:22 AM on September 11, 2005


Well, as long as we're using overwrought hardware/software analogies to explain things, the reason it's more difficult to internally recite a phone number - especially a childhood one - and read at the same time is your ultra short term memory - your level 1 cache, basically, is being repeatedly loaded/flushed by two contending tasks.

I actually think computer hardware/software does work pretty well as analogy for a lot of biological systems ( brain = cpu, spine = bus, hands = i/o seems just sort of straighforwardly true to me than a stretched analogy ), but this was definitely taken to a slightly ludicrous extreme. Still, isn't it at least somewhat possible that technological solutions may often mirror biological solutions to similar problems by some sort of convergent evolution (discounting things like neural nets and biotech which are explicitly copied )? I'm probably abusing the term horribly, I don't know if techology can really be said to evolve in the traditional sense, but still...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:02 AM on September 11, 2005


Any metaphor that suggests that the mind/brain is like a computer makes me sick. 99.9 percent of all cognitive science research assumes the isolationist view that a person’s internal processes are the only way to understand cognition. Metafilter, the other .01 percent. My first post ever and I already feel the hate.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 1:08 AM on September 11, 2005


well, his point about visualizing things as a means of 'doing' has some resonance. i know that for physical tasks (like shooting a basketball) this works remarkably well for me. visualizing what i want to happen immediately before shooting usually results in my body doing exactly what it needs to do to accomplish the shot.

then again, i've been playing ball for 25+ years now so maybe its just 'muscle memory'...
posted by joeblough at 1:28 AM on September 11, 2005


This guy seriously needs X11, and a mouse.
posted by eclectist at 1:33 AM on September 11, 2005


Interesting links, insecure, thanks....
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:34 AM on September 11, 2005


He's got some good points, even if people here are instantly dismissing them. I've been in much better control over the "shrug it off" part of self-control in the past few years simply because of this sort of consideration. External things don't -have- to have an internal impact. No one -makes- me feel a certain way emotionally, I choose somewhere along the path of incoming data to react a certain way. I arrived at these things without someone like the author telling me about them and ripping them down to bare bones, but they are nonetheless valid.

The author is simply quite good at stating things in metaphors and similes. I don't think I could have written it in as clear a fashion.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:35 AM on September 11, 2005


I also think that he makes some interesting points. A lot of what he says relates directly to the theories of cognitive behavioural therapy, which is very effective in managing inappropriate feelings and emotions.
posted by ask me please at 1:56 AM on September 11, 2005


Psh. These software hacks are for wimps.

Hack the hardware, or STFU!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:54 AM on September 11, 2005


I think a lot of you are missing the point. Techie types, at least that I've met, are remarkably lacking in introspection. Not all, but most in my own experience. It's as if they cling to these artificial notions of reason, and the tightly controlled world of computing, so as to avoid the messiness of the brain. They think they're in control, that they're remarkably smart and clever, but they're really quite the opposite.


What the writer describes here, while a clunky metaphor, is what biscotti briefly hints at with the animal brain/mammal brain/lizard brain notion. I know a Microsoft employee with whom I've repeatedly tried to convince that often times, the shiniest, most recent parts of the brain, the fancy-pants language-y portions with all that vaunted intellectual capacity, end up being used for nothing more than to gussy up the baser instincts.

For example, some simple notion of lust or hunger or fear bubbles up from the primordial ooze of the most ancient parts of the brain in response to hard-wired or well evolved responses to stimuli or situations that map to existing patterns. The job of the nice, "rational", intelligent part is to play Pygmalion, to dress up that monkey urge, make it look shiny and pretty and presentable, and then pawn it off as the "conscious" will or some sense of "reason and thoughtfulness". In this way, we justify our own primal instincts as arriving from a much "nobler" place.

For example, the tech geek that takes that shame and anger at being nerdy and outcast in high school, and channels that into some highly elitist "utopian" notion of libertarianism... if they could see in their head, they'd see that they're just dressing up a much simpler, more childish response. And recognizing that process of putting our most fundamental desires and drives through a sort of intellectual "finishing school" is the first step to defeating the knee-jerk reactions we have all the time, and not letting our emotions or habits own our lives. It's the first step to really turning on the lightbulb. I might be riffing a Buddhist saying, but it's the awareness that emotions and thoughts are not the sky itself, but clouds in the sky- not the sky itself, but simply passing through.


So yeah, while a computer metaphor might seem mechanistic to you hippy dippy trippy folks... if using the metaphor of kernel/user mode is what it takes for people of the more silicone valley persuasion to begin to question whether "abstract, pure reason" even exists, then I'm all for it. It's no less valid a metaphor than any other, just because it happens to involve computers.
posted by hincandenza at 4:39 AM on September 11, 2005


Considering the mind-boggling lack of general acumen of the general population, the "10% of your brain" average may be a little high.

Before I RTFA, I was going to make a snarky comment about the author being a little high as well. Maybe not. It seems more likely he is like one of the Blind Men and the Elephant, using a model that will resonate with the moderately computer savvy. Not a 100% mathmatically predictive model... just a different part of the elephant.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 4:56 AM on September 11, 2005


I haven't finished the article yet but I'm not as quick to dismiss some of its ideas as many here seem to be. I'm particularly in agreement with the idea that:

We in fact frequently do things for reasons that are entirely opaque to us, and then make up reasons later to explain them, because nobody wants to admit that they don't know why they did something.

I usually think of this in terms of consciousness: we perform an incredible number of actions daily without consciously thinking about them; we just make the decision, for example, to go for coffee, then consciously think of other things, or carry on a conversation, as we open the office door, walk down the hall to the elevator then go out the front door etc. Of course, as the author states, when challenged with this most people will say "nonsense, I consciously drove these actions, all of them, to some extent or another." And I say you didn't, and that's why the first day at a new job is so exhausting, because you're in a completely new environment and *every single thing you do* has to be consciously considered, from finding a paperclip to walking to the bathroom.

So I like the way this guy's thinking; now I'll read the rest of the article and change my life!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:06 AM on September 11, 2005


Also, I don't think the author is reiterating the ridiculous 10% of your brain theory but rather anticipating that many of his readers might be thinking that that's the theory he's espousing. But I agree it's not absolutely clear from the way the sentence is written.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:12 AM on September 11, 2005


Here's one example of what I'm talking about: a car backfires behind a group of people on a sidewalk. To a man, everyone immediately turns their head around to look at the source of the noise. If you ask them what happened they will say that they heard a noise and decided to look around and see where it came from. But this is actually a hard wired neural reflex, which even has a name: the oculocephalogyric reflex. If you hear a bang behind you you can't not look at it. But people feel themselves doing it and when asked about it later make up a story to explain the thought processes that led them to carry out the action.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:17 AM on September 11, 2005


your brain as an OS

Oh come on. People have been having that discussion in the pub ever since computers were invented.
posted by Decani at 6:32 AM on September 11, 2005


[turtles etc]: But this is actually a hard wired neural reflex, which even has a name: the oculocephalogyric reflex. If you hear a bang behind you you can't not look at it.

To pick a nit: Yes, you can not look at it. But it takes training.

Which while superficially poking a hole in your argument, actually proves your point. And illustrates what strikes me about the post and this thread: That metaphor, while incredibly powerful at the level of the hand-wave, breaks down in the details.

Throughout most of human evolution, that hasn't mattered very much, since the "90%" that we're not conscious of handles the details for us, leaving our conscious, narrative brains to synthesize a big picture and help us create a strategy.
posted by lodurr at 6:53 AM on September 11, 2005


lodurr: I agree with your nitpicking. But can you expand on how this demonstrates how the metaphor breaks down in the details? Your final sentence seems to indicate that we're in agreement, namely that the conscious mind *can* intercede from time to time on the (?higher level) quotidian details handled by the "90%" but usually doesn't.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:02 AM on September 11, 2005


This was a fun read. His metaphors for thought are no nuttier than any others, and like the programmer magician he mentions, they include structure and conventions that, while artificial, at least attempt to codify what happens upstairs.

I bet this guy is a real peach in a relationship. All handshaking protocols, middleware, and clear-to-send...
posted by ulotrichous at 8:03 AM on September 11, 2005


hincandenza: The job of the nice, "rational", intelligent part is to play Pygmalion, to dress up that monkey urge, make it look shiny and pretty and presentable, and then pawn it off as the "conscious" will or some sense of "reason and thoughtfulness".

And, of course, the development of material and cultural technologies that is also accomplished by this part of the brain is just incidental. Yes. Your explanation makes clear evolutionary sense.


This metaphor is interesting, and I ascribed to it heavily in high school all those years ago, but there are too many problems with it to take it seriously. This site has a good description of the philosophy that adheres to this notion of brain as computer/mind as OS (called functionalism), and the links on the sidebar contain some of the basic objections to the position.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:45 AM on September 11, 2005


[this could turn into a good thread]

Turtles, I need to do more than skim the article to speak to it, and we've got a party due to start in an hour, but I'll try to do as you ask.

I agree with you that the conscious mind can (and routinely does) intercede. Basically, if I have to pigeonhole myself, I'm more than anything an epiphenomenalist. I used to hate that term, because (I now believe) I was presented with a very unfair, incomplete version of the view by people who were prejudiced against it. But the nutshell on my view is that most of what we're conscious of is a surface phenomenon: It hints at the deeper activities in a manner analogous to the way waves hint at water dynamics.

But surface phenomena, by their nature, are interfacial phenomena: With waves, it's the interface between water and atmosphere; with mind, it's the interface, essentially, between people.

I think that the really most important single evolutionary step for humans was where we joined language to the ability to form narratives. It's the joining of narrative to language and communicating narratives between individuals that gives us the power to transmit metaphors to one another; memes, if you will.
posted by lodurr at 8:49 AM on September 11, 2005


Bravo, hincandenza. I agree with your interpretation: that to think about the self we have nothing but metaphors, and the metaphors that work best with a particular audience are the ones they are most knowledgable about. The computer metaphor, yes is "obvious" and "wrong" and like so many other "mechanistic" models of the self, but it is a framework for understanding the irrational, lizard self accepting it, and achieving some influence over behavior.
Now if only we could get the evangelical christians a nice metaphor and get them to understand that they are almost all lizard brain. Or is that the devil? And prayer a method piping the output of the intellectual system into the emotional? Old broken methaphors that people have forgotten are metaphors.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 9:00 AM on September 11, 2005


Now if only we could get the evangelical christians a nice metaphor and get them to understand that they are almost all lizard brain. Or is that the devil? And prayer a method piping the output of the intellectual system into the emotional? Old broken methaphors that people have forgotten are metaphors.

shades of Julian Jaynes' bicameral mind...
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:16 AM on September 11, 2005


Interesting read. The metaphor he is using is quite apt, since neural networks are intentionally modeled after the mind. He comes up with several insights, like the ability to proactively change ones own perceptions, that I'd only stumbled on somewhat recently myself.

As joeblough mentioned, visualization is a powerful tool. Studies have shown that visualization used in conjunction with athletic practice for skill-dependent sports, can be as effective as the practice itself. I'm interested in fooling around with this paradigm myself, to see if I can come up with any useful applications. In particular I was intrigued by this passage:

"In fact, I've been finding that there are a lot of command mode variations. I'm rather reminded of a novel I once read, where a computer programmer travelled into a dimension where magic worked, and he ended up writing a magic compiler. Unlike other magicians who worked out their spells in somewhat random fashion, he developed abstractions, a subroutine library, and an orthogonal command system. For example, he would say things like "backslash light enter" to cast a light spell, where other magicians might chant some kind of short poem about light. As a result, he became one of the most proficient wizards in the land, because his powers were extensible and composable in ways that other wizards' were not."

I already use something similar in the mind context, using code words to remind me of things I've already settled on, like mental reactions I want to have to certain events.

Does anyone know what novel he is referring to?
posted by Manjusri at 9:35 AM on September 11, 2005


Manjusri: That'd be Rick Cook's 'Wiz' series, which is very good. Especially good if you're a bit of a geek like me :)

I really gotta re-buy those again. People I lend them to tend not to return them.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:43 AM on September 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


Rigorous introspection is a lost art. I'm glad to see "geeks" are rediscovering it in some way by analogy with whatever experience is closest to them.

Focusing covers similar ground without sounding mechanistic.
posted by growli at 9:47 AM on September 11, 2005


Those interested in the aforementioned Wiz series can find book one and book two at the Baen free library. Pretty cool.
posted by verb at 11:54 AM on September 11, 2005


Your brain is like a computer, because it has I/O. But it is also like a fruit, because it will rot if you leave it on the kitchen windowsill for too long.
posted by eatitlive at 12:39 PM on September 11, 2005


gsb I have not met an Operating System that has consciousness

Your OS been jerkin' you around lately? With that attitude I'm not surprised. Got feelings you know.

Disclosure: In my former life I was revision 7.07.23D of Norton Antivirus - talk about concious, man - nothing got past me! This new gig, steering a lump of meat around totally sucks by comparison.
posted by grahamwell at 12:44 PM on September 11, 2005


I think he's hit on a lot of truths here, and if it takes a somewhat silly artificial model of some kind to do it, so be it. Honestly it doesn't sound like he's so caught up in the metaphor that he's going to start thinking he's a computer.
posted by Foosnark at 12:55 PM on September 11, 2005


Somewhere on this site, is a paper which relates this same idea in more psychological/biological terms than the computer metaphor used here. It's an interesting notion, and one I've kicked around with my philosophically-inclined progeny for a while. Sorry I can't find the specific paper, there's a lot of interesting (and boggling/confusing) stuff on there, and I just wandered from article to article when I found it.

His take is the self-aware part of the mind is, indeed, a late-arriver on the scene, but (being the ego) is incredibly egotistical and devotes most of its energy to rationalizing actions it does not perpetrate into actions that it does perpetrate. Thus, things happen, some of which our self-aware selves are inclined to, which are easy for it to take credit for, and others which the mind then spends its energy convincing itself are things that it wanted to do, even if it didn't. An interesting notion, and one that certainly explains a lot of stupid (and smart) crap I've done over the years. As well as making certain mental states --like being in 'the zone' as regards any high-level functioning, be it sports, or programming, or whatever: I've heard both athletes and talented programmers refer to an almost unthinking state wherein they achieve their most brilliant successes-- more comprehendible.

The link above that leads to the radical meditation site also touches on something else that intrigues me: I've thought for a while that the construct of 'self' is a byproduct of increased language abilities and the need for an individual organism to have a metaphor for itself in order to communicate satisfyingly. In which case the ego is a vast, complicated self-created metaphor for one's self. Maybe crazy, but worth wasting some thoughts on, particularly if the thinking portion of the brain is mostly a lazy rider anyway...
posted by umberto at 1:58 PM on September 11, 2005


Why would the 'self as a lazy rider' arise at all? It must have some conative role.
posted by Gyan at 2:05 PM on September 11, 2005


"All language is essentially metaphor. The sentence The red book is on the table requires the reader to assign the referents and relations in order to derive meaning. The fact that terms can be overloaded is of no surprise, given that diverse contexts exist and chain of family-resemblances leads to overloading."

Someone bright once said that. As per the sentence immediately preceding the 'lazy rider' sentence, among my suppositions is the possibility that the overloaded nature of metaphorical communication, combined with a need to presuppose a 'self' in order to establish volitional characteristics of generated actions (or, further along the line, thoughts, musings, theorizings) leads to a construct of convenience that establishes itself as the 'self'. Thus high-level metaphorical language leads to the illsuion of self-awareness, which leads to a rationalizing mind riding the brain. I'm not saying I'm not full of crap. I'm saying my lazy rider dreams up these things to try and expalin itself sometimes.
posted by umberto at 3:06 PM on September 11, 2005


It hasn't learned to spell-check, either. Lazy, lazy rider....
posted by umberto at 3:07 PM on September 11, 2005


umberto : "establishes itself as the 'self'."

If the 'self' is a fiction, what is establishing the 'self'?
posted by Gyan at 3:16 PM on September 11, 2005


...which underlines the need to develop a volitional construct in order to communicate.
posted by umberto at 3:26 PM on September 11, 2005


That was flip. I apologize. Even if to the point. I will use the term 'self' to indicate the physical (let's try not to drag the debate over physical reality into this) being that generates some kind of activity. The more complex the metaphorical language that arises from various 'selves' in communication --coordinating, explaining, delegating, teaching, etc. with each other-- the more overweaning the need to have an 'ego' represent the self in its various communications. And, eventually, to commune with it'self.'
posted by umberto at 3:32 PM on September 11, 2005


One problem with this article is that it doesn't explain what effort is. What is effort? Where does it come from? Why can't you go through life without putting in any effort, if "yourself" is so capable?
posted by shivohum at 3:55 PM on September 11, 2005


umberto : "I will use the term 'self' to indicate the physical (let's try not to drag the debate over physical reality into this) being that generates some kind of activity.

Physical "being". How you do define a physical being?

The more complex the metaphorical language that arises from various 'selves' in communication

Where do these 'selves' arise from?
posted by Gyan at 4:15 PM on September 11, 2005


You know, I'll stop. I defined my use of the term 'self' as a physical being, even with a request not to devolve the question into what a physical being constitutes. I would define it as a particular iteration of the human animal. But you'll just ask what that means, so this is pointless. I think you're just being my annoying 4-year old nephew who says "Why?" at the end of every sentence without even listening to the previous response. 'Selves' as I define them, arise from 'fucking.' And that, old pal, is easy to look up on the internet.

Game over, man. Game over.
posted by umberto at 4:31 PM on September 11, 2005


You missed my point. I wasn't inclined on an infinite regress. Your request referred to physical reality, not the definition of physical beings. My endpoint simply is, what selves do ontologically exist?
posted by Gyan at 4:34 PM on September 11, 2005


The point was not missed. You wish to discuss metaphysics; I wish to muse upon the mind/brain/body conundrum and hypothesize on experiential deductivity. You want to point out that there is no such word as 'deductivity,' and if there was, how could we know what it means, really. I want to stamp and pout and leave the room. And so on...

And you are right: my fault, I did not clarify. I meant to request that we not drag the debate into the reality (or not) of physical beings. I wished to proceed from the idea that individual human animals (in the sense of 'body', independent of 'mind' or 'ego') could be assumed to exist. I misspoke. We wish to have different discussions. Which is always fine. But not to have them at each other.
posted by umberto at 7:02 PM on September 11, 2005


umberto : "I meant to request that we not drag the debate into the reality (or not) of physical beings."

Which is odd, considering that the assumptions underlying the physical aspect determine which schemas are entertained.


umberto : "You wish to discuss metaphysics; I wish to muse upon the mind/brain/body conundrum"

A contradiction, perhaps?

umberto : "I wished to proceed from the idea that individual human animals (in the sense of 'body', independent of 'mind' or 'ego') could be assumed to exist."

That assumption is fine. The problem comes in deciding whether the body is an ontological identity or a perceptual one. Physicalism suggests the latter.
posted by Gyan at 7:49 PM on September 11, 2005


If the 'self' is a fiction, what is establishing the 'self'?

depending on whether the above means you're after the creative agent or the process involved -

1. the agent - an core subset of your nondisposable "subroutines" - everything you can't unlearn or unbelieve.
beyond that... will? nonself? things we have difficulty translating into language certainly.

2. the process - a decision to create or alter or maintain a useful (insert your own definition of useful depending on desired ends) psychic framework. also, whatever you can get away with.

these conclusions seem reasonable to me. if it doesn't work for you, make it up as you go, and have fun doing it.

i, me, you, self, reality, etc. are (as someone i can't quite place said) all concrete singular nouns. language is working against us. i like this thread. can we please all try not to be too pedantic about definitions?

which metareprogramming systems work for you? and why?
posted by soi-disant at 9:38 PM on September 11, 2005


Relative and absolute epistemologies, ontological relativism and the import for (or against) ontological dualism (in the metaphysical sense of the brain/body problem) are intriguing and fun things to natter on about. Nevertheless, one may consider chemical reactions in skin cells without pondering the ontological absolutism of proteins. It's nice to define things, but as can be seen, it can lead to a stultifying effect upon pragmatic discussion. Is there a biologic or social (base sciences compared to onotology, I know) basis for the arising of an ego, or consciousness is what I was attempting to get at. I think that there may be. And was trying to postulate something from a phenomenal rather than a noumenal viewpoint.
posted by umberto at 9:56 PM on September 11, 2005


soi-disant : "the agent - an core subset of your nondisposable 'subroutines' - everything you can't unlearn or unbelieve."

Do such things exist?

umberto : "It's nice to define things, but as can be seen, it can lead to a stultifying effect upon pragmatic discussion."

Define "pragmatic" :)

Is there a biologic or social (base sciences compared to onotology, I know) basis for the arising of an ego, or consciousness is what I was attempting to get at.

You can't be sure of your answer if you leave out metaphysics. In your musings, it seems there is an implicit metaphysical framework selected for. I was trying to tease that out.
posted by Gyan at 10:35 PM on September 11, 2005


Damn it, Gyan, I've never had so much trouble not arguing with someone in my life. Where's that hemlock? :)
posted by umberto at 11:04 PM on September 11, 2005


Does hemlock really exist?
posted by Gyan at 11:11 PM on September 11, 2005


Actually, leaving out metaphysics is the only way to be reasonably sure of your answer. The nature of metaphysics is such that (as you've amply demonstrated) anything can be called into sufficient doubt as to make it seem untenable.

I used to think metaphysics mattered. Really, really mattered. Now, I think it's merely one of the illusions that it purports to investigate.

Because, really, if you want to act -- at some point, you have to act. Even Zen Buddhists know that. (Maybe, "especially.")
posted by lodurr at 9:31 AM on September 12, 2005


lodurr : "Actually, leaving out metaphysics is the only way to be reasonably sure of your answer. ... Now, I think it's merely one of the illusions that it purports to investigate."

That doesn't solve the issue, just an evasive mechanism.
posted by Gyan at 10:36 AM on September 12, 2005


Although, to be sure, my query about physical selves is not really a metaphysical problem.
posted by Gyan at 10:37 AM on September 12, 2005


That doesn't solve the issue, just an evasive mechanism.

Well -- precisely.

That's the problem with questioning the fundamental nature of reality. Once you do, it can become more or less impossible to be sure of anything, ever again.

For myself, I assume at one level that my chair is real, and at another that my "self" is real. If the self is "less real" than the chair -- so be it. It is what it is. (Or isn't what it isn't. Or something.) Those who do not let understanding stop, lathe of heaven, perishing, yada.

If this sounds cavalier, I assure you -- I've chased my tail down many rabbit holes to get to this level of acceptance.
posted by lodurr at 11:00 AM on September 12, 2005


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