Saturday, June 28, 2008

More of the same ...

... Get Out of Your Own Way.

' "We think our decisions are conscious," said neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes ... ' We do? Even I am not so shallow as to think that my conscious mind is all of my self or even the greater part of it. The decisions one makes consciously tend to be those one is least certain of, those that one has been forced to make. Anyone who writes has to have noticed that most thinking - and the best - takes place unconsciously.
' "... these data show that consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg. This doesn't rule out free will, but it does make it implausible." ' Only if you equate free will with conscious choice. You need only be conscious of the choice and assent to it for it to be free.
Georg Groddeck in The Book of the It argued that we do not live so much as we are lived by what he called our It. Anyone who indulges in a little introspection from time to time will know what he means. Surely I am not the only person who has watched himself happen, as it were, and I am certainly not the only poet who listens for the lines.
Perhaps someone should do a study to find out why so many neuroscientists seem to be untrained in elementary logic and are so lacking in self-awareness.


  1. Anonymous2:04 PM

    A fascinating exploration of the questions you pose is contained in the recently published book "My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Taylor, a neuroscientist who suffered a severe stroke ten years ago. Her sense of self fragmented into discrete pieces, some of which were obliterated. In fact, all she had immediately after the stroke was that part of the self that " itself happen...". The story of how she reassembled and reconstituted her full self is inspiring and thought-provoking, even if you disagree with her somewhat (but not completely) materialist interpretation.

  2. That does sound interesting, Jeff. I will try to find the book.