Reality Blind - Vol. 1

feels good with no concept of self or mind. However, social animals also need a module with which to examine their own social behavior, a mirror through which they can optimize their status. Thus, you, I, and some other animals, have a social module which is self-aware. That’s a profound and lucky evolutionary break, because self-awareness opens the door to the possibility of qualities like sapience, logic, rationality and planning . Which, in turn, opens the door to avoiding self-destruction at the behest of evolved feelings which have outlived their ancestral environment. Still, it can be hard to recognize the control you feel like you exercise with your conscious mind is in large part illusory. The warning light metaphor used above isn’t bad, but it implies that your “conscious self” initiates all action once things are brought to its attention. It doesn’t. In fact, if your “predator module” thinks it sees a lion, you'll jump before your conscious mind suggests a reason why you’re jumping. If asked after the fact why you jumped, you’ll explain it somehow, but the conscious part of your mind had no involvement in the jumping! Sticking with the warning light metaphor, it’d be like your car automatically slamming on the brakes when the engine temperature got high, which could get you in trouble. In related ways, the mini- minds (in 7.8 billion of you) can go “3 Stooges” on you at inopportune times.

The Bottom Line: Our minds are committees of specialized idiots.

The “Interpreter” Module - Introduction

Summary : Among the most telling experiments that highlight the brain’s modularity are the ones done with split brain patients. “Split brain” refers to the fact that human brains have right and left hemispheres which communicate with each other over a thick bundle of connecting nerves called the corpus callosum. Either through accident or to surgically treat seizure disorders, this connection can be severed. Incredibly, this produces two separate, independent, functional, thinking and feeling brains which are utterly unaware of one another’s existence , (and don’t “miss” each other)! This phenomenon sheds light on how healthy brains create the illusion of a single seamless mind from the profound underlying structural and functional modularity. Even though each hemisphere only sees with one eye and


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