Monday, July 30, 2012

On human brains and that spark of magic, and why cars don't think.

Why should your car have a mind? Rocks and doors and dressers don't have minds either. There are very few things in this world that are not brains that appear to have minds. Your ideas, hopes, dreams, goals, personality, quirks, attitude, etc. can all be traced down to that skullful of neurons between your ears. Every last iota of who you are, and who you think you are. And there's not one iota of a fragment of a supposition that says otherwise. Yes, your brain tries to predict the future, and when it does and it gets a right answer (which is much easier to verify than arrive at) you get intuitive leaps and profound insight. It's one thing to have a big idea explained to you and understanding it, it's another thing to get there yourself. "The answer just came to me." It didn't come from magical elves or gods, it came from you. They always do. You think therefore you are, but moreover you are your thinking. Is it really unfathomable that the most complicated machine we've ever encountered anywhere, the most advanced brain with symbolic thinking and the entire corpus of humanity's ideas and frameworks and language that came before cannot possibly come up with something new that isn't delivered from on high by magic?

I am in awe of the brain. I try to understand to comprehend to gather how it works and the more you learn about it the more amazing you find it to be. It may have quirks and illusions; it's fantastic to be sure. It's not some vital element of magical intuition that gives you that human spark. It's not some implausible ephemera, or phantasmagorical pneuma, it's actually you. You. You actually kick that much ass and are actually that awesome made out of water, fat, protein, and bone. And while cognitive biases will always tell you that you can't just be made out of natural normal stuff, we can trace down those thoughts and it's all being thunk on natural normal stuff and nothing magical or unreal. It isn't that cars lack a vital element but cars lack a human brain, and you don't... you are a human brain. No gods required.

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