Trying to understand the consciousness issue has been in the works since, well, since we’ve been conscious. What the heck is it? How does it work? Is there a little pilot controlling my brain or is consciousness an illusion created by the complex nature of billions of neurons working together?
A new theory from a neuroscientist at Princeton University has been introduced… and it involves puppets!
You can read the full theory here (http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/how-consciousness-works/), but I’ll give you the undeserved summary:
- We tend to attribute consciousness where intellectually it doesn’t really exist, like puppets or a simulated AI program
- During evolution, animals were able to boost the most urgent incoming signals, like information necessary for survival. Since too many signals of information are received, there needed to be a way to isolate the important stuff.
- This eventually lead to what we understand as “attention” and attention requires control of data being received. Mammals and birds have this.
- Modern robotics help us understand this as “control theory”, which can be understood that when a robot is to control something, it needs to have an internal model of that thing. We do the same. We internalize the thing we’re are giving our attention to and create sympathy, in a sense.
- So, therefore, when we focus our attention, we become of aware of whatever we’re focusing on. Thus, awareness. It continued to evolve to what it is today, us arguing about what consciousness is.
Pretty neat stuff, but this summary doesn’t do it justice. It’s a bit of a lengthy read but it’s worth it.
If you’re hungry for more theories and want to know what they are saying on the other side of the school yard, check out Biocentric Universe theory.