See Also: Book Notes, (me), The Righteous Mind, Happiness Hypothesis, Consciousness: Confessions, Blank Slate, Info Viz & Perception, Social C.o Earth, On Intelligence, The Quest for Consciousness, The Stuff of Thought, Neuroscience of Human Relationships, Human: Makes Us Unique, Thinking, Fast and Slow
Notes on Meca Sapiens, by Jean E. Tardy and I am a Strange Loop, by, Douglas Hofstadter.
Why put these two books together? Both authors have little interest in the actual functioning of the human brain. Tardy wants to build a conscious machine that is functionally equivalent. Hofstadter is interested in the output of the brain. He uses an analogy of listening to Chopin's "Winter Wind". Had the recording, the speaker, air molecules all been different, he would have heard the same music.
Both authors articulate the need for consciousness to be embodied - to have a self. There is some truth to this notion, that I feel deep within my self. (note to self, go back and give Damasio's Self Comes to Mind a second chance). place AD for Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.'s SelfLeadership.org here.
They are weave spirituality into the mix. Hofstadter is clearly in the Spiritual, but, not Religious and Tardy is strongly Christian. Also, I am a Strange Loop as some pointers to follow up on and they both have an index, neither is offered as a hard science book.
Tardy's mixing in religion was a little tedious for me. The reasoning of why the meca-sapiens would fit into the Christian dogma were interesting to me. I am an amateur theology geek, so, that was fun/fine, altho it did not resonate with me. The repeated bashing of atheists offense and when he discussed other religions as too primitive seemed to contradicts his problem with atheists.
Gave up on it. Read Epilogue - The Quandary. Awesome. So, here are some things worth remembering.
p. 357 The key problem is, it seems to me, that when we try to understand what we are, we humans are doomed, as spiritual creatures in a universe of mere stuff, to eternal puzzlement about our nature. "
p.361 Thrust: The Hard Problem And this is our central quandary. Either we believe in a nonmaterial soul that lives outside the laws of physics, which amounts to a nonscientific belief in magic, or we reject that idea, in which case the eternally beckoning question "What could ever make a mere physical pattern be me?" — the question that philosopher David Chalmers has seductively and successfully nicknamed "The Hard Problem" — seems just as far from having an answer today (or, for that matter, at any time in the future) as it was many centuries ago.
p.363 In the end we self-perceiving, self-inventing, lockcd-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference. We believe in marbles that disintegrate when we search for them but that are as real as any genuine marble when we're not looking for them. Our very nature is such as to prevent us from fully understanding its very nature. Poised midway between the unvisualizable cosmic vastness of curved Spacetime and the dubious, shadowy flickerings of charged quanta, we human beings, more like rainbows and mirages than like raindrops or boulders, are unpredictable self-writing poems - vague, metaphorical, ambiguous, and sometimes exceedingly beautiful.
To see ourselves this way is probably not as comforting as believing in ineffable other-worldly wisps endowed with eternal existence, but it has its compensations. What one gives up on is a childlike sense that things are exactly as they appear, and that our solid-seeming, marble-like "I" is the realest thing in the world; what one acquires is an appreciation of how tenuous we are at our cores, and how wildly different we are from what we seem to be. As Kurt Gttdel with his unexpected strange loops gave us a deeper and subtler vision of what mathematics is all about, so the strange-loop characterization of our essences gives us a deeper and subtler vision of what it is to be human. And to my mind, the loss is worth the gain.
p.275 Consciousness = Thinking
So Where's Consciousness in my Loopy Tale?
From the very start in this book- I have used a few key terms pretty much interchangeably: "self", "soul", "1", "a light on inside", and "consciousness"- To me, these are all names for the same phenomenon. To other people, they may not seem to denote one single thing, but that's how they seem to me.
... Cogito ergo sum. I think therefore I am.
p.279 ... to find precedents and analogues — in other words, to simplify while not letting essence slip away.2013.09.08 YON