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Is Consciousness Adaptive?

Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:37 pm
by shrimperdude
Confusion over whether consciousness, as it has been manifested in our generation (I was born in 1950), indicates there has been some horribly misguided evolutionary mistake that can only lead to extinction, or whether consciousness, as we are just beginning to understand it, was the most eloquent of solutions that will bring about another quantum leap into an unimaginably creative and powerful next state. Combine what experience we've had, with evolution so far, with the deeper meaning of quantum and I for one am filled with hope for both the near and the most distant future. It may be that it will be the pessimists who will fan the flames that are heating up all the renewed interest in Jaynes with their pie-in-the-sky wish to somehow return to the bicameral or pre-conscious state; flames which could quickly ignite a real movement, armed with high-tech tools and techniques that actually work, which will greatly accelerate the painfully slow pace of evolution.

I believe not only that this is indeed possible (after all it is essentially a 'software' innovation we are talking about here; we don't have to grow better brains!), but that we might take some helpful cues from these first texts about what aided the more rapid transition the last time around. We need to focus on what the movement is that JJ's ideas have already set in motion, and let those that will follow behind attend to the arguments over neurological structure; redefining useful terms to better describe a global workspace; designing ever more creative research projects that can get themselves funded. The wandering in Exodus seems to have brought about almost complete realignment mentally and socially, perhaps aided by the emplacement of a codified law, perhaps in concert with other important 'aids' detailed in the same story, but perhaps overlooked because we're still to concerned with proving out the mental mechanisms to even notice the social ones that were probably much more important. Other literatures need to be re-examined in this new light. I believe the evidence and the helpful hints are there waiting!