Sunday, September 19, 2004

What does it feel like to make a choice?

People talk about free will a lot and how it feels like they can make their own decisions and how can that be with what we know about physics. I think the first premise is wrong. It doesn't feel like we can make our own decisions. Its easy to tell this, just try to think of what it feels like to make a choice. You don't know do you? You can't even figure out when the choice is being made. After it happens you think you made a choice but at the time its just what you did. This is much closer to reality then the myth that we feel like we can make choices.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Its all right now!

Inspired by Rock and Roll by The Velvet Underground:

It's always now. When somebody talks, one only hears what they are saying one instant at a time but we manage to understand things a word at a time. Not only that but we hear things one word at a time. At least it feels that way. It's not a normal kind of memory that makes this possible. We don't play it back in our minds to understand. It's all held in the mind at once. When we read, we see a word all at once. It is much easier to understand how we can see a word all at once than it is to understand how we can hear a word all at once. The written word is all right there in front of us all at one time. The spoken word is not there to be heard all at once.

When one repeats a word over and over it loses its meaning and we just hear the sound in the word and not the whole. It then becomes funny. Think of the word George. Seeing it in print it seems like an everyday word. But if I spell it Jorj, you are forced to sound it out. Now it becomes a funny name. This works for all words. I think when we repeat a word, or sound it out, the word doesn't get processed by the language part of the brain. This part of the brain must have some way of letting us experience a word all at once.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


Scientists try to get as much information as they can about the world around them. What they fail to realize is that its all right in front of them, hiding out in the open. The most direct way to know everything about the universe is to just watch what's going on. Every piece of information we can know has its own spot in our consciousness. Someone could use a computer to calculate exactly what sounds are in a room but that's indirect and incomplete. It's much easier just to listen. A taste can be broken down into the chemicals in the food but knowing this isn't the same as actually tasting the food. Any given scene around a person tells the story of the whole universe. The current scene someone is watching necessarily involves the rest of the universe, so when a person knows the current scene he knows all.