« Our inner voice is linked to our various selves | Main | The brain creates the mind, which is us »

August 14, 2022


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Thought-provoking article, as usual.

These two ideas I found a bit ...curious. Probably because this is the first I'm hearing of them, and know nothing about them beyond just these incidental references here. First, that bit about our memory changing every time we retrieve it (some particular memory). I mean, how weird, and how counter-intuitive: if anything you'd expect the opposite, that some memory you think about a lot you'd be likely to remember better than some memory you've hardly ever accessed, other things being equal. And two, that memory is seen as a sort of imagination. That is, I know memory is far from inerrant, but a less than perfect record is hardly equivalent to imagination.

Appreciative Reader, here's some links about memories fading/changing over time and when they are recalled.




Thanks for the links, Brian.

Fascinating. So counter-intuitive are these ideas, that one's first impulse is to imagine this isn't quite true; but of course, this is bona fide science, so no question of that. One's next instinct is to imagine, with amusement, that this sort of thing (mistaken memories that one doesn't realize are mistaken) happens to others but not to oneself; but again, a moment's thought makes clear how silly is such a smug idea.

Amazing, how utterly ...porous, how astonishingly insubstantial, is everything about and around this seemingly solid thing that is "us"!

I have recently been reading Lisa Fieldman Barrett’s, ‘How Emotions Are Made” Her research describes how the brain constructs everything we experience, including emotions. She states: - “Its story features unfamiliar characters like simulation and concepts and degeneracy, and it takes place throughout the whole brain at once.”

I mention Barrett’s studies because similar to the studies described in Brian’s latest blog on the Self-Reference Effect which states that “SREs then, are a way to investigate how our sense of self emerges from the workings of the brain—something that multiple research groups have studied intensely”, it is another study that points to the brain as being the source of all that we experience.

For years, studies have revealed how much of what we experience results from the brain, including how the self emerges from the brain and builds our identities. By now, it should be pretty obvious that the brain creates the mind with its entire cognitive repertoire – and basically operates not through actualities but through predictions.

But apparently, the brain is not alone in creating the wonder that is us, simply because the brains responses are dependent on the body and its senses and its environment – which importantly includes other people. The self then is a construct of all the on-going variables that our organism exists with and encounters every moment.

How revelatory it would be to realise the disconnectedness that we are and how we create our own worlds. How ‘heavenly’ it would be to be able to drop systems of belief that serve to separate and alienate us from each other and the world around us.

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