Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The User Illusion

Awhile back I finished an mostly interesting book called The User Illusion. The book contained some worthwhile passages, some of which I shall share with you now. (Some of the passages are quoted from other works, please read all three)

"Consciousness is not to be identified with any particular perceptual-cognitive functions such as discriminative response to stimulation, perception, memory, or the higher mental processes involved in judgement or problem-solving. All of these functions can take place outside of phenomenal awareness. Rather, consciousness is an experimental quality that may accompany any of these functions."
- John Kihlstron, Science (1987) in The User Illusion, p. 172-173

"Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of... How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate! It is like asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light everywhere. And so consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when actually it does not."
- Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976), in The User Illusion, p. 174

"We do not see what we sense. We see what we think we sense. Our consciousness is presented with an interpretation, not the raw data. Long before this presentation, an unconscious information processing has discarded information so that what we see is a simulation, a hypothesis, an interpretation; and we are not free to choose."
- Tor Norrentranders (author), The User Illusion, p. 186-187


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