"We can derive knowledge from the world; but we cannot derive the world from knowledge." --Tor Norretranders, in The User Illusion
Along with the yummy hilarity of the Comedy Fest last weekend, I found some time to work on that audio collage I was talking about. Here it is in this week's Rock Heals. The final product, which took about 10 hours to create, got me geeking out about the science of consciousness.
As a guy that makes his living from ideas and who spends his free time making things up, I think it's time I give a shout out to my subconcious. What up dog?
A good website, a good play, a good painting, is much better than the group that made it. That's obvious. But humans tend to decide that people making good art are geniuses. I don't think Beethoven was a genius. I just think he tapped into some good shit. And road that train home. He was just a regular guy.
I've been holding on to Tor Norretrander's User Illusion for the past 7 years. I reread portions of it because it fascinates me. The thesis? The human brain becomes conscious of reality a half second after it actually happened. Meaning, our concious self is experiencing a representation of existence. That representation is only a small nugget of the actual information our brains receive. Kind of like a graphic user interface is a recreation of the calculations happening within a computer. In fact, the term "user illusion" comes from experiments done at XEROX PARC that eventually turned into the interfaces we use in OSX, Linux and Windows. The book goes beyond this stuff and starts connecting this delay to environmental, social and political problems.
What this means is, trust the gut. Get excited about stuff. Be willing to trust things that feel right. As Norretrander says, "It is important to dare to be pleased that we are not in full control, are not concious all the time; to enjoy the liveliness of nonconsciousness and combine it with the discipline and reliability of consciousness. Life is really more fun when you are not conscious of it."