Thoughts for the New Year: Humans are often only one layer deep, and that gets in the way of meaning…

Here’s something that’s disturbing about humans: when it comes to our most strongly held opinions, the more strongly they’re held, the less likely there’s anything of substance underneath. Especially when they’re based on how we feel… We’re evolved animals, and pretty much everything we experience Read More …

Are you a Philosophical Zombie?

How do you know that you exist? OK, I’m not going down the hackneyed “are you a brain in a box?” or “are we in a simulation?”. Better thinkers than myself have addressed these (actually serious) questions better than I ever could. What I’m talking Read More …

The illusion of control and choice (#nofreewill)…

Following on from my last entry – I wanted to explore more on the topic of unconscious versus conscious choice, and our ability to make conscious choices versus our perception of that ability. Let’s see what we can come up with. For the majority of our Read More …

Demystifying the unconscious…

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d try something a bit more challenging than usual, and less ranty! I’ve chosen a deliberately obtuse title today – so let’s start with some demystification of that… Most of us have a pretty limited idea of what Read More …

Memetic inoculation – how to develop immunity to memetic hacking (and avoid the Zombie apocalypse)

A while back I wrote about memes and how they can ‘hack’ past our consciousness (here). I suggested that some concepts, like religion, are particularly effective at getting past our conscious defences because, as ‘sticky’ memes, they are able to trigger a wide range of fundamental human Read More …

Believing in mirages: The convincing illusion of reality

Last week I wrote about my spaniel, Moose, and how he’s dependent on a ‘blankie’ to help him regulate his emotions (here), mostly because he’s lacking development in the part of the brain that we use to focus our attention. Because of this limitation, his Read More …

Memes, Consciousness and Mind Hacking – Part 2 (The Magus Syndrome)

So quick precis of last week: I referred to memes, an evolved method of communicating complex information between human beings, and suggested that they can be an ideal mechanism for hacking human consciousness (by bypassing regular mechanisms and reinforcing themselves through neurobiological reward). I also Read More …

My theory about Brontosauruses (or why most of us never really grow up)

This entry, I’d like to talk about why most of us (myself included) take so long to figure out how to be human. In previous posts, I’ve talked a lot about the “inner monkey” (here)– the fact that it’s particularly difficult to be human when Read More …

Spanking the Inner Monkey – Part 1

Understanding the limbic system versus the neocortex and why most of us live our lives as smart monkeys rather than human beings Up to now I’ve presented lots of ideas about why this and that, but mostly from a wider societal viewpoint, with lots of Read More …

Consciousness, operating systems, and why we struggle with change – Part 2

In my last post I talked about how the analogy of hardware and software and the files that run on that software can be a good way of understanding why it’s difficult for us to make change easily, or to integrate new ideas into our Read More …

Consciousness, operating systems, and why we struggle with change – Part 1

We often like to think of the human brain as analogous to computer hardware, with the mind or consciousness as the software or operating system. It’s by no means a perfect analogy (in reality, the whole system is insanely complex and works a bit more Read More …