The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Paradox of Attention

Attention is the process by which we focus on something. This sounds like an oxymoron, because the brain is always reacting to everything. Therefore it can't focus on "something".  The sheer amount of data that enters the brain at every second is a distraction.

The brain is always processing everything that comes in, whether from the eyes or from the ears. The brain behaves like a machine reacting to all the inputs it receives. It doesn't have a choice: those inputs are transformed into electrochemical messages that cause electrochemical reactions spreading from the senses to the inner units of the brain. Limiting the brain's work to just one of these electrochemical processes is impossible. All the processes are going on at the same time, just because data hit our senses, and just because the senses always send signals to the brain, and just because every signal causes processing in the brain.

That is why, when we are driving and looking for a street in an unfamiliar neighborhood, we often turn down the radio.  We cannot control the processing of the brain but we can control what data enter the brain.

Attention is a contradiction in terms.

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