The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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

A Synthesis: For a Darwinian Theory of Consciousness

A recurring theme (Michael Gazzaniga, Daniel Dennett, William Calvin, etc) is that the brain works as a Darwinian system, in which “mutations” of thought are continuously created and then “selected” by the environment (the same way that mutations of species are continuously created and then selected by the environment).

If we assume that the same general law of evolution is responsible for all living phenomena, from the creation of species to the immune system, and we admit that mind is one of them, then a possible scenario emerges.

Thoughts are continuously and randomly generated, just like the immune system generates antibodies all the time without really knowing which ones will be useful. Thoughts survive for a while, giving rise to “minds” that compete for control of the brain. At each time, one mind prevails because it can better cope with the situation.

Which mind prevails has an influence on which thoughts will be generated in the future. In practice, a mind is the mental equivalent of a phylogenetic thread (of a branch of the tree of life).

We are conscious, by definition, only of the mind that is prevailing.

In ancient times, the minds chaotically generated by the right hemisphere were simply shouted to the left hemisphere, which would act as the mediator with the environment: it would translate hallucinations into actions, and the result of actions into emotions, and emotions would either reinforce or weaken the mind in control. Emotions would select the mind.

This is more evident in children, who explore many unrelated thoughts in a few minutes: their behavior exhibits whatever the various minds produce. Later, the adult is better adjusted to select "minds" and does not need to try them all out. The adult has been "biased" by natural selection to recognize the "best" minds.

The 40 Hz radiation may simply be a way of scanning all available thoughts and of reporting emotions back to all minds (in other words, of reading the outputs of the minds, in the form of thoughts, and of feeding them new inputs, in the form of emotions).


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