At the end of the last episode…..
So, we envision a large, constantly changing simulation (the KaK) of the whole Kit and Kaboodle ( inside and outside, unconscious and conscious) that is unique to each of us, beginning with the first neurons 30 days after conception and entirely stopping only with our death. Since the driving flow that organizes the KaK is meaning, the unique development of the simulation for each of us is truly our own and remains that way throughout life.
Kit and Kaboodle
Inside and Out
We experience our personal KaK as having an inside (our subjective experience), an outside (the world), and an interface between them (the “end” of our body and our self). But that boundary between inside and outside is very fluid. For example, if you become proficient at using a tool, your KaK treats the tool as if it were part of the inside even though the effects of the tool are outside, in a way similar to our experience of our hands or mouth. Life events regularly change the relationships between inside, outside, and the interface between them.
Unconscious and Conscious
The Unconscious has come a long way since Freud. It should be termed the Nonconscious and includes what we think of as reflex (still driven by meaning) and an extraordinary array of algorithmic-like processes that organize, stabilize, and change the KaK. The interface between the conscious and unconscious is relatively weak, and in fact, the two operate as surprisingly independent “beings”. The Nonconscious (NC) is 10 to 100 times faster than the Conscious for most of its activity, and we experience it as unchanging though this is mostly a lack of awareness by the Conscious of what the Unconscious is doing. The Conscious includes nearly nonconscious modular capabilities such as, for example, an evolving set of suppositions about what the outside is (which, apparently, can be temporarily altered by hypnosis) and which go together to make up the self (among other things).
The KaK is the product of evolution, and versions of it stretch back deep into the history of living things. What exactly is the point(s) of such a creation?
The KaK is easier to maintain and change than, say, recreating the whole universe every second. The KaK is more efficient than the alternatives for building and maintaining learning over the course of a single being’s existence.
Because the KaK develops a sophisticated model of what we experience, it is easier for us to understand what other humans, animals, plants and things are doing and “why” those outside beings are doing what they are doing.
When we focus our attention, we can largely ignore the rest of the universe by assuming that our KaK’s current version of all of it will remain accurate for the duration of our focus. Magicians use this to distract us.
Because our personal KaK is built from the flow of all around us, it can automatically make available to us what is not immediately there (the backside of a shed we can’t see, the future of our actions, the flow of our car as it cruises at 80 miles an hour down the freeway and the way other things in the outside are changing as we go).
(This is called The Predictive Brain these days, though I think “prediction” is a too strong. It implies that the KaK mechanically tabulates its experiences and development and prints out a kind of graph that we can use to decide what we should do next. I think partial anticipation is more accurate and fits better into the big strategy of evolution.
Most people think that evolution is aiming for something, a kind of ultimate organism. But, what we experience as progress in evolution is more our narcissism organizing the subtlety of evolution to make ourselves seem the most important. The strategy of evolution is generating variety so that no matter what happens, life and evolution will continue.)
The predictions the brain makes are more a system of possibilities than a plan. Imagine that you are sitting in a classroom during a class. Your KaK isn’t just sitting there waiting for something to happen (well, maybe if you are high). Instead, it is maintaining and constantly changing a complex of possible actions that you can do from exactly where you are. As the probabilities of each of the members of the array changes, the complex shifts the array. The higher the probability of an action, the higher the level of preparation the action has in your action complex.
Let’s assume you drank three large sodas just before the class started. As you sit there in your chair, your bladder is filling up and you begin to realize that you may have to exit the class before its end in order to take care of this evolving threat. Going to the bathroom is such a common act that we don’t really think about the preparation and planning it requires. When we finally decide we can’t take it anymore, though, we have to go from exactly where we are to exactly where we want to go, and we have to obey various social rules to actually succeed in that task. Our decision to go is the trigger, but by the time we decide the vast majority of the planning necessary to reach our goal has already been prepared. The vast majority of that prep is Nonconscious.
And that’s why it seems that our habitual behaviors are so effortless.
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