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whenhaveiever t1_itsaqc1 wrote

I think their answer would be that your conscious mind is not making the decision to act. Some other, unconscious part of your mind is making that decision instead, and since the conscious mind's job is to invent the narrative of a unified self, it pretends that it made the decision.

I think this just moves the problem back a level though. We know for sure there is pre-conscious processing of senses, and this seems like a debate about how much pre-conscious processing there is, rather than an explanation of consciousness. As an explanation, it fails for the same reason all consciousness-is-illusion explanations fail, which is that it requires something that experiences the illusion, which is itself a conscious experience.


blueSGL t1_itsji9p wrote

I'm sure I saw a Lex Friedman interview with a neuroscientist who said that experience is a post hoc narrative of events and that you can watch the brain make decisions about choices using fMRI where the choice is fixed in before the conscious observer thinks it is. Annoyingly I can't remember who he was interviewing.


Jordan117 t1_ittombr wrote

>You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?

>Maybe you think it gives you free will. Maybe you've forgotten that sleepwalkers converse, drive vehicles, commit crimes and clean up afterwards, unconscious the whole time. Maybe nobody's told you that even waking souls are only slaves in denial.

>Make a conscious choice. Decide to move your index finger. Too late! The electricity's already halfway down your arm. Your body began to act a full half-second before your conscious self 'chose' to, for the self chose nothing; something else set your body in motion, sent an executive summary—almost an afterthought— to the homunculus behind your eyes. That little man, that arrogant subroutine that thinks of itself as the person, mistakes correlation for causality: it reads the summary and it sees the hand move, and it thinks that one drove the other.

>But it's not in charge. You're not in charge. If free will even exists, it doesn't share living space with the likes of you.

-- Peter Watts, Blindsight


whenhaveiever t1_itsoxv6 wrote

That sounds like this study, and ones similar to it, which has been interpreted that way, but could be interpreted differently as well.


Article_Used t1_itso49o wrote

annaka harris? am on that episode now. the one with jeff hawkins is good too, in a similar vein


BinyaminDelta t1_ittlayk wrote

It was an interview from before Annaka, and maybe a few months back if I recall.


i_max2k2 t1_itsjtpi wrote

I’ve felt this for a little while. Like when you’re driving and you make a split second decision which saves you from an accident, you can reason why it happened, but when you took action you did it on instinct, which came from your unconscious brain.


whenhaveiever t1_itslmmi wrote

There definitely is some kind of unconscious decision-making. Consider also the times you're driving and arrive at your destination and don't remember consciously choosing to take the turns you did. Also relevant I think is ideas like flow and muscle memory, these spaces where you become so good at doing a thing or so used to doing the thing that you can do it at some unconscious or subconscious level.

But I think these unconscious decision-making spaces are evidence against the theory at OP's link, because they show we can tell the difference between conscious decision-making and unconscious decision-making. We have an established concept of mindless vs mindful action, and conscious minds can tell the difference on reflection.


Gaothaire t1_itswajm wrote

There was a discussion in a meditation class I took recently, on the difference between an ethics class discussing the trolley problem in a sterile, classroom manner, vs when you're out in the world living your life, if you see an infant being washed away, drowning in a river, you may instinctually be driven to dive in, risking your own life without thought.

That is, there is a level you exist on where you know the right thing to do, but it's not even you, and not even knowing, there is just a happening occuring, and there is a right way to behave in the same way that there's a right way to behave for a ball rolling down a hill with gravity, or how there's a right way for molecules to complex based on the physics of their chemistry, there are also innate patterns at the body level for living well, like loving children and respecting elders.

The myriad techniques of meditation, then, exist as practices to align yourself with that natural flux of being. There are states of consciousness you can reach (states in the same way you can be awake, asleep, dreaming, ecstatic, furious, present, etc) in which you flow with that current of Being in the same way a rock on a hill flows with gravity.

At a certain state, experientially, you don't feel like you're meditating, the sensation is of being meditated. You aren't lost in your thoughts, your body is just flowing through the motions of being part of an integrated system in the biosphere, the same way your cells do their jobs and your organs do their jobs, so to are there roles you carry out in your position as a member of a family unit and community, and all of that can be incredibly easeful, if living in alignment with your Self and values


Fortkes t1_ittbokl wrote

That would explain procrastination. Your consciousness wants to do something but the real shot caller is like "nah" or they can't even communicate at all.