The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Purpose Of A Brain

The British neurologist John Young once argued that "the most important thing about living beings is that they remain alive". A stable state (homeostasis) is what they aim for. Young claims that homeostasis is precisely the job of the brain, the most delicate job of all.  Homeostasis requires appropriate responses to the environment, responses whose goal is to keep the state stable.  The brain's job is to maintain homeostasis through the selection of appropriate responses.  The brain is the computer of a “homeostat”.  This computer uses a memory, or, better, two memories. One memory is the one created by evolution and inherited at birth, that contains knowledge that can be used in many commonly-occurring situations, whereas the other memory (the one we call "memory") is the one that contains up-to-date knowledge about the outcome of actions during our lifetime. What these two memories do is to collect information (over generations or over a lifetime) that helps the brain define the desired state and maintain that stable state.

 


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