The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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

Selectionism

William Calvin introduced the idea that the brain works all the time just like Nature works all the time at producing and selecting species. The brain is a small ecosystem of “thoughts” that are continuously produced in countless variations and then selected depending on which one suits the current conditions.

In this sense we dream all the time. When we are awake, the rational part of the brain selects the “dreams” that make sense and disposes of the ones that don’t make sense. When we are asleep, that “rational” center is not working (its inhibitory power is relaxed) and therefore our mind is flooded with random dreams. The difference between a dream and a thought is basically just that the dream has not been certified by the rational center.

The US neuropsychologist Patrick McNamara resurrected the Darwinian theory of dreaming embraced a century earlier by Henri Bergson and William James that predated this idea.

The US psychologist Mark Blechner proposed “oneiric Darwinism”: during dreams existing ideas can mutate into new ideas, which are then either retained or discarded depending on how well they match reality.

 


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