(The title of this post pays homage to the great movie "Time Bandits")
Our recent discussions involving consciousness got me curious about what other people have thought up so far. So I type "theories of consciousness" into Google. As always, wikipedia popped up close to the top and lured me in with a nice summary of the situation.
Under the Evolutionary Biology section I found this:
Budiansky, by contrast, limits consciousness to humans, proposing that human consciousness may have evolved as an adaptation to anticipate and counter social strategems of other humans, predators, and prey. Alternatively, it has been argued that the recursive circuitry underwriting consciousness is much more primitive, having evolved initially in premammalian species because it improves the capacity for interaction with both social and natural environments by providing an energy-saving "neutral" gear in an otherwise energy-expensive motor output machine
This is alluring. Adaptation loves energy-saving devices. Elsewhere in the wiki someone posited that consciousness wasn't needed until "culture" came about (I interpret this as group selection literally guiding physical changes).
Another section brought up Julian Jaynes' The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. I've never read this book, but I keep coming across it. Smart people have heralded it and then denounced it. Its weird. But could it fit with the Stroke of Insight author's experience? I may have to breakdown and buy the weird thing. Stolen sentences include:
Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the real world. It is built up like a vocabulary or lexical field whose terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical world. Its reality is of the same order as mathematics. It allows us to shortcut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate decisions. Like mathematics, it is an operator rather than a repository. And it is intimately bound up with volition and decision.
...and page 65...
It operates by way of analogy, by way of constructing an analog space with an analog "I" that can observe that space, and move metaphorically in it.
...and perhaps most tellingly, page 66...
there is nothing in consciousness that is not an analog of something that was in behavior first.
Really, what is the use of all the other wonders of the world if we don't have a conscious to admire them with? Hence, it is The Most Fabulous Object In The World.
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