Re: NEURO/HUMOR/PHIL: A neuroanatomy koan

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Tue Apr 11 2000 - 20:41:46 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> Koan:
> You know that when you see a book, you are truly seeing your visual
> cortex. You know that when you touch and hold a book, you are truly
> feeling your sensorimotor cortex. If you identify with your neurology,
> you will imagine that the feelings exist inside your head, in the back
> for the visual cortex, or along that center strip for sensorimotor
> cortex. You can feel it in your imagination: The book exists inside
> the visual cortex, which is *here* inside your head, and in the
> sensorimotor cortex, which is *there*.
> But you do not truly identify with your own neurology until you realize
> that this spatial representation, this perception of location, itself
> exists inside your parietal lobe - which is located at the top and back
> of your head.
> Now, quick: When you imagined that the spatial representation (of the
> visual cortex and sensorimotor cortex) was inside the parietal lobe (at
> the top and back of your head), were you imagining the parietal lobe as
> being inside its own "meta-model" of the brain, or inside the same
> spatial representation you were imagining the visual cortex and the
> sensorimotor cortex in? In other words, did you imagine a spatial model
> of the visual cortex and sensorimotor cortex contained in a spatial
> model of the parietal lobe, or did you imagine a spatial model of the
> visual cortex, sensorimotor cortex, and parietal lobe all contained in
> said parietal lobe?
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Member, Extropy Institute
> Senior Associate, Foresight Institute

I imagined a spatial model of the brain but not its full complexity.
Similarly, a computer might know its place in a network diagram but not be
able to realize itself completely or to emulate itself.

So I read this post and started focussing on a point or area about a half
inch above and two inches behind my right eye. Then I clicked the reply
button and started typing.

I have been reading about fuzzy logic. When I touch this book then the
nerves in my fingertips have transmitted electric or chemical pulses by my
nerves to my brain which as it has been trained since activation to do so
recognizes it as touch, the cover on the fingers and pages leafed under the
thumbs. The eyes separately gain input of two facing pages and interpret
the text written, which is fed through the specialized page reading layer
into recognition of the writing and organization of the cognizance. So,
this is compared to my current state of mind and thus to all previously
received sensory input and internal cognitive development. Thus these words
are read.

So I am thinking that right behind the eye is the optic nerve. What is
directly above and behind that?


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:14 MDT