Serial consciousness

Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko (
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 03:46:17 -0400

I had a discussion today with a colleague that started with
some Dennett's statements on serial nature of consciousness.
Checking The Source ("Consciousness Explained"):
"... [ Human consciousness] is largely a product of cultural
evolution that gets imparted to brains in early training".

So consciousness evolved with, and *for*, exchange of experiences
and ideas in social interaction. To share some information on
personal experiences, and derived conclusions, one needs to
generalize it beyond just personal experience, and express it in
some transportable and common representation. The necessary
machinery for such operations plays the role of social interface
software - no wonder that we have clear terms for our social roles,
and not even basic observer access to the internal brain functions.
The architecture of this interface software should be optimized for
the hardware - body structure - available for expressing things.
Now, here is something that I just noticed. Human bodies didn't have
any built-in specialized knowledge output devices, and couldn't build
any. So they had to signal with whatever organs they had. And these
organs did not happen to allow much in terms of parallel output.
So, though most of the brain functions are parallel, and so are the
biological sensors - which makes both ideal for accepting parallel data
- the outputs were serial, and so most knowledge inputs were also
serial - and so the processes for handling them had to be built to the
serial specifications.

I wonder what kind of consciousness we would develop if we had a
parallel output device - e.g., have the skin surface work as a hi-res

Alexander Chislenko <>
Firefly Network, Inc.: <>