Re: Serial consciousness

Michael Butler (
Thu, 26 Sep 1996 11:22:41 PST

> So, how do we get there? And is the limit due to the rest of our brains
> (which cannot handle the load of more than 7+-2 things at once) or bad
> design (there has so far not been any need for more than 7 things at
> once). If the latter, then increased intelligence may be within reach.
> (Of course, this is just one aspect of intelligence. We might get
> paralyzed by all the possibilities too if we are not careful).

Speaking from personal experience: been there, done that. :\ :)
Last time I did a Myers-Briggs (years ago), I evaluated as EN<T+F>P,
what some would call a "visionary journalist"--talk about paralysis! <big g>

Properly directed attention is a wondrous thing. The lack of an
operating manual for the brain has been remarked on by many.
Some people think that "mania", "depression", "dysthymia",
"obsessive-compulsive disorder" and "autism" are in many cases just
different-appearing quasi-stable states that all boil down to an
inability to shift attention. And stuckness sure can look like
stupidity. Of course, so can irrelevance (mania, schizophrenia)
that may not look like "stuckness" to some people.

My current view is that "chunking up" (which may be the same as
subsumption, I'm not sure), delegating (using trust and Iterated
Prisoner's Dilemma) properly, and "optimal" (low-overshoot) context
switching are all ways to get a lot more out of the brain I've got
right now.

In my case, five years of introspection following a failed
relationship, plus the Avatar course, plus some work with my
neurochemistry seems to have put me in my personal bliss zone more of
the time than I would have thought possible or comprehensible say ten
years ago. Have you seen the "Hedonistic Imperative" Web page?

I think the notion that seven plus or minus two was just good enough
to get the genes through is probably a workable "least hypothesis".

MMB, at but not for OCV