Reading assignment

For “Computers for the Rest of You” we had to read two texts about consciouness: What Consciousness is Not and Power of Now and comment on them.
Here are some excerpts that I found interesting:
“Consciousness actually reduces our earning abilities of this type, let alone not being necessary for them.”
“Members of a psychology class were asked to compliment any girl at the college wearing red. Within a week the cafeteria was a blaze of red (and friendliness), and none of the girls was aware of being influenced.”
“At this point, we can at least conclude that it is possible – possible I say – to conceive of human beings who are not conscious and yet can learn and solve problems.”
“And our memory fades as to what just happened even as we are trying to express it.”
“We often talk about the three B’s, the Bus, the Bath, and the Bed. That is where the great discoveries are made in our science.”
“Here it is only necessary to conclude that consciousness does not make all that much difference to a lot of our activities.”

Here are my comments on the readings:
a) What struck me the most is that learning does not seem to be a conscious process – we seem to just absorb things as they come, to be processed later – makes sense if you think of babies – they have no idea what school is or that they are learning by simply being around language. The collective consciousness also was very interesting (tell girls in red that they look great and in one week every girl is unknowingly wearing red) – which for me indicated the notion of God being a social/collective unconscious phenomena – you tell people every time something “miraculous” or disastrous happens that it was an act of God – sure enough, after a while, everyone is able to see and feel God as if it was real.
b) I agree with Caleb in the sense that there is no magic pill yet the if the methods of the book are taken seriously, I believe that they can truly work. In an interesting parallel to the previous reading, this book starts with the assumption that consciousness is not only real but that it affects your body. I remember not wanting to go to school when I was a kid because I had not done a homework, and sure enough I would wake up with a fever. I actually learned that behavior and repeated it a few times – though after the third time I realized that a fever hurt more than the teacher’s scorn or the bad grade. I guess the conclusion here is that there is mind over matter but there is also matter over mind (red is said to be cool, and suddenly everyone is wearing red – a thought is transposed to reality).

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