Theater of the Mind
If the brain is the theatre, consciousness is the play. But who or what controls what we watch and how we watch it? Haveyou ever been driving down the highway and suddenly realized that you have no memory of the last few miles? Why does it seem to take so much longer to get there than to get back? Do you remember images, sounds and aromas from your past vividly, but recreate them very differently in your dreams? Have you ever wondered if you see the world in the same way as those around you?
This was the topic of a great lecture I went to last night, Theater of the Mind, by Jay Ingram. In it, he explained how little we are actually conscious of, by means of showing us various illusions and explaining some recent psychological studies. You see the FedEx logo all the time, but have you seen the arrow in it? Your eyes see it, even if your brain doesn’t know. Ever noticed how if you hear your name mentioned at a party, you can recreate the last few words that were said before it, even though you weren’t listening and you weren’t even aware that you heard? Your subconscious did. Even so, subliminal advertising doesn’t really work, unless you are already thirsty, you happen to like Coke anyway, and it was extremely hyped up against Pepsi. Why doesn’t it work? Are animals conscious? I mean, we all know that cats are, but dogs… I’m not so sure. There are great arguments on both sides. Can a robot be conscious? Surprisingly, Ingram thinks it may eventually be possible. Wierd.
It was a great lecture and afterward, although I didn’t buy a book, I stood in line to shake his hand and tell him he’s been a role model of mine. Cool people who do their best to encourage science and love of science are just so important. People like Jay Ingram are what taught me that even though I’m a girl, science is fun.