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A Neural Theory of Mind

robin walker rwalker at grithill.demon.co.uk
Tue Apr 23 17:08:31 EST 1996

In article: <4lgt8j$cam at itssrv1.ucsf.edu>  paul at phy.ucsf.edu (Paul Bush) writes:

	Lots snipped

> As we go
> higher up W (in complexity), the role of real world data diminishes -
> the complex concepts are much less dependent on physical data than low
> level perceptions - and thinking (meditation) becomes a viable tool of
> discovery of the structure of W. The key question here is whether W
> has a limit - is there a single concept at the top of complexity space
> that contains all relevant information? The fact that lots of time is
> yet to come is not relevant - this concept would abstract very far
> forward into the future. It is interesting to note that many
> Eastern philosophies assert that there is, and the path to reaching it
> (progressively building sW) is through meditation after a series of
> life experiences (data collection). The mind (frontal cortex) must be
> cleared (eyes closed - shut out new distracting input). This concept
> is often refered to as 'Oneness', the idea that all things are
> related. The highest concept in W abstracts features from all other
> features of the world, and so is undoubtedly a good candidate. They
> also assert that this concept cannot be understood by anyone who has
> not reached it themselves. We see that this is true by the neural
> definition of understanding - a very high level new concept cannot be
> incorporated into a low level sW. It is also asserted that this
> concept would be the meaning of existence. Certainly any concept that
> abstracted all the relevant information out of the world would
> qualify. The principles of Buddism state that life is full of
> suffering caused by desire (lower brain inputs). The route to
> enlightenment (highest concept in W) is to gain control over your
> emotions and meditate (supress lower brain inputs to free up all
> frontal cortex to abstract very high level concepts from your existing
> sW). I don't know what to make of this stuff.

I fully agree with your idea of a complexity pyramid, but respectfully suggest that in this last section you are missing the 
point. There may well be a single concept at the top of W but this is not the same as the single concept at the top of sW.
At the top of sW is the concept of "self" which is the nucleus around which all other concepts, with complexity decreasing 
inversly with radius, orbit. 

Putting "self" at the top solves some interesting problems, not least the puzzle of multiple personalities where one could 
speculate that some trauma has resulted in the pyramid having two or more peaks of the same complexity level, all using 
sub-sets of the same lower order concepts but only one having attention (i.e. being in control) at one time. (Probably only 
one concept at a given level can ever have attention at one time.) Of course a good method actor has something similar 
except his acting persona are represented by smaller peaks on the flanks of the complexity pyramid and are therefore 
subordinate to the central self and can be properly integrated. Control can be temporarily passed to the role without 
attention ever being totally lost by the "self".

Well, it's only a thought :-)
Robin Walker

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