Cognitive scientist Johnjoe McFadden’s research indicates that consciousness is a “field effect” resulting from “brain’s electromagnetic field interacting with its circuitry.”
Nerve cells firing simultaneously create powerful waves in the field, which in turn cause other neurons to spark. In this way, the electromagnetic field works as a sort of wireless processor, combining the most important information from the hard wiring of the brain into a wireless signal, which is then transmitted back to the brain as conscious thought.
Why don’t other electromagnetic waves effect our consciousness? Because “… our skull and protective membranes effectively block the radiation. According to his calculations, the fields from these outside sources are far weaker than the brain’s own natural electromagnetism.” I’m really into consciousness theories; anyone have any interesting ones?
June 2, 2002 at 2:48 pm
Iintellectuals working in the field of memetics have offered up their own theory of consciousness. In summary, memetics offers an evolutionary model to describe the diffusion of cultural information, such as norms, behaviors, ideas and trends. Central to the memetic model is a fundamental unit of cultural transmission called a meme, an abbreviation of the Greek word mimeme, defined as “something imitated.” It is theorized that the transmission of memes from host to host (human, and in some cases animal) is principally based on imitation.
In her seminal 1999 text titled The Meme Machine, memeticist Susan Blackmore argues that the self is actually a vast memeplex – or a group of memes that travel together – which she calls the “selfplex.” She adds that “each illusory self is a construct of the memetic world in which it successfully competes. Each selfplex gives rise to ordinary human consciousness based on the false idea that there is someone inside who is in charge. The ways we behave, the choices we make, and the things we say are all a result of this complex structure: a set of memeplexes (including the powerful selfplex) running on a biologically constructed system” (p. 236). She argues that many taken for granted human characteristics, such as free will, consciousness, creativity and foresight, are little more than products of memeplexes.
Interesting food for thought, IMHO. Lots of additional information about memetics is available online. The Journal of Memetics (http://jom-emit.cfpm.org/) is a good place to start.
June 3, 2002 at 6:08 pm
Thanks for the info. Everyone be sure to check out BlueGnu’s own site, Media Jihad.