Re: memetics-digest V1 #1011

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Tue Apr 09 2002 - 03:37:03 BST

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: memetics-digest V1 #1011"

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #1011
    Date: Mon, 08 Apr 2002 19:37:03 -0700
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    >On Monday, April 8, 2002, at 04:20 , Grant Callaghan wrote:
    >>There is no seeing without thinking
    >There is no visual perception without nerve activity, but, personally, I
    >do not call all such activity 'thought'. There is a great deal of
    >perception (observation) done as mere nerve activity.
    >>We can't divorce these preconceptions from our observations.
    >Here is where we digress, as I would say there is a long list of
    >precedents involving observation sans preconception. I would even go as
    >far as declaring that 'observation', as something meaning actually
    >seeing and dealing with what is in front of your face, demands the
    >release of preconceptions. What is 'observed' while being stained with
    >preconceptions is faulty, and not really observed at all, but, refused.
    >>Past experience gives us a preconceived bias about what category to put
    >>the signals in
    >The very act of putting these signals in to _anything_ is a falsifying
    >of the observation.
    >>I would say that observation is a form of thought.
    >Purposeful and intentional observation is indeed a discipline of thought.
    >Sensory stimulation is not.
    >- Wade
    What we're disagreeing on here is either how to define thought or how the
    brain works. I just stored my books away for a while to move my office from
    one place to another, but I will give you the quotes from neurologists as
    soon as I have access again. Meanwhile, I think we may just be talking
    about different things.

    Categorizing, to my mind, is a form of thought. Perception does not take
    place in the absence of it. Philosophical thought is something else
    entirely. It means wondering about what you saw after the fact. The act of
    categorization is so elementary and natural we are seldom aware of doing it.
      But the reason we ignore most of what we see when driving (for example) is
    because we have already seen it before and categorized it as something we
    don't need to pay attention to. But that doesn't mean we don't see it.
    With a little effort, the entire trip can be summoned up and reconstructed.

    All of perception is that way. What you are calling seeing, I believe, is
    perceptions that we pay attention to. The ones we are "conscious" of. But
    a lot more is flooding our brains with signals than we are conscious of. We
    simply choose to ignore one signal in order to pay more attention to
    another. When I read a book, I sometimes don't hear people talking to me (a
    trait my family often complains about). But that doesn't mean the sound was
    not received and processed by my brain. It just took me a little while to
    remove my attention from where it was fixed and turn it toward a competing

    If you only regard the thoughts generated by what you are paying attention
    to as "thought," then I might agree with that. But I consider what my brain
    is processing through my five senses without fixing my attention on it to be
    perception and thought as well. They both influence how I react to things.
    Any sudden change in my environment can trigger a refocusing of my
    attention. That's because my brain was keeping track of what was going on
    around me but didn't see a need to fucus on it. It was thinking about it,
    but choosing to ignore it.

    If you're not calling that "thinking," I can work with that. It just wasn't
    what I was talking about.



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