Tuesday, October 07, 2014


This morning in the spirit of trying something new, I followed a link posted by an artist who does pretty spontaneous one shot comics to a video that informed the slogan of the comic: 'Don't think'

Thanks to my grasp of grammar you may actually have to think hard to interpret the above sentence. Anyway, at the opening of the video, which was a reproduction of an audio tape, my mind subconsciously made a bunch of rapid fire decisions that culminated in a conscious thought and an unintelligible feeling 'I don't like this'.

After 3 minutes I decided to close the tab, and the video and the audio in all.

I believe the practice of meditation and mindfulness has many therapeutic benefits, and know it can calm anxiety and build feelings of euphoria. 

Here's the thing though, even without a complete theory of mind (and perhaps even a coherent partial one) I am willing to bet that what we call consciousness, and thought, does something. It does a job. It's useful, and as an adaptation to our environment, has enabled us to survive.

I don't believe in free will, I have a materialistic, determinist view of the universe. I have come to be persuaded of that. But even if thinking is an involuntary process we carry out. It. Does. Something.

We have been conscious thinkers at least since Greek Antiquity, probably far earlier in our evolution, and it has not yet caused the downfall of our species in relation to our environment. The only argument I can conceive against consciousness survival benefits, is that if it has driven our super rapid adaptation to new environments, it may at some future point prove our downfall if we expand faster than food and security needs can be met.

From what I know of economics though, the Malthusean trap has been debunked. Or at least remains unproven. There are better theories of famine out there, backed by a higher standard of evidence.

In the spirit of variety, I believe I should moderate my thinking somewhat, and probably practice more meditation than I do. But I don't think I'll treat my thoughts as an adversary anymore.

They, like fear, are a friend.

No comments: