My blog goes live

Greetings. I announced when I retired six months ago that I was starting a blog called “The Presence of Mind: an objective look at the subjective world”, and I am now announcing that the blog is live and can be found at:

The Presence of Mind

If even the thought of reading about how the mind works makes your head hurt, you are under no obligation to go any further. After all, we are perfectly designed to use our minds without having the faintest idea how we do it, and that is fine. But when I was a kid I felt like we almost knew everything and would probably have the rest figured out by the time I grew up. Gradually the depths of our ignorance drowned out this dream, and I was left feeling like we’ll never have all the answers. But it bugs me. It seems to me like we have a lot of the answers but haven’t articulated them. So that is what I am trying to do. I can’t explain why all the experts in the world are missing the forest for the trees, except that I think science is structured more to refine paradigms than change them, and the current paradigms of the mind didn’t leave any space for ideas, which are what power the mind. I guess you could say they are pinning their hopes on neurotransmitters and brain wiring, but it turns out computers need more than just hardware, they need software, and software is all about ideas. It’s like they’ve come to school with their alphabet blocks but don’t yet realize language exists.

If you can think of anyone else who might be interested, please forward to them. Due to an Outlook glitch, I lost most of the AIG names to whom I sent my announcement six months ago. This note is BCC’ed to 241 people, while that note went to about 1000. So a lot of people who are expecting me to follow up won’t hear from me.

My first six posts provide an overview of my theory, which I am calling the Top-Down Theory of Mind or TDTM. Subsequent posts will delve into details, integrate other theories, and examine implications. The implications should be the most interesting part, because TDTM is uniquely positioned to provide an objective perspective on topics previously only addressable subjectively, like belief systems and societal issues, including politics.

Also, not incidentally, is the promise and threat of computers. Now is an interesting time in the history of civilization because we are passing through the tipping point from a civilization of things to one of information. This transition hinges on mastering information management, which is currently only done by minds and computers. Computers are catching up with us fast in many ways, from games like chess and go to general skills like driving and object recognition. They will give us the computational power (like manpower or horsepower) to study our minds in detail and replicate our abilities, which we will then use to build a truly advanced civilization. In the process, we will lose our monopoly on intellectual power, but that doesn’t mean we will need to compete with robots for rights. Establishing a true and worthwhile sense of purpose took life on earth billions of years to tune, and I doubt it can be replicated artificially. But I’m getting ahead of myself… I’ll get to topics like that eventually, but not to speculate subjectively, to speak with objective support.

Steve