Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's All in the Head

It occurred to me last night that whole notion of a self separate from the body may arise from the basic fact that four of our five senses are located in the head. This creates a "perceptual bias" in which the organism becomes "top-heavy" so to speak and we begin to experience a perceiving self (head) that is separate from the body.

I wonder if this imbalance really kicked in when man learned to walk upright? (Norman O. Brown suggested something of the sort.) Maybe that coincided with the inception of thought, which arose out of necessity when instincts became insufficiently nuanced to navigate the spectrum of possibilities. (Eg when self-preservation instinct was equally opposed by procreative instinct and the organism had to "decide" between the two.)


Bruno said...

This inspired me to write a text

Anonymous said...

Brain, bodily awareness, and the emergence of a conscious self: these entities and their relations are explored by German philosopher and cognitive scientist Metzinger. Extensively working with neuroscientists he has come to the conclusion that, in fact, there is no such thing as a "self" -- that a "self" is simply the content of a model created by our brain - part of a virtual reality we create for ourselves.

But if the self is not "real," he asks, why and how did it evolve?