Link: PRISMs, Gom Jabbars, and Consciousness (Peter Watts)


Morsella has gone back to ba­sics. For­get art, sym­phonies, sci­ence. For­get the step-by-step learn­ing of com­plex tasks. Those may be some of the things we use con­scious­ness for now but that doesn’t mean that’s what it evolved for, any more than the cones in our eyes evolved to give kalei­do­scope mak­ers some­thing to do. What’s the prim­i­tive, bare-bones, nuts-and-bolts thing that con­scious­ness does once we’ve stripped away all the self-ag­gran­diz­ing bom­bast?

Morsella’s an­swer is delight­fully mun­dane: it me­di­ates con­flict­ing mo­tor com­mands to the skele­tal mus­cles.