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Mike Roberts

I liked the way Bruce Hood tried to correct his interviewer who stated, without evidence, that no other species has the ability to think about thinking. We do tend to think of our species as ultra special.

The first video isn't available in my country (NZ). Was it a spoof or actual press briefing (the still that comes up doesn't look like Sean Spicer)?

Mike Cooper

The demonstrations of how the brain creates what it thinks is reality based on input but also on prior knowledge and interpretation are fascinating. I think the main takeaway from this is it seems to be a fact that 'reality' is just a story we tell ourselves continuously, modifying it to fit the circumstances (either externally, or, internally to maintain our self-consistency), and we seem to prioritise creating this interpreted reality to fit and hence maintain our internal self-consistency rather than allowing externalities to force us to change our internalised assumptions and ideas.

Dave Cohen


It's a spoof and it's funny. I've watched it a few times lately because anything that makes me laugh is better than the usual nonsense.

I've thought of posting on America's rapid decline but would just be stating the obvious (at least on DOTE).

The Flatland reality is that Americans, even the displaced elites, have segued smoothly into the new "reality" without a hiccup. Now they are the not-so-loyal opposition. As the great sci-fi writer Iain M. Banks said about humans, all you can do is sit around and watch them fuck up.

-- Dave

Mike Cooper

Off topic (apologies, Dave), but I wanted to post this as it's interesting: more Doomers caught out being a bit too too Doomy:


I can still see relevance in the case that the Hills group are arguing (that as oil becomes more expensive to extract, the net benefit to society is reduced) but it seems that their maths has been taken apart by a professor of mechanical engineering.

Back on topic - yes it's remarkable how quickly change becomes the new normal. And a second apology for writing a comment above that is particularly poorly written :)

M. Frank

At 4:45, he discusses what dying people wished they'd done. It's a bit ironic that they're all considered anti-social behaviors. For most of us, anti-social = bad. So it could be said that dying people generally wish they'd been more bad.


This may get me kicked from posting again, but Bruce Hood is talking gibberish and to give him the benefit of the doubt I blame it on the format. First, he goes on for five minutes about how the brain creates illusions, which is really a straw man arguement. No one says the brain has perfect information nor can see everything, so why focus a third of your talk on it if you are just trying to show what an illusion is? Second @ the 5 minute mark, he says that the brain has 86 billion pathways, then conflates that with 86 billion neurons, then goes back to talking about pathways and saying adults have way more connections (I believe he was implying here pathways that he started talking about). Third, the corpus callosum experiments seem to throw many brain researchers off track. To me these experiments more suggest that we have two nearly functioning consciousnesses in one brain (and no to another crowd of lost brain researchers, it doesn't suggest we can keep cutting the brain and get more consciousnesses). My guess is the two halves check reality for each other and the fact they have evolved slightly different functions and perspectives might be advantageous to seeing a better picture of reality. What it means for our sense of self to have two consciousnesses, I can only speculate. Furthermore, the experiments that show you can trick humans, show just that. I don't see in any way how he shows or any evidence he presents in this talk show we lack a self. Strangely, a lot of the bloggers I read are on this topic of self right and will now. I personally admit, I have no clue if there is a self, but Hood's talk does not sway me in any direction. Hopefully, your last essay clears it up.

Dave Cohen


Actually, you're right -- that video is kind of weak. By the time I talk about the "self" in the 4th essay, you will already have concluded that it effectively doesn't exist in the usual naive sense, at least in the cases I'm talking about.

-- Dave

Mike Roberts

"The Flatland reality is that Americans, even the displaced elites, have segued smoothly into the new "reality" without a hiccup."

You got that right, Dave. I can see that, and I'm on the other side of the planet. I guess even top level resignations are going to become the norm, soon, and barely raise a comment.


OT but DOTE relevant.


Love the last quote from the custard-brained beauty salon owner. I'll let you lot paraphrase what she said in your own way (smirk).

First time poster, long time lurker, another New Zealander, love your work Dave Cohen. As we say round these parts "You are a legend".


Your Iain Banks reference led me to this page of quotes by him (I'd never heard of him before), which is great. Thanks for the introduction.


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