Sunday, 12 June 2016


The brain, with its multiplicity of neurons, synapses, networks and flows of bright energies has sometimes been likened to an illuminated city at night or, perhaps, to a flock of starlings. From this swirling flock, made up of a multitude of individual birds, will emerge delightful living patterns, making and unmaking themselves, and giving the appearance of one single entity with a ‘mind’ of its own.

And yet no one would pretend that, because, from the ground, we see these patterns, that a real mind exists here and that the properties, such as agency, decision and purpose, that a real mind exhibits, could ever be inserted into them so that, one day, from out of the eddying and twisting flock, would emerge a recognizable face with eyes looking at us, and a mouth speaking aloud its thoughts to us. That might be the stuff of dreams or nightmares and could only live in the realm of fancy; and yet, real minds exist.

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