Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Computer : Mind :: Mind : ?

I am asking a question. Conceive of things in relation to their degree of removal, of their mirrored structures -- Imagine always the original blueprint:

Microsoft Word is an allegory for the rational mind. Then recall: have you ever opened a new document and begun typing before the cursor is able to catch up? You have typed most of your first sentence, "Upon discovering a dead mouse under the passenger seat in his 1999 Honda Acc...," before the letters start to appear. This is a metaphor for how reasoning works.

Or, your computer represents the mind. You start it up, the desktop appears, and you double click on the browser icon -- you are heading for a familiar webpage, a page where you know you will want to scroll down. Before the page loads, the scroll bar on the right appears, and you click to scroll down. The screen hesitates, then jerks, and as the page loads you are already somewhere below the header images.

Or, you turn your television on, having come home from spending a day at the pool. It is 4:30, and you are hoping to catch the end of the Tigers game that started at 2:30. After hearing the "pop" that comes with switching on and some out-of-context dialogue (you were watching CNN before you went swimming), you hit the digits deliberately: 2-6. And as the picture warms up, you are already where you want to be.

Regularly, we find ourselves waiting for technology -- is this a "thing-in-itself," though? Or is it possibly only another level of removal? Have you had an idea with direction; have you been able to anticipate the conclusion before the rational mind warms up? To be sure, our technology mirrors the structures and functions of our minds... is it so unreasonable to inquire whether or minds might themselves mirror the structure and function of something "less-removed," something more real? Is it possible that rational cognition is nothing but a refined technology?

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