Monday, October 29, 2007

i am a computer

I used to be really worried about reductionism. You know, the whole pyramid of science thing, with atoms (or quarks and stuff) at the bottom. I didn't like being just a big pile of dumb old molecules bumping into each other.

At the time, I tried to analyze what was bothersome about this. I think the answer I came up with was that it was the dumbness of the molecules. Ok, they're pretty cool, but just not cool enough to equal me. So one way out of the resulting depression is to try to convince oneself that atoms really are that cool.

In the end, I think this line of thinking has at its heart: "I am a machine. Oh no!!"

Lately I've been thinking: "I am a computer. Oh no!!"

It gets especially dangerous when I drive around with GPS, and spend lots of time interacting with screens like the one in front of me now.

It then hit me that being a machine didn't bother me as much any more.
But, so why should being a computer bother me? I guess its because its the dominant language, and suggests certain limitations.

I'm tempted to say that this is about the mind body problem, or subjective versus objective, but I think its more about making things in our own image and then forgetting that we were their source and sort of becoming their slaves. Weird cycle.


Sarah said...

You're so much cooler than molecules and whatever things computers are made out of!

Boaz said...

Thanks. You're pretty cool yourself.
Played any more squash yet?

Yolanda said...

It is in recognizing the limitations that make it clear to me that we are not computers or any other type of machine. The conscious side of us is capable of being programmed by a series of zeros and ones. However there a huge world of the subconscious that is totally unreachable and cannot be coded. This is the part that actually defines us more than anything available on the conscious side. If we were capable of understanding the subconscious or interpreting it in some way, we’d have the world all figured out. Of course if we have the world all figured out then we could just die because there wouldn’t be anything else to keep us busy.

Boaz said...

yo yolanda!
yes, you are probably right that the world would be pretty boring if we had it all figured out. But I don't know about the 1's and 0's for my conscious mind... pretty crazy stuff there too.