The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size

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Penguin, 1999 - Psychology - 467 pages
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As John Casti wrote, "Finally, a book that really does explain consciousness." This groundbreaking work by Denmark's leading science writer draws on psychology, evolutionary biology, information theory, and other disciplines to argue its revolutionary point: that consciousness represents only an infinitesimal fraction of our ability to process information. Although we are unaware of it, our brains sift through and discard billions of pieces of data in order to allow us to understand the world around us. In fact, most of what we call thought is actually the unconscious discarding of information. What our consciousness rejects constitutes the most valuable part of ourselves, the "Me" that the "I" draws on for most of our actions--fluent speech, riding a bicycle, anything involving expertise. No wonder that, in this age of information, so many of us feel empty and dissatisfied. As engaging as it is insightful, this important book encourages us to rely more on what our instincts and our senses tell us so that we can better appreciate the richness of human life.

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The user illusion: cutting consciousness down to size

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Nirretranders declares: "Consciousness is a fraud." The realm of the subconscious--the "Me"--is infinitely richer and must be cultivated if we are to experience the full sensation of reality. A best ... Read full review

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This is a wonderful book. I enjoyed it so much that I have given several copies to friends.
I agree with Tor's statements that our consciousness can only learn novel information at around 16 bits
per second, maximum. Tor also maintains that we simultaneously absorb much more information subconsciously (a seductive idea). However, I cannot find any rigorous evidence to support this claim and have written on the subject in: 



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Real Options in Practice
Marion A. Brach
No preview available - 2003
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About the author (1999)

He is Denmark's leading science writer, and award winning author of more than ten books, and host of numerous television programs on science and science-related topics. He has also extablished a major cooperative network of scientists and artists.

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