The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size

Front Cover
Viking Penguin, 1998 - Psychology - 467 pages
During any given second, we consciously process only sixteen of the eleven million bits of information our senses pass on to our brains. In other words, the conscious part of us receives much less information than the unconscious part of us. We should trust our hunches and pursue our intuitions because they are closer to reality than the perceived reality of consciousness.

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 speec, riding a bicycle, anythign involving expertise. Since this discarding takes time, there's a half-second delay between reality and our perception of it. If a baseball player thought about swinging a pitch, he'd never hit the ball.

"The User Illusion" makes the case that humans are designed for a much richer existence than processing a dribble of data from a computer screen, which actually constitutes a form of sensory deprivation. That there is actually far too little information in the so-called Information Age may be responsible for the malaise of modern society, that nagging feeling that there must be more to life. There is -- but we have to get outside and live life with all our senses to experience it more fully.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - brikis98 - LibraryThing

A spectacular book that has completely changed my understanding of the mind and consciousness. I poured through this 400 pages in just a few days - I couldn't set it down. The critical arguments in ... Read full review

THE USER ILLUSION: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size

User Review  - Kirkus

A leading Danish science writer argues that our conscious mental processes are only the surface aspect of the mind. N—rretranders begins with a history of information theory, leading up to a ... Read full review


Throwing Away Information
Infinite Algorithms
The Depth of Complexity

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