week7/consciousness and memory/paige marton

Unfortunately I was absent for the guest speaker, so instead I’ll discuss what we went over during Tuesdays lecture Consciousness and Memory. It was without a doubt one of my favorite and most inspiring lectures. Our conscious and subconscious mind has always been an interest of mine and I tried to explore it further with my midterm proposal. Relating consciousness back to philosophy was a very interesting way to contemplate the life we live. The saying “The only thing we know for certain is that nothing is for certain” relates back to the ideas of Socrates and Plato. Specifically, Plato’s allegory of the cave. Questions such as: how do we release ourselves from bounds we are not aware of? and what if the life we lead is not the totality of what is possible? relate back to the allegory of the cave. In the allegory of the cave Plato explores human nature through a type of experiment. Prisoners are chained and watch shadows created by fire and puppets behind them; this is the only reality they know. If one discovers that there is more to life than this, will they leave the cave, and will others follow? We discussed the similarities between these thoughts and the ideas behind The Matrix. The Matrix is by far one of the best movies of the 20th century and the ideas explored throughout it are really worth contemplation. What is real and how do we define it? We only have access to the content of our own minds. This relates back to Camillo’s Memory Theater and the idea that we can access information from a database; which is now tangible with the world wide web. We discussed the fragility of memory that creates distortion and illusions. Which lead us to discuss the phenomenon of phantom limbs. While examining one patient it was found that whenever his face was touched he felt the presence of his amputated hand. It was discovered that in the brain, the face sensor is located directly next to the hand sensor, and once you loose a hand the face sensor takes over that area. Therefore, when the patients face was touched, he felt his phantom limb as well. The power of the brain and its memory is just as strong as what is happening in reality. The phenomenon of phantom limbs really amazed me and efficiently illustrates the distortion that can occur. I found some great websites that further explore the theories brought up in lecture. Check them out! http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/rl_cmp/new_phil_partridge.html



 -paige marton

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