The brain’s impressively accurate internal clock allows us to detect the passage of time, a skill essential for many critical daily functions. Without the ability to track elapsed time, our morning shower could continue indefinitely. … Neuroscientists believe that we have distinct neural systems for processing different types of time, for example, to maintain a circadian rhythm, to control the timing of fine body movements, and for conscious awareness of time passage. Until recently, most neuroscientists believed that this latter type of temporal processing – the kind that alerts you when you’ve lingered over breakfast for too long – is supported by a single brain system. However, emerging research indicates that the model of a single neural clock might be too simplistic. A new study … reveals that the brain may in fact have a second method for sensing elapsed time. What’s more, the authors propose that this second internal clock not only works in parallel with our primary neural clock, but may even compete with it.
Aside from overt ethnic discrimination, the real and lasting tragedy of IQ and other intelligence tests was the message they sent to every individual—including the students who scored well. That message was: your intelligence is something you were given, not something you’ve earned.
The brain is a 1.5 kilogram mass of jelly, the consistency of tofu, you can hold it in the palm of your hand, yet it can contemplate the vastness of space and time, the meaning of infinity and the meaning of existence. It can ask questions about who am I, where do I come from, questions about love and beauty, aesthetics, and art, and all these questions arising from this lump of jelly. It is truly the greatest of mysteries. —Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran on unlocking the secrets of consciousness and behavioral neurology (Edge.org, Feb. 21, 2012)
At carboncopies.org, we strive to take this research a step further: to bring about and nurture projects that are crucial to achieving substrate-independent minds (SIM). That is, enable minds to operate on many different hardware platforms — not just a neural substrate.
The attributes that we possess […] are not attributes of the brain, any more than the attributes of our brains are our attributes. It is plainly false that we are ‘no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells (and other cells) and the molecules associated with them’. What is tautologically true is that we do not consist of any more cells that the vast assembly of nerve and other cells of which we – living human beings –actually consists. But we are no more just a collection of cells (nerve cells or otherwise) than a painting is just a collection of pigments or brush strokes, a novel just a collection of words, or a society just a collection of people – although what more there is to a painting than mere pigments is not more pigments, what more there is to a novel than mere words is not more words, and more there is to a society than mere people is not more people.