Unconscious Worlds

“The real question is not whether machines think but whether humans do.”

B.F. Skinner

Whether humans think or not seems to be a null question as so many clearly do not, finding themselves quite happily swept away upon whichever tide of passionate belief or causal provenance as first takes them. What interests me more is the extent to which our world might yet shamble along on its merry little way without conscious thought. Otherwise put – if subjectivity is (or could largely be) an internalised, reciprocal depth of what amounts to little more than reflexive-as-existential obligations to reproduce a game and grammar of cultural and technological self-propagation, then all these angst-ridden, wistful and hopeful souls bickering and bartering their ways through life might be nothing more than the superficial shallows and shadows of this complexity that lies beyond them.

Behaviourism really doesn’t feel quite right, though. It reduces to blind mechanism and reflex as instinct the functional extension of these cognitive selves but almost entirely invalidates the experience of being such an entity. I suspect that the truth lies somewhere in-between: neither fully deterministic or entropic, drifting somewhere here on a Twilight Zone beyond the excluded middle upon which rationality, our most powerful tool, is grounded.

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