This essay by Robert Epstein is a solid pointer at an important blind spot in our understanding of our brains.
We’re humans, not robots. Of course. Of course.
We don’t “process data.” Of course. We don’t have modems, we don’t process data. We experience.
A bigger message here is that the “fish-in-water” principle is really strong. It’s hard to begin to know what we don’t know. That means that we tend to become blind to our context over time, whatever the field or the context.
A large part of our current context is that of circuits and data pipes. It’s easiest to form all our solutions (and metaphors) from the closest current context – in this case, we might come up with answers using the wrong metaphor. In explaining ourselves to ourselves, have we become too reliant on the current narrative of technology to explain our unknowns?
One of the less obvious connections here is the upcoming quantum computing paradigm: quantum computers are just machines that solve problems. Machines, Canadian Justin Trudeau explained, which don’t expect binary data and don’t give you only yes/no answers. They experience data as a set of probabilities, and internalize the answer in that same language.
Language is our main tool to understand the world. We share our experiences of reality to each other through words. When the metaphors and language we use to describe the universe start to shift, is it because our understanding has changed? Or does it cause our understanding to change?