Accidental Mind – Tidbit 2

19 Aug

Here’s a continuation of the memory discussion from Dr. Linden’s The Accidental Mind.

Throughout the course of the book, Dr. Linden stresses the fact that our brains were built by ‘tacking on’ new structures over the course of evolutionary history. As our brains became more and more complex, it was not due to a ‘wiping away’ of an old, less-complex brain and building a brand new one, but rather because new structures were simply lumped on top of the old ones and were forced to work together.

In addition, our emotionally-cued memories–which we retrieve actively, changing them every time we recall them–form the basis of the thought structure we use to perceive the world in the present.

So, Dr. Linden summed this up in a great snippet at the end of chapter five:

“Our memory, which is the substrate of our consciousness and individuality, is nothing more than the accidental product of a work-around solution to a set of early evolutionary constraints. Put another way, our very humanness is the product of accidental design, constrained by evolution.” (p. 144)

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