Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Argues that the human mind is not a meticulously designed organ but rather a "kluge," a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption, offering a revealing study of some of the complex aspects of human nature, how the mind falls short in such areas as memory, belief, decision-making, language, and emotion, and the influence of evolution on the creation of t --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Using the fact of our brains having an evolutionary foundation, Marcus shows how Shakespeare's and the Bible's depictions of the brain are flawed. We have poor, erratic memories, we make irrational decisions, and we'll believe things that are patently untrue - sometimes with real tenacity. Our brains are built up from very ancient structures, probably using the same processes, with added complexity developing over time ["This worked last time, but it's not working now. Cobble something up to fix it."]. Knowing that readers might be overwhelmed with data overload [our memories can't handle it!], the author focusses on a half-dozen aspects of brain "design" demonstrating the positive features and the shortfalls. Memory, Belief, Choice, Language, Pleasure and "Things Fall Apart" - distractions. In each case, he explains how the system is usually depicted, what might be the ideal process, and how it actually works.Read more ›
Mr. Marcus asserts that Evolution yields suboptimal, patchwork designs, in particular the human mind. While it is widely accepted that the human body has many quirks -- wisdom teeth, the retina's backward installation resulting in blind spots in both eyes, a spine that is conducive to back pain, and even the replication process of the DNA -- what gets short shrift is the imperfection of the mind. A mind seemingly impervious to optimal design and prone to a host of human cognitive idiosyncrasies explained eloquently and in detail in this book.
Our contextual memory is unreliable. Our belief system is subject to mental contaminations stemming from superstition, manipulation, and fallacy. The brain mechanism that controls our everyday choices is susceptible to the "weakness of the will". We tend to live in the moment rather than plan for the future, a remnant of our days without refrigerators when life was, as Thomas Hobbs put it "nasty, brutish and short." Most pleasures stem from the "ancestral reflexive" part of the mind that is shortsighted.
While most of Mr. Marcus' assertions are plausible, I took issue with one in particular: That the evolutionary process is inherently flawed because it's not possible to build a superior design from the ground up. Consequently, improvements are made to existing, archaic systems ad nauseam. Mr. Marcus seems to discount the idea that evolution is a painfully slow process of building solutions to life's existing problems.Read more ›
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