2011-05-14

The Little Ant with the Criminal Mind (9/6)

(9/6 @ 9/5) The little ant with the criminal mind.  It’s an idea I had a long time ago, but I may not have grasped the full implications of the idea at the time.  A self-aware neuron.  A social componet that is self-aware and self-critical.  Because of the nature of society he is self-aware, because society is composed of collections of feedback loops.  Because the whole has to be somewhat aware of its individual constituents, the constituents sometimes get a glimpse of their positions in the whole and the constituency of that whole.  Is that right?  There is a layer above, and it’s totally alien to our experience and our vocabulary for describing it.  The little ant is aware of the mechanims that drive him and his fellow ants through all of their social behaviours.  He is aware that it is not some duty to God that is behind it but the propensity to produce and the sensitivity to pheromones.  How to compare this to the prefrontal cortex?  The modeling of what other ants do.  The reaction to other ants’ actions and secretions.  The illusion of consciousness.  The ants can only be self-aware in a kind of cartoony sense…or can they?  Ants behave as though they have a measure of intelligence and a sense of purpose, where in fact as individuals they almost certainly lack these things.  How to start the book?  Perhaps the little ant’s working week.  His routine.  And perhaps “he” should be a “she”.  Or I make a foreword on the gender of pronouns.  Perhaps the little ant should be manic-depressive.  Some things right on some days and all wrong on others.

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