Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Those readers who have (like me) followed Eileen's musings on ITM about the retroactivity of consciousness and the problems of free will (such as here and here and here, and in the comments here) will also be interested in this article from today's New York Times. Dennis Overbye writes, a bit too flippantly, about current research into the question of free will. For him, it's all about dessert (read the piece and see if the last line doesn't make you groan -- didn't see that coming, did you?) The essay does survey, however, some interesting research on the topic, asking whether "the conscious mind is like a monkey riding the tiger of subconscious decisions and actions in progress, frantically making up stories about being in control."
That zany bestial metaphor plus the accompanying illustration make the short piece worthwhile. I think it was William Blake who once mused "Tyger, tyger burning bright / Circus simian ever alight ..." Wasn't it?