Tell me the size of a mammal and I can tell you, to about 85 per cent level, pretty much everything about its physiology and life history, such as how long it is going to live, how many offspring it will have, the length of its aorta, how long it will take to mature, what is the pulse rate in the ninth branch of its circuitry.
If you take psychedelics and the Internet and music and put all of that together you have the basis for a new community that is wider and deeper than you know. The people who are building the new machines, who are designing the new circuitry, who are writing the new code are ALL freaks. They work for capitalist dogs, of course, because we all do, but the creative thrust of these technologies is being driven by people just like you and me.
The acrid odor of overloaded circuitry permeated the air, the horrid smell witness that at least one of his senses was working as sights and sounds became one with the unknown. Eventually he collapsed to the floor, wondering if he'd wake up in mortality. Then the muddled spectra went black, the silence that followed only possible in the deepest sectors of space. Or death.
Marcha A. Fox
I've come to see our central nervous system as a kind of vintage switchboard, all thick foam wires and old-fashioned plugs. The circuitry isn't properly equipped; after a surplus of emotional information the system overloads, the circuit breaks, the board runs dark. That's what shock is.
Now I would say at any given moment in American life, there are probably 45 poets in airplanes vectoring across the country heading towards...I don't know if anyone's reading it, but poets are still flying around the country going from lectern to lectern.That circuitry has become very well-established.
You gleefully say, 'I just thought of something!', when in fact your brain performed an enormous amount of work before your moment of genius struck. When an idea is served up from behind the scenes, your neural circuitry has been working on it for hours or days or years, consolidating information and trying out new combinations. But you take credit without further wonderment at the vast, hidden machinery behind the scenes.
All that's known is this: there is no central processor, no single computer. Nothing that simple. Millions of neurons process information simultaneously and in parallel, not linearly, but the actual chemistry and electrical properties of that integrative process are still being mapped. Even so, it seems odd that during the evolution of brain circuitry and thinking, the ability to understand itself did not get wired in. Such built-in innocence seems like a terrible oversight.
But will I always love her? Does my love for her reside in my head or my heart? The scientist in her believed that emotion resulted from complex limbic brain circuitry that was for her, at this very moment, trapped in the trenches of a battle in which there would be no survivors. The mother in her believed that the love she hadd for her daughter was safe from the mayhem in her mind, because it lived in her heart.
So it persists, for many of us, hunger channeled into some internal circuitry of longing, routed this way and that, emerging in a thousand different forms. The diet form, the romance form, the addiction form, the overriding hunger for this purchase or that job, this relationship or that one. Hunger may be insatiable by nature, it may be fathomless, but our will to fill it, our often blind tenacity in the face of it, can be extraordinary.
Private property works like circuitry in electronics, or piping in hydraulics. It conveys wages to the owners of labor power, as well as the various forms of nonwage property income to the owners of capital. In itself, it is no more responsible for maldistribution of purchasing power than the science of bookkeeping is responsible for bankruptcy.
Louis O. Kelso
Back in the twentieth century, we thought that robots would have taken over by this time, and, in a way, they have. But robots as a race have proved disappointing. Instead of getting to boss around underlings made of steel and plastic with circuitry and blinking lights and tank treads, like Rosie the maid on The Jetsons, we humans have outfitted ourselves with robotic external organs. Our iPods dictate what we listen to next, gadgets in our cars tell us which way to go, and smartphones finish our sentences for us. We have become our own robots.
The moderns, carrying little baggage of the kind that Shelly called "merely cultural, " not even living in the traditional air, but breathing into their space helmets a scientific mixture of synthetic gases (and polluted at that) are the true pioneers. Their circuitry seems to include no atavistic domestic sentiment, they have suffered empathectomy, their computers hum no ghostly feedback of Home, Sweet Home. How marvelously free they are! How unutterably deprived!
[C]ulture, for all its importance, is not some miasma that seeps into people through their skin. Culture relies on neural circuitry that accomplishes the feat we call learning. Those circuits do not make us indiscriminate mimics but have to work in surprisingly subtle ways to make the transmission of culture possible. That is why it is not an alternative to a focus on learning, culture and socialization, but rather an attempt to explain how they work.
Imagine for a moment that we are nothing but the product of billions of years of molecules coming together and ratcheting up through natural selection, that we are composed only of highways of fluids and chemicals sliding along roadways within billions of dancing cells, that trillions of synaptic conversations hum in parallel, that this vast egglike fabric of micron-thin circuitry runs algorithms undreamt of in modern science, and that these neural programs give rise to our decision making, loves, desires, fears, and aspirations. To me, that understanding would be a numinous experience, better than anything ever proposed in anyone's holy text.
I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? . True Beauty worship, worship of Creator Beauty Himself. God is present in all moments, but I do not deify the wind in the pines, the snow falling on the hemlocks, the moon over harvested wheat. Pantheism, seeing the natural world as divine, is a very different thing than seeing divine God present in all things . Nature is not God but God revealing the weight of Himself, all His glory, through the looking glass of nature.
Anything I run across can light up the circuitry of my brain, and set me on an adventure. To research strains of yeast; hiccup fetishists; the proper use of inverse, obverse, converse and reverse; the ratio of main narrative to tangent, of forward action to aside. What else do we do but quest, pursue meaning in the information wash? Where does that storm sewer opening from the river into the city's underneath go to, anyhow? I grab a headlamp and head in. It's long and low and dark and stinks and extends for miles. Underneath the city is another city. The one above begins to disappear. That's what we're after, isn't it? To disappear? To venture into darkness, to let what we know or think we know recede for an hour, a day, a novel's length, and see what meaning can be made of what remains?
I am not a machine. For what can a machine know of the smell of wet grass in the morning, or the sound of a crying baby? I am the feeling of the warm sun against my skin; I am the sensation of a cool wave breaking over me. I am the places I have never seen, yet imagine when my eyes are closed. I am the taste of another's breath, the color of her hair. You mock me for the shortness of my life span, but it is this very fear of dying which breathes life into me. I am the thinker who thinks of thought. I am curiosity, I am reason, I am love, and I am hatred. I am indifference. I am the son of a father, who in turn was a father's son. I am the reason my mother laughed and the reason my mother cried. I am wonder and I am wondrous. Yes, the world may push your buttons as it passes through your circuitry. But the world does not pass through me. It lingers. I am in it and it is in me. I am the means by which the universe has come to know itself. I am the thing no machine can ever make. I am meaning.
Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear. Some people say that a sunrise is a miracle, because it is somewhat mysterious and often very beautiful, but other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. Some people say that a telephone is a miracle, because it sometimes seems wondrous that you can talk with somebody who is thousands of miles away, and other people say it is merely a manufactured device fashioned out of metal parts, electronic circuitry, and wires that are very easily cut. And some people say that sneaking out of a hotel is a miracle, particularly if the lobby is swarming with policemen, and other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. So you might think that there are so many miracles in the world that you can scarcely count them, or that there are so few that they are scarcely worth mentioning, depending on whether you spend your mornings gazing at a beautiful sunset or lowering yourself into a back alley with a rope made of matching towels.
As a consequence of natural analgesic actions or as a result of the administration of drugs that interfere with body signaling (painkillers, anesthetics), the brain receives a distorted view of what the body state really is at the moment. We know that in situations of fear in which the brain chooses the running option rather than freezing, the brain stem disengages the part of the pain-transmission circuitry, a bit like pulling the plug. The periqueductal gray, which controls these responses, can also command the secretion of natural opioids and achieve precisely what taking an analgesic would achieve - elimination of pain signals. In the strict sense, we are dealing here with a hallucination of the body because what the brain registers in its maps and the conscious mind feels do not correspond to the reality that might be perceived. Whenever we ingest molecules the have the power to modify the transmission or mapping of body signals, we play on this mechanism. Alcohol does it; so do analgesics and anesthetics, as well as countless drugs of abuse. It is patently clear that, other than out of curiousity, humans are drawn to such molecules because of their desire to generate feelings of well-being, feelings in which pain signals are obliterated and pleasure signals induced.
Antonio R. Damasio