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Anything random comes to mind

20/01/2012

Is anyone ever thinking in a truly random way?
Computers are most certainly capable of delivering absolute randomness.
I find myself doubting this as a possibility for the human brain. Regardless of how much I may to want to believe it, if only for how cool a thing it is to claim. Even in one’s most bizarre outbursts that seemingly have no connection with anything or anyone… Well, looks like I’m already half-way through spoiling where I was heading with that thought. The keyword here is seemingly. Seemingly, if you shout out peanut shark tabletop salad, that has nothing to do with anything whatsoever – partially true. It definitely doesn’t make any sense, right? Thing is though, I didn’t actually just blurt that out. I did catch myself trying to come up with something so perfectly weird and disconnected it pretty much had to prove a capability for randomness. And in that contradiction, is revealed the paradoxical nature of this issue.

You see, my search for evidence is in itself a piece of evidence, for the computer-driven ‘debaters’ of the room, that is. Even if my previous string of silly words was thought up in a flash, it still required some fraction of time. Therein lies premeditation. That is what I believe now, at any rate. I support the idea that any thought, no matter how small an amount of time it took, no matter how many digits after the dot, it is still a premeditated thought. The human brain forms billions of connections in its all too brief lifespan. That is how man learns. By remembering these ‘bridges’ in the brain, although most of the time in your subconscious. By being able to connect a piece of newly acquired information through aforementioned connections. Considering how these are wildly abstract most of the time and, frankly, impossible to explain (mostly since brain-scanning technology is not nearly advanced enough,) I’ll try to illustrate what I mean through one simple, yet practical example.

A baby forms the connection that touching fire leads to cooking of the flesh. This intel is stored deep in his brain, as it has a supremely obvious physical result – a trip to the burn centre. Now. Let’s say this same baby is a few years older, and has familiarised himself with the concept of food and that, often times, it has to be prepared before you can nibble away at it. The baby’s brain will now form a new connection, upon seeing his mother utilising a fire to prepare his desired foodstuffs, that fire is indeed, oh glorious day, good for something besides making an ouchie. And so he learnt. Even though the explanation for it certainly took more than a second, the forming of these connections happens at a much faster pace, a fact which I already pointed towards, or rather, slammed in the face with a big sign saying, ‘over here’. Therefore I figured it wise, and aptly timed, to segway back into our main course in the food for thought dinner, if you will.

Because even though it is impossible to prove (so far,) there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that everything you say or think is made through one of these connections. Even when you think it’s not. Let’s bring back my example of arbitrary words for a bit and dissect it. Surely you remember them. The ‘peanut’ might come from me having thought of, at some point in the day, a sandwich – and what, typically, goes on a sandwich? The ‘shark’ part can be explained by me having read a short article about statistics involving deaths some time ago. Therein, it stated a surprisingly large amount of activities, or events, that caused significantly more deaths than shark attacks do, this on an annual basis. An irrelevant though interesting piece of information, one that is stored in the brain to be brought up later. I could go on, but I think by now, you catch my drift. Sorry, I’ll close the window. A joke/subtle indication of the end of this piece. Although full well realising that spelling out the fact that something is meant to be subtle completely destroys any trace of it, but I’ll just have to live with that. In closing, I’ll say this. From everything that I seemingly said in random, including me shooting off on a tangent about the learning habits of man, I’ve come to realise that it was all done with at least some thought to it. Thereby having failed to prove human randomness. Though I’d love to see anyone give it a try in a non-ranting, off-topic going sort of way.

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2 Comments
  1. First of all, I salute you, sir. To dream up a blog like that is in one word… amazing.
    Second of all, and this is the great part, I think you have a point! The human brain can not randomly blurt out anything, because everything we say or do is based on thought. That is, at least, when we are awake. However, what happens in our upper room when we are asleep? How can you explain dreams? Is this then the randomness of the brain? I’d say it is.

    • Thanks for the compliment.
      But damn, now I’m gonna have to expand the series and include dream land. Mighty interesting topic, I may have to do some reading on the topic as my knowledge is sadly lacking, moreso in experience, ’cause I never remember anything I dream. Gun to my head though; dreams are still to do with thought, since even though you cannot explain them, from what I hear, they’re usually about people you know, or things you are happy about (or afraid of).

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