Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Confusion - our saving grace?

  1. Jul 27, 2004 #1
    Hi guys I just wanted to throw an idea into the ring for you to tear to shreads if so inclined.

    The idea being that one of the most important functions of the mind is to deal with confusion.

    The main distinction that sets a computer (binary system) from a human mind ( a trinary system??) is that we have the ability to be confused and yet continue to think through this confusion.

    A computer will hang when confused but a mind will keep on thinking.

    Care to discuss?

    BTW I have limited knowledge of terminology so I would rather read your posts than mine...... :D
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2004 #2
    while this is somewhat correct, don't be fooled. the human mind, when confronted with something it can in no sense relate, it will be very confused and either try to refute it, or will store it as a totally isolated event... (this quite rarely happens, but really, it would take the brain quite alot of processing to get it right, it might not even get it rigth at all)...
    a large part of the effectiveness of the human mind comes from it's ability to learn concepts and charactaristica... it can gather characteristics and apply them to something it sees in order to understand it... computers don't have this ability...
    anyway, the main reason computers keeps on thinking, is because they are highly linear... this means that it follows a road with one single track that is pointed out to it, and if it reaches an obstacle, it can't get any further unless it's already got a solution to getting across the obstacle...
    the human mind is a neurological curcuit with an immense amount of roads it can use... while mainly (mainly, not totally) just being capable of processing one thing at a time (quite unlike a computer, which can perform many linear operations in parallel), it is capable of drawing solutions to a problem from it's large repository of charactaristica and concepts, and if that doesn't work, it is capable of simply choosing another road so it won't be stuck...
    there are several ways to confuse a human quite effectively though, and for good... a human brain can go in circles just like a computer, it just takes quite alot to get it there...
  4. Jul 27, 2004 #3
    Confuscian say, Narcolepsy! :biggrin:
  5. Jul 27, 2004 #4
    I'd have to say yes and no. The mind itself is actually immensely confusing, but it often does manage to make remarkably useful sense out of the world around it in comparison to other animals, your home computer, or whatever. Is it really reducing the confusion, or merely coping with the confusion of the world around it as well as it's own internal confusion well enough to survive?

    Apparently it just depends upon how you want to look at the issue.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Confusion - our saving grace?
  1. Save money? (Replies: 8)

  2. Save the corals. (Replies: 1)

  3. These gotta be saved (Replies: 8)

  4. Spend or save? (Replies: 8)