April 20, 2021
I've always been struck by the fact that the number of neurons in our brain is about equal to the number of stars in a galaxy: one hundred billion.
As [Robert] Desimone sees it, consciousness is just a vague word for the mental experience of attending, which we are slowly dissecting in terms of the electrical and chemical activity of individual neurons. He threw out an analogy. Consider a careening automobile. A person might ask: Where inside that thing is its motion? But he would no longer ask that particular question after he understood the engine of the car, the manner in which gasoline is ignited by sparkplugs, the movement of cylinders and gears.I'm still reminded of how my coworker Scott Albertine put it: "Consciousness is what running the algorithm feels like from the inside."
All of that said, I still consider myself a spiritual person. By spirituality, I mean belief in things that are larger than myself, appreciation of beauty, commitment to certain rules of moral behavior, such as the Golden Rule. Spirituality does not require belief in miracles.(His other work, "Mr. g", does a great job creating a mythology that is compatible with our shared humanist sense of science and of ethics.)
On average, each galaxy is separated from the nearest neighboring galaxy by ten or twenty galaxy diameters.I thought galaxies were more widely spaced than that!