Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An Essay of interest and development.

This must be kept brief, an inconvenience considering the innumerable reasons for which I decided to steer my life and mind in the direction of Cognitive Science. A coming of age tale, I entered college as a Global and International studies major based on my somewhat experienced life as a world traveler. These experiences abroad only helped in combination with my new environment of higher education to deter me from the historic and political world I was being slowly immersed into via my freshman classes. This was a new world of sophisticated conversation and contemplation that my classes just could not keep up with. After an eventful year of socialization, alongside my slow academic year, I decided that perhaps I should try to engage some of new found interests in the class room setting. My search proved extraordinarily fruitful upon finding a course titled, “Brains, Minds, and Consciousness”. “How utterly perfect" I thought to myself as I enrolled in the class, “this class must have been created for sophomores like me that are feed up with their majors and need some exciting release from their mundane schedule”.  The class turned out to be not at all what I expected. It not only incorporated things that I had been thinking about increasingly over the past year such as the nature of the mind and its connection with this sensory reality, but an intriguing contemplation of our language and its creation, and the technology of computers, the possibility of AI and so much more. The class was taught by a professor, the likes of which I had not encountered, before or since I think. His name as most would surmise is Professor Graci, and he taught alongside professor Link, another wonderful and knowledgeable educator. These two encouraged thought that most other disciplines discouraged. Abstraction and contemplation were a must for this course, and have remained throughout the major. Even in the more seemingly concrete aspects such as computer programing, abstract thought can be the difference between a functioning program and a fast and efficient piece of genius. Cognitive Science came upon me suddenly but there was no turning back. It is a challenging study discipline, but one I believe there is much to learn from, as well as add to ourselves. This is a place where we are on the front lines. The age of computers is just beginning, and our minds may yet have a big role to play in there, as well as our our advancement. 


  1. do you think in a future we all of these type of technology and how the mind works we are going to be able to display our dreams in some type of machine?

  2. Hi Mike,
    Do you envision a future in which we are able to have more (maybe total?) control, of our thoughts/feelings, perhaps through mental training, due to scientific data uncovered through research of the mind/brain?

  3. You said you were thinking about the nature of the mind and it's connection with this sensory reality. I've been thinking about these things a lot as well. Did Cog. Sci expand your knowledge on this connection?

  4. To Annibel,

    This is an interesting prospect. I think that if you believe in the idea of completed neuroscience (the notion that the brain and mind will someday be understood wholly and completely in biological terms (an idea that i myself am partial too)) then yes, we may be able to record and project our dreams as if they were movies.

    To Justin

    I think the idea of total understanding (as i mentioned above) and the concept of total control are two different things. Although it’s possible that one may accompany the other. Aside from that point, I personally believe that control of our thoughts/feelings is a feasible notion through heavy practice, mental training and meditation. And I do not think that further technology or time is needed to accomplish such a task; just an extraordinary will, patience, and dedication. I would even go so far as to say i believe that total control is possible. Maybe further research, however, will make this dream more attainable.

    To Yaritza,

    Absolutely. CogSci is a highway to the expansion of knowledge, but more than this, it’s a channeling of interest. Topics like this are common to the CogSci department, but this also encouraged my branching out into the philosophy department, where as you may have guessed, this is a core topic. Philosophy remains one of my most intriguing interests but I didn't think it brought all that CogSci did to the table. If you are at a cross-road about your collegian career I encourage you to read and explore your interests. Not solely within your class room opportunities, but in your spare time, because this is where most of your college career will be pursued.