There are countless ways to define the mind. Because its productions are. And the disciplines of the mind define it in reverse. There are physical, biological, psychological, sociological, and of course mathematical descriptions. The mind is like a prediction algorithm. Haven’t we read everywhere that it is Bayesian? No no, Bayesian neural functioning does not make the mind a Bayesian oracle. Why is that ?
The Bayesian equation is read by a mathematician, who recognizes it for what it is: an evolving probability as new data is introduced. In the mind, however, there is no reader of neural computations; the mind is neural computation. As a decision maker, it should behave like an evolving probability. This is not the case. We experience our choices as sure and not as statistics. Our decisions are identity. Their approximate nature disappears in conscious experience. “I am” my approximation, not 10% to 50% or 90%; I am entirely my approximation. My mind is an identity approximator.
Are you hesitant to convince yourself? Let’s take a very common subject of discussion: the debates of opinion around recommendations, in matters of health, ethics, education, etc. Can we say that a recommendation is 100% reliable? Never, you will grant it to me. A recommendation has a probability of accuracy between 51% and 99%. Why the minimum threshold of 51%? Because if an interpretation has a 50/50 or better chance of being wrong, why would we make a recommendation?
In a debate, do you observe that opinions behave as probable truths between 51 and 99%? Very rarely. Only particularly intelligent and eclectic minds know the depth of their ignorance. The debates between these people are interesting because they know they are made of approximations and quickly abandon the case when the probability of being right drops below 51%. But these special minds are rare, let us repeat. Most of our fellow human beings, especially in this Wokist era, are 100% opinionated! So indisputable.
Neurologically these indisputable opinions are indeed approximations. But among these people there is no reader, no mathematical observer to judge the Bayesian nature of opinion. Without an observer, the lonely prediction is a conviction.
If we encounter so many heavy convictions on a daily basis, it is because the observer is a particularly complex and fragile construction. It is quickly crushed when the mental bowling balls of anger, neuroses, alcohol and other mental poisons tumble into the mind. Our delicate mental efflorescences retract. The mind becomes a shield, united and rigid, a severe bodyguard… an identity approximator.