EP 241 Tor Nørretranders on the User Illusion of Consciousness

Jim talks with Tor Nørretranders about the ideas in his 1991 book The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size. They discuss the dialogue between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, defining consciousness, primary vs extended consciousness, the origins of the user illusion in computer interface design, the mind as an attempt to create a relevant myth, measuring the human mind in terms of information theory, consciousness as a story of reduction & compression, the physics of information, Maxwell’s demon, I & me, Benjamin Libet’s experiments on the delay of consciousness, being the spectator of our own acts, delayed auditory feedback, the veto theory, moving free will to the “me,” Robert Sapolsky’s arguments against free will, the reality of emergence, exformation, a simple translation of The Iliad, Julian Jaynes’s theory of the origins of consciousness, why modern lives have less information, the problem with a subtractive approach to happiness, and much more.

Tor Nørretranders is an independent author, thinker and speaker based in Denmark, serving an international audience. Generally seen as a leading science communicator of Denmark, Tor has involved himself in numerous activities in the public arena, from newspaper journalism through books and magazine articles to hosting and producing television shows on science and the general world view. His lecture tours, gathering tens of thousands of people, have been major events on the Scandinavian scene.