The phenomenal self model (PSM) is ‘the conscious model of the organism as a whole that is activated by the brain’. Thomas Metzinger’s ‘The Ego Tunnel – the Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self’ refers to it as ‘probably one of nature’s best inventions’
‘Whenever our brains successfully pursue the ingenious strategy of creating a unified and dynamic inner portrait of reality, we become conscious’
‘First, our brains generate a world-simulation, so perfect that we do not recognise it as an image in our minds. Then, they generate an inner image of ourselves as a whole. This image includes not only our body and our psychological states but also our relationship to the past and the future, as well as to other conscious beings’
My marginalia at this point in my first reading of the book explodes. One of my long-term passions (and the core objective of this blog) is to investigate the relationship between the conscious mind and other-than-consciousness in relation to vision and goal-setting. I was immediately struck by Metzinger’s words above because of the sophistication that it infers the brain must have in the areas of image creation, belief and subsequent thoughts and actions reliant on the images and vision created. Some inter-linked areas I’ve explored:
What Could You Do in the Future With Your Imagination Now? illustrates the MRI scans from a brain remembering and imagining: the same areas are used.
How The Different Parts of The Brain Help Vision and Goal-Setting is my earlier, formative attempt to start to pull the findings of neuroscience into the vision area.
In Seth Godin’s compilation ebook, What Matters Now, Michael Hyatt writes about vision: ‘Leadership is more than influence. It is about reminding people of what it is we are trying to build—and why it matters. It is about painting a picture of a better future.‘
So, one conclusion to draw is that one of our core competences as Homo sapiens is the ability to imagine – to become conscious by creating a ‘inner portrait of reality’ – and then to project forward future realities.