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Too much information

Alfred North Whitehead: "It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking about what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the numbers of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in battle -- they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments."

That one has grown on me over the years, and primed me for ideas such as those in The Society of Mind and The User Illusion. They're percolating out via Blink and Mind Wide Open. Attentive, verbal (or verbalizable)  thought is a small "follow spot" that skitters around amidst a whole lot of autonomic and automatic black-box activity. Similarly, in vision, we have a small area of sharp vision at the fovea -- plus a lot of slick tricks (in eye movement and in processing along the visual pathway) which allow us to believe that the whole visual field is in focus at once, like a camera's focal plane. In speech and hearing, we couldn't talk or listen as fast as we do without branching execution: dozens of guesses per minute about what's most likely to come next.

For much of the last century, "the unconscious" was all about repression, to forestall conflict up on the bridge. The version that's more compelling today is all about activity that we simply don't have the processing power to do consciously. IOW, a shift between the two meanings of "too much information..."