Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Song 5 of 26 - Automatic

The fifth of the 26 songs is called "Automatic". Scroll down below the following videos for the lyrics and a brief discussion of how this song ties into the project. A blog post which lists all 26 songs, including 1 video for each song can be found by clicking here.

A direct link for the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBJnWADnJr4

A direct link for the above video is at revver.com/video/329135/automatic/

A direct link for the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niUSl25aNwc

A direct link for the above karaoke video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5au4ZOCET8

Check out these books for further reading: "Society of Mind" by Marvin Minsky, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes, "I Am a Strange Loop" by Douglas Hofstadter. And (of course) "Imagining the Tenth Dimension" by Rob Bryanton. :-)

Music and lyrics (c) by Rob Bryanton (SOCAN)

Musta been runnin on automatic
I simply can’t recall
How did I get here, what was I doin?
No clue at all
Lost my place in the conversation
What were we talking about
Thought I was here, must have been dreamin
Without a doubt

Musta been runnin on automatic

What was for breakfast, just this mornin
I really couldn’t say
Out there circlin another planet
So far away
Where was my head at, was I drivin
Not even seein the road
Was I only goin through the motions
Don’t even know


Julian Jaynes showed me he had the answer
In the bicameral mind
Conciousness broken down into pieces
Oh what a find
We’ve all been runnin on automatic
Since we were back in the trees
But still we made it here on automatic
How can it be


Something beautiful and complicated
Does it ever seem strange
How we could do that on automatic
Hard to explain

Musta been runnin on automatic

Here are some blog entries about the ideas in this song:

The Bicameral Mind
Boredom and Consciousness Part 1

In a nutshell, one of the recurring themes with this project is that there are patterns across space and time that represent ideas, beliefs, preferences for one outcome over another, and I have placed all of those concepts under the general heading of memes. I believe this is not that big of a leap from the mysteries of instinct - how does an animal have access to a huge body of behaviors and knowledge about the world? Because there are patterns that already exist across space and time that are part of that particular creature's structure. How does a goose migrating for the first time know what to do? Is it like there is a little voice inside that goose giving it instructions? As fanciful a way as that might be to describe it, that appears to be the process: when the animal needs to know what to do, some message wells up from within their genetic material and provides them with the information.

Julian Jaynes made the great intuitive leap that says it may be a very recent development for human beings to be operating as we currently do, with a conscious "narrator voice" saying "now I'm going to do this, now I'm not going to do that". In "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", Jaynes suggests (somewhat astonishingly, I admit) that as little as two thousand years ago we operated more like that migrating goose. For humans operating in that mode, decisions about what to do next might have been heard internally as the voices of gods, or ancestors, and this would not be that different from the voices of conscience or intuition that tell modern humans what to do and what not to do. The idea that it was possible for civilizations to develop while humans were operating in this "non-conscious" mode may seem impossible at first glance, but as Jaynes and this song points out, there are still many tasks that we can actually perform better when that "narrator voice" ceases its nattering and lets us perform complex actions like playing musical instruments, driving a car, or hitting a golf ball. In other words, I believe Julian Jaynes got it right.

The Julian Jaynes Society is at JulianJaynes.org.

Many of the videos for my songs are also available at YouTube, if you search for videos by 10thdim. You can audition and buy a high-quality mp3 of this song (and others by Rob Bryanton) at amiestreet.com. Included at amiestreet are 6 channel "stems" of this song and some of the others for remixing and mashups (and you can click here to play with a six-channel mixer that lets you audition and play with those stems). There is also an instrumental track of this song (and others) available from amiestreet for karaoke purposes. Finally, you can also download this song and other items from the tenthdimension digital store, and the items at that store are released under a Creative Commons license.

Next song: 6 of 26 - Connections

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