DRMacIver's Notebook

Not the Box

Not the Box

This is an analogy that’s been bouncing around in my head waiting for something to glom onto for a few weeks.

I don’t think they still do this, but for the longest time my parents had an amusing verbal quirk, which is that they would refer to the main tower of the desktop computer as “the CPU” (the CPU being actually just a single component of the computer). They conflated the thing that does the core part of the function of the computer with the entire system - ignoring the fact that a CPU without a motherboard, RAM, a hard drive, etc. wouldn’t really do very much of interest.

People do this with brains too. Dualism isn’t real, but you are not a brain, you are a body, and your mind doesn’t live in the brain, the brain is just the CPU. The mind is the whole box.

(Yes I know brains have memory and long-term storage as well as processing. It’s not a perfect analogy, and brains don’t work like computers anyway)