I’ve been thinking about the “pleasure principle” variation I mentioned earlier. Here’s an idea.
We can think of conditioned thinking… everything from classical conditioned responses to “I need some bread for breakfast” to “I gotta have my daily nerd-news fix”… as occupying cognitive circuits. Like how if you add another bit of complexity to an FPGA the transistor-count available for the rest of your design goes down… so too, I suspect, does something similar happen with neurons.
OK. Now say you’re a farmer 1500 years ago or whatever, deeply ingrained with the idea that you “need” all the chickens you can have — because MM, YUMMY CHICKEN. NEED CHICKEN. NEED MOAR CHICKEN.
But, one day, on the stupid-ass advice of your neighbor, you take one of those chickens to a particular rock, say some magic words, cut the thing’s head off, and leave it there for the vultures.
All of a sudden that conditioned belief that you “need chicken”… evaporates a little. Because hey, if you really, truly, actually needed all those chickens (or the precious object or virgin or whatever) you wouldn’t leaving it on a rock in the middle of nowhere.
And, you’re now a little less a slave to the “pleasure principle” conditioning. You know you CAN overcome it, and don’t automatically have to chase everything that promises to taste yummy. Implications?
A few of those neurons that were part of the “need chicken, MUST KEEP ALL CHICKENS” circuit are now freed up for more intelligent tasks… like, say, more intelligent farming. Which leads to better yields the next year, and maybe even more chickens.
(At least until you cram them with other stupid conditioned ideas. Crap, what time is it, I MIGHT MISS “THE WIRE”!!!
Hmm, maybe time to slay a televison. Anyone got an altar?)
Yes, this is all purely speculative… any psychologists or neuroscientists want to weigh in?