Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pattern Recognition: Awareness of the Future

In the previous post, I discussed memory being (or at least including) an awareness of the past.

But what about the future? When we think about the future we imagine good or bad outcomes. We can start to predict what will happen. When a ball is thrown at you, you can predict where it's going to be and move your arm out to catch it. You used your pattern recognition to make a prediction of the future. You timed the movement of your arm to coincide with your prediction of the future.

You knew instinctively that your guess was based on the future. You had a deep awareness that your actions (putting your hand up) could change the future. Without your pattern recognition, the physics of the ball's motion could possibly place it square in your chest and injure you. We evolved an awareness of the future, and a method in our brain to predicting how our willpower and decisions (such as putting your hand up) could modify the future.

Animals do it a little worse than us, although they certainly can be taught some things of prediction; think Pavlov’s dog. Yet we don’t necessarily do it very well ourselves.

Even the best chess players can’t see too many moves into the future. And people try to make career choices based on their predicted value to a potential company, but are frequently wrong. We try to invest intelligently and frequently fail. Yet some things we do very well. We can know the cause and effect of eating certain foods on our bodies or going to certain events.

Imagining (which can include both goals and fears / anxieties) of different possible ways the world could be is sight into the future.

Our true "extra sense" is not communicating with the dead, or being a prophet knowing the future. Rather seeing into the past (memory) and future choices (pattern recognition). It’s an orthogonal vision to sight as discussed in Consciousness article.

Just as we discussed the emotions following a memory, we can similarly discuss the emotions (such as hope or fear) following a prediction of the future. We may use pattern recognition to believe that the charging bull will spear us. This thought will subconsciouly send the hormones associated with the emotion of fear through our bodies to force our conscious mind to act. We are aware of a negative future with increasing probabilities, and feel an emotion based on that. Or we see our winning lottery numbers appear on the television, and our pattern recognition projects positive changes to our future lifestyle, and we feel glee. This positive expected outcome likely evolved to reward us for the given behavior and continue actions which positively affected our lives.

Pattern recognition, cause/effect, educated guessing, hoping, fearing. All these are simply a deep awareness of the future and how our choices will affect the physics of the future with some probability.

Our senses list now looks like the following:

SenseAwareness of...
SoundEnergy Waves
TouchNuclear Force
TasteChemical Structure
SmellChemical Structure
EmotionsHormone Levels
EmpathyOther Awarenesses
MemoryThe Past
Pattern RecognitionThe Future

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