Consciousness as a Memory System
We suggest that there is confusion between why consciousness developed and what additional functions, through continued evolution, it has co-opted. Consider episodic memory. If we believe that episodic memory evolved solely to accurately represent past events, it seems like a terrible system—prone to forgetting and false memories. However, if we believe that episodic memory developed to flexibly and creatively combine and rearrange memories of prior events in order to plan for the future, then it is quite a good system. We argue that consciousness originally developed as part of the episodic memory system—quite likely the part needed to accomplish that flexible recombining of information. We posit further that consciousness was subsequently co-opted to produce other functions that are not directly relevant to memory per se, such as problem-solving, abstract thinking, and language. We suggest that this theory is compatible with many phenomena, such as the slow speed and the after-the-fact order of consciousness, that cannot be explained well by other theories. We believe that our theory may have profound implications for understanding intentional action and consciousness in general. Moreover, we suggest that episodic memory and its associated memory systems of sensory, working, and semantic memory as a whole ought to be considered together as the conscious memory system in that they, together, give rise to the phenomenon of consciousness. Lastly, we suggest that the cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that makes consciousness possible, and that every cortical region contributes to this conscious memory system.
What is Refind?
Every day Refind picks 5 links from around the web for every user, tailored to the user’s interests. Picking only a handful of links means focusing on what’s relevant and useful. We favor timeless pieces—links with long shelf-lives, articles that are still relevant one month, one year, or even ten years from now. These lists of the best resources on any topic are the result of years of careful curation.
How does Refind curate?
It’s a mix of human and algorithmic curation, following a number of steps:
- We monitor 10k+ sources and 1k+ thought leaders on hundreds of topics—publications, blogs, news sites, newsletters, Substack, Medium, Twitter, etc.
- In addition, our users save links from around the web using our Save buttons and our extensions.
- Our algorithm processes 100k+ new links every day and uses external signals to find the most relevant ones, focusing on timeless pieces.
- Our community of active users gets 5 links every day, tailored to their interests. They provide feedback via implicit and explicit signals: open, read, listen, share, add to reading list, save to «Made me smarter», «More/less like this», etc.
- Our algorithm uses these internal signals to refine the selection.
- In addition, we have expert curators who manually curate niche topics.
The result: lists of the best and most useful articles on hundreds of topics.
How does Refind detect «timeless» pieces?
We focus on pieces with long shelf-lives—not news. We determine «timelessness» via a number of metrics, for example, the consumption pattern of links over time.
How many sources does Refind monitor?
We monitor 10k+ content sources on hundreds of topics—publications, blogs, news sites, newsletters, Substack, Medium, Twitter, etc.
Can I submit a link?
Indirectly, by using Refind and saving links from outside (e.g., via our extensions).
How can I report a problem?
When you’re logged-in, you can flag any link via the «More» (...) menu. You can also report problems via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Who uses Refind?
200k+ smart people start their day with Refind. To learn something new. To get inspired. To move forward. Our apps have a 4.9/5 rating.
Is Refind free?
Yes, it’s free!
How can I sign up?
Head over to our homepage and sign up by email or with your Twitter or Google account.