Re: virus: (un)selfishness

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 14:11:59 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 23 Apr 1997, Robin Faichney wrote:

> Martz wrote:
> >I'm reminded of an experiment
> >which was done (in the 60s I think, if anyone can jog my memory on this
> >I'd be grateful) where a number of volunteers had little receivers
> >placed in their brains. When the doctor pressed a button a small
> >electric charge was delivered. One one patient this would cause him to
> >look over his left shoulder. Every time the button was pushed, he'd
> >glance to the left. When he was asked what he was looking for he always
> >had a sensible reason; "I was looking for my slippers" or "I heard
> >something". What does this say about motivation?
> It tells us that small electric currents come into the picture.
> But then we knew that, didn't we? :-)

It also tells us that "motives" are often constructed in hindsight rather
than the simplistic cause and effect scenerio we often assume is at work.
Sometimes (often, maybe even, always) the root of an action is at a level
deeper than the "motive" we will ascribe to it later, when it reaches our
consciousness. "Motive" may be closer to justification than cause in many

-Prof. Tim
(hoping to catch-up on my e-mail by the end of the century)