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Of all the information that every second flows into our brains from our sensory organs, only a fraction arrives in our consciousness: the ratio of the capacity of perception to the capacity of apperception is at best a million to one. A million times more bits enter our heads than consciousness perceives. Consciousness lags behind what we call reality. It takes half a second to become conscious of something, though that is not how we perceive it. Outside our conscious awareness, an advanced illusion rearranges events in time. Our consciousness lags behind because it has to present us with a picture of the surrounding world that is relevant. But it is precisely a picture of the surrounding world it presents us with, not a picture of all the superb work the brain does. The sequence is: sensation, simulation, experience. But it is not relevant to know about the simulation, so that is left out of our experience, which consists of an edited sensation that we experience as unedited. What we experience directly is an illusion, which presents interpreted data as if they were raw. It is this illusion that is the core of consciousness: the world experienced in a meaningful, interpreted way. What we experience has acquired meaning before we become conscious of it. [Tor Nørretranders, The User Illusion (1999)]


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