The stream of thought flows on

William James on consciousness and memory:

The stream of thought flows on; but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is confined to a few moments, hours or days. Others, again, leave vestiges which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as long as life endures.


  1. #1 Alice
    August 21, 2008

    All I can say is, BEAUTIFUL!

  2. #2 Jon
    August 21, 2008

    Ah, ol’ James boy thought he had the nature of thought here.

    He doesn’t for one instant think that thought isn’t a stream, and so his narrative propagates and stands as an indestructible vestige that lasted his whole life long.

    With the likes of Jeff Hawkins, I believe we have come a long way from all this fanciful notation such that we may finally have a real grasp on the nature of the brain. Boiled down very simply: Thought = Behavior = Perception = Memory = Anticipation. And all of this in a hierarchical columnar structure stands as a monstrously powerful realization.

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