According to philosopher Daniel Dennett consciousness is just an illusion, but why should we trust the the claims of an illusion?
Daniel Dennett has made perhaps the hardest sale in human history. He has managed to sell his idea that consciousness, the very self of a human being, is merely an illusion. He has been selling this idea for years, and there is no shortage of buyers. This may not seem all that incredible except that there is no such thing as Daniel Dennett, according to Daniel Dennett.
The thing that is recognized as Daniel Dennett is just an illusion. An accidental byproduct of brain activity whose only purpose is to drive genetic propagation into the future. Whatever Daniel Dennett thinks Daniel Dennett thinks is really just his genetic code tricking him into behaviors that fulfill their purpose. The thoughts of Daniel Dennett are determined, not by Daniel Dennett, but by this process of cognitive illusion.
This is literally what Daniel Dennett, or the illusion that thinks it is Daniel Dennett, believes. And he wants you to believe it to. Which is like buying a hot dog from somebody who claims that hot dogs don’t exist. They are just illusions that arise from the accident of nature. That will be three bucks, kid.
It is unthinkable to me that Daniel, obviously a smart guy, cannot see the problem with his claims. When you make a claim that negates your own agency, and the agency of everyone else, then how are we to take your claims as reliable? If your position is that your mind is just an illusion, then how are we supposed to trust that illusion to know what the fuck is going on?
When confronted by his own problematic logic, Dennett is prone to creating complex abstractions and attempting to dazzle his critics with enough bullshit to fertilize Death Valley. He will reference arcane bits of higher order logic that nobody can confirm or dispute and sidestep the obvious with semantic sleights of hand. I must admit he really is a brilliant salesman, but at the end of the day my budget for ideas by people who claim to be nothing but a complex illusion is $0.
Dennett is not alone. Throughout modern philosophy, especially among scientific materialists and naive realists, there is a tendency to reduce the human mind to nothingness. If you want to sell articles, books and speaking events you must be willing to sell your species short with suggestive nihilism based on reductionist logic and vivid obscurities. Somehow we have become obsessed with theories that use complex reasoning to suggest that human beings are pretty much shit, and not very impressive shit at that.
Even if Dennett is right, his proposal offers no way to go through life. There is no hope or beauty in his assessment, just cold and deterministic judgements about our existence that offer no meaning, purpose or productive paths. It is the empty virtue signal of the cynic dressed up in academic language so that it might be taken seriously enough to turn a shitty philosopher into a minor celebrity. And fuck me, but it somehow worked.
Can we maybe please stop giving an audience to people who want to tell us how fucking worthless we are? Anybody else see how that might be useful?
Okay then. We are all worthless, stupid shits and we’re going to die terribly very soon. Now give me some money.