E. O. Wilson on will and feedback loops

[from Gary Cziko 970305.0400 GMT]

Here's an interesting quote of the type that I didn't expect to find in E.
O. Wilson's 1978 book _On Human Nature_ (pp. 76-77):

"Most significantly of all, schemata within the brain could serve as the
physical basis of will. An organism can be guided in its actions by a
feedback loop: a sequence of messages from the sense organs to the brain
schemata back to the sense organs and on around again until the schemata
"satisfy" themselves that the correct action has been completed. The mind
could be a republic of such schemata, programmed to compete among
themselves for control of the decision centers, individually waxing or
waning in power in response to the relative urgency of the physiological
needs of the body being signaled to the conscious mind through the brain
stem and midbrain. Will might be the outcome of the competition, requiring
the action of neither a "little man" nor any other external agent. There
is no proof that the mind works this in just this way. For the moment
suffice it to note that the basic mechanisms do exist; feedback loops for
example, control most of our automatic behavior. It is entirely possible
that will--the soul, if you wish--emerged through the evolution of
physiological mechanisms. But, clearly, such mechanisms are far more
complex than anything else on earth."