Your Brain Hallucinates Your Conscious Reality
One of the greatest mysteries is how consciousness works. In each of our brains, billions of neurons fire off to create a conscious experience. This creates your personal experience of the world that is around you and yourself that is in the world. Without consciousness, there is no world or self. The conscious mind of a human can suffer and experience emotion, but can other beings experience this connection to the conscious mind? Anil Seth, a neuroscientist, says that from his research he has come to find that consciousness has less to do with our intelligence and more to do with our nature as living beings. He says that being intelligent and conscious are different things and that you don't have to be smart to suffer, but you do have to be alive. Anil believes that our experiences in the world are constant hallucinations that happen through our minds. He breaks conscious experience into two groups; the world around us and the sights, scents, and sounds we take in. Then the self which is your own specific and individual experience.
The brain itself doesn't hear or see, so what we perceive is the brain's best guess of what we could be experiencing. So our brain uses prior expectations to build experience. So we don't just passively perceive the world, we actively generate it. So the world comes as much from the inside out as the outside in. Anil goes into talking about how hallucinations are uncontrolled perceptions which can be reached in altered states or in some forms of psychosis. So if this is the case with hallucinations, then perception in the conscious mind could be called controlled hallucinations. Anil says that "when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it reality." It shows us the power of the mind and thoughts and how we perceive the world around us. We also experience our bodies from the inside out as well through interoception. This is the body's way of telling us how the organs are doing and the state of the body and the experience of having a body is grounded in experiencing the body from within. Conscious experience from the inside out is very different from the conscious experience from the outside in. When you look at the world around you, you see objects around you, but when you experience the body from within it's not the same.
It's hard to even perceive your organs from the outside in unless there is something going wrong with your body. Experiences of being a conscious self are more about control and regulation than trying to sort out what is there. Anil goes on to explain the power of the mind and thoughts have on our conscious experience. There are even tests that people have done to prove this that you will see in the video, even some that you can try yourself just by looking at the screen. The conscious mind and the reality we see is part of a controlled hallucination that your mind has created that comes from thousands of years of evolution to keep us safe in the world. So he also leaves us with some things to think about. He says that just as we can misperceive the world, we can misperceive ourselves which could help with those experiencing depression and other mental illnesses. Also, just because they are making computers smarter doesn't mean they will be able to be sentient beings and have conscious experiences like human beings do. But that we are connected with all other living beings having a conscious experience. For more listen to the entire Ted Talk on YouTube.***
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