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Does Consciousness Extend Beyond Brains? The 2023 Holberg Debate, feat. Seth, Luhrmann, Sheldrake.

Mar 08, 2024
It is my great pleasure to welcome the audience here at Ola University in Bergen, Norway, as well as viewers around the world, to this year's Holberg Debate. My name is Juran s and I am president of the Holberg Prize committee. The Holberg Prize is one of the highest international prizes awarded to outstanding scholars in the humanities, social sciences, theology and law. The prize was established by the Norwegian government in 2003 in honor of the 18th century scholar and author Ludwick Holberg, in addition to academic events held each year. In celebration of the Holberg Prize, the Holberg Debate is held annually in December in tribute to the intellectual curiosity and energy of Ludi Holberg.
does consciousness extend beyond brains the 2023 holberg debate feat seth luhrmann sheldrake
The

debate

aims to engage leading academics and non-academics in public

debate

on pressing issues of our time. The topic of this year's debate is the scientific and philosophical question of Consciousness. What is it? Where is? Discussions about Consciousness date back thousands of years and have taken on new urgency with modern scientific and technological advances. The title of this year's debate is the question: Does Consciousness Spread? Beyond Brains on the panel, we are proud to have Professor Anil Set from the University of Sussex, Professor Tanya Lurman from Stanford University and author and biologist R Rert Sheldrake. We are also very happy to have David Malone as moderator for this event.
does consciousness extend beyond brains the 2023 holberg debate feat seth luhrmann sheldrake

More Interesting Facts About,

does consciousness extend beyond brains the 2023 holberg debate feat seth luhrmann sheldrake...

David Malone is a prize. -Winning science documentary filmmaker who has made films for the BBC and Channel 4 on topics relevant to this debate. His most recent films have been about the promise and threat of artificial intelligence and the origin of covid. In 2012 he wrote a book about global depth. He crisis and currently he is writing a book on the evolution of life and

consciousness

with the working title From Matter to Meaning. He also finds time to discuss current topics on the Hyperland podcast, so we're very happy to welcome Berg here and accommodate David. Now he has the floor, thank you professor, good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this year's Hallberg debate of

2023

, as the professor said.
does consciousness extend beyond brains the 2023 holberg debate feat seth luhrmann sheldrake
I have spent my entire life making scientific history and philosophy films for BBC Channel 4 in the UK and Universal Pictures and over the years I have made around 10 films relevant to this topic of Consciousness. I've also chaired dozens of De's, so I thought I'd take a moment to explain the structure of this debate. There is a formula for how these debates are generally organized, usually the organizers invite a speaker to be what we could call the defender of the faith and their job is to explain to them all the received wisdom and all the unquestionable certainties that everyone agrees are certain. the heretic and that person's job is to tell you that no one agrees on anything and that all unquestionable certainties are completely questionable and then often there is a third party who is a bit like the Social Democratic Center party and their job is to try to I am very happy to tell you that the organizers of this debate ul sandmo and bjon bson it is entirely their fault in this coup of what I have to describe as bravery and brilliance they have decided to completely ignore everything I just told them um there won't be any either defender of faith on stage Will there be The Social Democrat?
does consciousness extend beyond brains the 2023 holberg debate feat seth luhrmann sheldrake
In fact, there will only be three Heretics of them. Now it is true that some of them are more heretical than others. But each in their own way has questioned some of the The sustained assumptions of modern science are somewhat undermined in the um articles of faith, one could even say that they are the dogmas of conventional science that form the battlements of an established wisdom. , but our speakers this afternoon are not here simply to tell you that they disagree with conventional wisdom. or even each other, they are here to try and shed some light on why they don't agree because every idea has a consequence.
I think people accept or reject an idea based on what they believe will cause collateral damage to the rest of their world. This is because if you accept an idea, sometimes you find that that idea forces you to give up another idea that you're not really happy to give up, and if that's the case, people say oh no, that's nonsense. If not it will do a lot of damage. They say, oh, that's tremendously interesting, professor, and that's what we're really here to do, is to talk about and explore what the consequences are, what's at stake if any of the ideas presented by our speakers are true, is that something well what to do? something scientific to get right here is a quote written by one of our panelists and see if you can decide which of the three wrote this here is the quote it is not unscientific to question established beliefs, but it is central to science itself at the heart creative Sorry, the creative heart of science is a spirit of open-minded inquiry.
Ideally, science is a process, not a position, not a belief system. Innovative science happens when scientists feel free to ask new questions and build new theories, and that's what we're going to do. this afternoon asking questions, analyzing new ideas, maybe even heretical, but ideas that matter and that have a consequence beyond themselves, where there are things at stake, if any of them turn out to be true, consequences for how we understand ourselves ourselves, how we understand the people we could be. we can become for our place in nature and the central issue, as the professor said, is that it revolves around this idea of ​​Consciousness that, on the one hand, I'm sure you all know, I think most of you, Maybe everyone is aware, but are you sure that the person next to you is?
How do you know if your dog is conscious? Could your computer one day be conscious? in turn, you'll have about 15 minutes to convince him of his heresy and our first speaker tonight is Annel Seth, one of Britain's leading neuroscientists, head of cognitive computing neuroscience at the University of Sussex, which, I can tell you , it is a breeding ground for heresy um uh he is the recent winner of the prestigious Faraday award and uh in his book, uh, you being a new science of Consciousness, he made it very clear that the human brain is not a computer made of meat and the apartment is yours, thank you.
David, good afternoon everyone, thanks also to the Holberg Prize Foundation at BU and Professor Ule for inviting me here and for organizing this wonderful event, when I first heard how it was going to be organized, I had not heard of it before . I just realized that it's a wonderful thing to be a part of, so I'm very, very happy to be here and also to see the first snowfall of the year in Bergen. Beautiful, I love it, 15 minutes to convince you of my heresy. start at the beginning I want to start 7 years ago 7 years ago I stopped existing I was having this little operation and my brain was filling with anesthesia and I remember these sensations of blackness and detachment and this falling apart and then I was back you I know I was sleepy and disoriented, but it was definitely there now, when you wake up from a deep sleep, you may be confused about the time or, but there is always this basic feeling of continuous continuity that at some point it has passed between then and now, but he has just finished.
I'm interested in how many people in the audience have had general anesthesia and are willing to admit it. It's okay for those who don't, I highly recommend it, a really interesting lack of experience and that's because when you go from anesthesia to general anesthesia it's very different. I could have been under for 5 minutes, 5 hours or even 50 years I just wasn't there under is an understatement it was total oblivion now anesthesia is a modern type of magic that requires people to turn them into objects and then return to them people and when we turn around and open our eyes our brain makes a long time more than simply processing information we are not computers made of flesh our minds are full of light and color with shadows and shapes we experience the world around us and we are a self within that world, how

does

this happen?, what makes us more than simple complex biological objects, this is the challenge of understanding Consciousness, which in my opinion is one of the most exciting and vibrant frontiers of modern science.
I now feel very honored to participate in this year's debate. with Dr. Sheld and Professor Iman and David and we will discuss two questions. I think one is whether conscious experiences occur both inside and beyond the brain and also can science solve this difficult problem, the difficult problem of

consciousness

in So-Cal and in In the rest of my opening remarks, I will talk more about the solution of the difficult problem of Consciousness, but I will say a little about whether Consciousness

extend

s as well. Let's start with a couple of definitions of what consciousness is. Well, the philosopher Thomas Nle. defines it this way and it's a good starting point for me it says that for a conscious organism there is something that feels like being that organism feels like something being me feels like something being each of you probably feels like something to be a bat or an ape or a kangaroo but it

does

n't feel like anything to be a table or this lectern or a blade of grass or a laptop probably for these things there probably isn't any experience at least this is a A reasonable initial assumption now from the standard perspective of Western science and philosophy and there are other options, as I am sure we come to the challenge is to explain how and why this is so.
Now the origins of this challenge go back as far as you want. in history, but it is a useful modern land. The point of reference is the philosopher David Charmers and his difficult problem of Consciousness. He puts it like this. There is wide agreement that Consciousness arises from a physical basis, but we do not have a good explanation of why and how it arises. If physical processing gave rise to a rich inner life, it seems objectively unreasonable for it to do so, and yet now it does, there is an assumption here, not made explicitly in this quote, but assumed by many researchers in the field, including me , of which the relevant physical basis. and the physical processing referred to refer to things that happen in the brain and perhaps also in the body, the question then becomes: what about the combined activity of the billions of brain cells and other associated gubbins within of my skull that gives rise to implications or is it somehow identical? to a conscious experience and this question has been the battle cry in the science of Consciousness for at least the last 30 years and I say the last 30 years because it was not always like this even though Consciousness is a central question when neuroscience and Psychology first emerged as coherent academic disciplines during much of the last century.
The topic was pushed to the margins or beyond. It was heretical to want to study it. The suspicion dominated that Consciousness was intrinsically subjective and private, as well as mysterious in some cases. Since it could not be usefully studied with the tools of science, psychologist Stuart Southernland wrote in the International Dictionary of Psychology in 1989, just before I began my undergraduate studies, that consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon; It is impossible to specify what is what. What it does or how it evolved, nothing worth reading has been written about it, it's a pretty pessimistic outlook. Fortunately, things have changed and I feel fortunate these days to have been part of a Renaissance in the scientific study of Consciousness and it is not just science that it brings. together scientists of all Stripes, mathematicians, psychologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists, computer scientists, physicists, philosophers, also anthropologists and other social scientists, all trying to address this fundamental problem and, although no one has solved it yet, they have been achieved and continue to be making exciting progress now on the initial strategy. in the study of Consciousness and still a very popular approach is to look for the so-called neural correlates of Consciousness, the Fingerprints of Consciousness in the brain or Traces, these are the parts of the brain or aspects of brain activity that change when the Consciousness changes and thanks to the sophisticated new brain imaging tools and other things we have available these days, we can look inside the brain to find these neural correlates.
These can be global changes in consciousness, what happens when we lose it, as with general anesthesia, or we can ask what changes there are. the brain, when our conscious experience changes, there are things like binocular rivalry where we show two images, one to each eye, and our conscious perception will change from one to the other. All this is great and a lot has been learned, but there are fundamental aspects. The limitations of this established strategy mean that correlations are not explanations and do not tell us much about cause and that is why we need theories, among other things, theories can help us move from correlations to correlations.explanations and, in doing so, we can begin to We undermine David Charma's difficult problem of how and why Consciousness occurs and there are many theories, which is one of the reasons why now is a particularly exciting time in this field.
A couple of years ago, philosopher Tim Bane and I wrote a review for Nature. reviews neuroscience on brain-based neuroscientific theories of consciousness and we came up with 22, some of them very different from each other, some of them more mature and more supported by evidence than others, and what is happening now in general in the field is We are reaching the stage of comparing these theories with each other to see which ones hold up and which ones fail. Now my pet theory, which I've been developing in various ways for over a decade, is that the brain is a kind of prediction machine and that what we experience both in the world around us and as a self within it are forms of controlled, brain-based hallucinations that are linked to their causes in the world or in the body not so much by precision but by criteria of how useful they are in the business of staying alive now the idea of ​​the brain is a prediction machine that It constantly estimates what's happening and calibrates its best guesses against the sensors.
He points out that this is not a new idea and has been developed in different ways by different people and my own view is to treat it as a way to go beyond correlations between brain activity and consciousness and instead explain why the conscious experiences are what they are. and not otherwise, why an experience of color is different from an experience of emotion or Free Will and an implication of this is that what we perceive is not simply a reading of the sensory information that comes through our eyes and ears. It is always and everywhere an active creative act in which the brain continually makes predictions about what the world is like and what the body is like and it updates these predictions using sensory information and, in my opinion, this is what we experience, we experience the predictions .
It is not a reading of sensory information, our experiences of the world and ourselves come from the inside out as much or more than from the outside in and this means that we inhabit a surprisingly different inner world, as I am sure Tanya lman will explain. next even for the same shared objective reality, but what this does not mean, at least in my opinion, is that Consciousness itself

extend

s Beyond the brain or that our vision, for example, is a force emitted by the eyes, another implication is perhaps even more controversial, which is that, unlike most of my colleagues and this is where my heresy takes flight, I believe that Consciousness is intimately connected to our nature as living creatures, so life can be a necessary condition for Consciousness and this throws back the tired old metaphor of the brain as a The computer really highlights how different we are from the great language models and other AI artifacts that increasingly dominate our societies and our lives, and I mentioned this in part to underline that even within the limitations of what is often called conventional neuroscience, there is much variety. and controversy over some other prominent theories, um, like there's a neuroscientist named Julot Toni who has a theory called Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness, which makes other incredibly counterintuitive predictions, like that vivid conscious experiences can occur with almost no neural activity , so many Controversy: Will any of these theories solve the difficult problem well from where we are now?
I think it is too early to say, but I am an optimist and there is a lesson here in how our understanding of life developed; It wasn't that long ago, maybe 150 years. that the challenge of understanding life seemed to be beyond the reach of science perhaps as mysterious as the challenge of Consciousness seems to us today and according to the dominant philosophy at that time of vitalism there had to be something almost Supernatural, a spark of life and Elon was vital in explaining the difference between the living and the non-living, but things did not turn out that way, instead of treating life as a great terrifying mystery, biologists of the time began to explain the properties of systems living things, metabolism, homeostasis, reproduction in terms of the underlying physics and chemistry and little by little our conception of what life is changed and the need to appeal to some special Source began to fade.
The difficult problem of Life was not solved, it was dissolved and I think the same could happen with Consciousness, by eliminating its various properties, how conscious we are, that we are conscious of the nature of the self, the nature of valuation, the difficult problem of Consciousness also seems less mysterious and less monolithic than before and perhaps one day perhaps. Not so far, I might as well disappear in a cloud of metaphysical smoke, and of course I might be wrong in both my own theory and this optimistic view of the future of consciousness science, but that's okay, the beauty of science is. the ability to be productive. wrong, so our collective understanding always increases and even if we don't fully understand the problem of Consciousness, what we are learning along the way is already radically changing our way of thinking about the nature of how we experience the world, the perception of self . and other things and this is having important implications in society, something that I hope we will talk about later in ethics, in medicine, in animal welfare, in law, in how we treat AI and in much more, now the Neuroscience of the Consciousness is in a very exciting time. place now, just as astronomy faces the challenge of the very distant and quantum physics the challenge of the very small.
Neuroscience faces the unique challenge of the very complex and we are only now developing the theoretical and experimental tools to meet this challenge and If we still find it difficult to understand or imagine how any type of physical matter could give rise to any type of experience, this is fine. It could be because our imagination is not yet up to the task of imagining what a system as complex as an embodied brain is. might be able to do, but when empowered with the tools of science and philosophy coming from the ideas of those colleagues now and before us, our imagination can stretch further and, like the apparent Mystery of Life, what once seemed inexplicable may not always remain so.
I will now end by very briefly addressing this specific question of whether consciousness extends beyond the brain. The first thing I should say is that I am completely comfortable with the idea that our mind extends beyond the brain. A good part of my memory is in this. phone probably a lot more too and, in fact, part of what it means to be myself is in my perception of how others perceive me and therefore depends, albeit indirectly, on things outside my own brain. David Chalmer himself, who according to the term hard problem along with philosopher Andy Clark, has written convincingly in my mind about the idea of ​​the extended mind, but the Mind, although the mind can be expanded to encompass many things, the mind cannot It is the same as conscious experience itself.
Now, when I look around me, the contents of my Consciousness, let's say colors, seem to be out there in the world, does this mean that my Consciousness itself is too well out there in the world? I don't think so, just because the contents of my Consciousness sometimes seem to be out there doesn't mean we actually are now this is a useful example it's something like an out of body experience where people experience being in a different position to that of their own bodies this is clearly a real experience for many people throughout history and even now, but that does not mean that Consciousness itself has abandoned the body and flown away, there are often many different explanations, more compelling, more empirically useful for these kinds of experiences, it's important to pay attention to how things look, but it's not always a good guide to how things are now, in my opinion.
A line of thought that dates back to the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Experiencing something in the world is part and parcel of the brain's predictions about the causes of the sensory signals it receives and the interesting question, at least to me. It is what is happening in the brain that underlies this experiential projection of properties like color, shape, etc., into the world and things like emotions here inside bodies. They now claim that Consciousness itself can extend beyond the brain and perhaps the body. even acting at a distance as in the case of this phenomenon, the feeling of being watched, which I am sure Rupert Chel will also tell us about shortly, this in a certain sense is a very common statement, it is very likely that we have all felt like this at some point or another, but scientifically it is an extraordinary claim and it is an extraordinary claim because currently there are no plausible mechanisms by which this could actually happen and extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence and if we had that evidence that would be very interesting because it would force us not only to have a different image of Consciousness but to radically rethink explanations that would be very discontinuous with practically all of science as we know it, so in a situation like this the evidence we need for me is a kind of evidence, very Similar to when physicists propose the existence of a new fundamental particle in a particle accelerator, this is a very high bar that is certainly rarely met in psychology, now I don't deny it at all.
It is quite possible that people will have experiences that lead them to think that Consciousness extends, whether it is an out-of-body experience or a feeling of being watched or, more generally, what Tanya Lurman will probably talk about in terms of the paracity of consciousness. mind, but how things work. It seems like it's not a good guide to the way things are, and in my opinion the most interesting and empirically justifiable explanations for these experiences will probably always lie in the brain itself, the embodied brain, it's a brain that interacts richly with the body and with the world, but not through it. any extra cranial spatially extended Consciousness I will leave my last words for the poet Emily Dickinson who in a beautiful poem from 1862 wrote the brain is wider than the sky to put them next to each other will contain with ease and you also thank thank you Anil um our second Speaker tonight is Tanya Lurman, she is the Albert Ray Lang Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, she teaches anthropology and psychology, and in my opinion and that of many others, she is one of the most original and challenging anthropologists.
Currently working on her books When God Answers and How God Gets Real Tanya has posed a formidable and nuanced challenge to those who would dismiss so many of the ancient and mysterious aspects of the human mind Tanya, the word is yours, okay, good afternoon, believe. that Bergen is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, you are all very lucky, so I am here because, as an anthropologist, I have seen in my work that humans can experience their own thoughts as if they were not own. and because it is not within them, a person can have an image in his mind and simply feel that it is not his own image.
A person can hear a voice when he is alone and that voice has a thinking quality, but he feels like he is outside. there and a person feels as if they can hear it with their ears a person can feel a sense of presence that no one else can see these experiences matter a voice is found at the heart of many religions Abraham knew that Yahweh existed because Yahweh called him Muhammad knew that the Koran was divine because the words came to him from outside. The disciples knew that Jesus was somehow alive after his death because they saw him and then heard him speak.
These experiences are important to people because they are taken as primeval evidence that the spirit is there and responds. Augustine, torn against himself, struggled to convert to Christianity. He could not convert until he heard God speak. Jonov Arc heard God command him and that gave him so confident that she went to the king of France and demanded that he give her an army and he she got the army and she won a battle and that battle could have saved the Kingdom Martin Luther King Jr. He was desperate at the beginning of the bus boycott Montgomery people had threatened his family, he thought about stopping, but when he sat at his kitchen table and prayed, he heard God say He would be with him and Martin Luther King Jr kept going.
These experiences happened to everyday people throughout my career. I have worked with middle class people in London. Lon who understood that they followed the ancient gods of pre-Christian Europe. I worked with Zoroastrians in Mumbai and withNewly Orthodox Jews and Black Catholics in Southern California. I have spent months in an Anglo-Cuban Spirit possession group called santoria and years in churches with charismatic evangelical Christians both in the United States and abroad. I have seen that many people have some type of moment that they take as communication from Spirit and that many people have moments where that Spirit feels real to them with their senses.
I've also seen that in all those different phases people say that some people are more likely to have these experiences than others, that if you pray or do rituals you are more likely to have these experiences and I observed that in some social worlds people had more experiences. of this type than others to understand this. I think we need to go back to Neil's starting point, which is phenomenology and what it is to feel conscious, and I want to make two simple observations about what it feels like to have thoughts. The first is that humans are aware of their consciousness in some way and to some extent mark that consciousness as distinctive.
You could call it the difference between interiority and physicality or interiority or exteriority or we would say Mind and Body in my own work on a directed project. Thanks to a young psychologist named Cara Weissman we were able to show that in five different countries not only adults but also children distinguish between things of the mind and things of the body; At the same time, people map that distinction in different ways. In vanatu, people imagined anger as more part of the body and love is more like thinking, as more part of the mind they distinguished mind, mind and body differently than people in the United States.
The second observation I want to make is that we have contradictory intuitions about the relationship between the mental and the mental. the physical I think we all have some kind of predetermined model for how thoughts work, they are located in the body, they are private, no one else can read them, they are our thoughts, we create them and they stay within us, they affect us the thinker, but they do not They escape from your mind. alone to do things in the world, but it is also true that thoughts feel like power, at least some thoughts, even for modern Western secular people, when we curse someone who does not do it and who is not present, it becomes dreams feel like an action, even if we think of ourselves as letting off steam dreams ordinary dreams sometimes feel really powerful and feel like they contain information that somehow comes from the outside we talk about a poem that comes to a poet as if the poet had than capturing the poem and writing it. before the poem disappears, when someone feels pain, even modern Western secular people will say that they hold them in their thoughts as if that does something, so even secular people have the intuition that thoughts cross the boundaries of the world of mind bound to mind, even if they don't.
I really don't think so, different cultural worlds elaborate these conflicting intuitions in different ways witchcraft prophecy clairvoyance prayer the soul these are all culturally specific ideas that are actually elaborations of an intuition that can allow people to believe that thoughts can leave the mind and act on your own in the world. I want to suggest that all humans imagine a boundary between thoughts and the world, but that some humans imagine it more like a fishing net, sometimes with big holes, sometimes with small holes, but with holes so that fish-like thoughts can cross and then some social worlds like ours tend to imagine that, like a concrete wall, my work shows that the more a person imagines that the boundary of the mental world is porous and permeable, the more likely they are to hear and see. or feel the presence of a God or a spirit In a recent publication of the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences we reported on a large study in five different cultures, the United States, Ghana, Thailand, China and Vanuatu, our team conducted these long open interviews with people of faith, some of them Christians, some of them not asking how they imagined their minds and how they experienced God.
We sent research assistance to stand in lines like in front of a government agency and people had the research assistance law we asked short versions of those questions we gave a bunch of surveys to college students and asked them to complete them regardless how we asked the question or where we did the work, the more someone claimed that the boundary between the mind and the world was porous, the more they said that thought was something like WiFi that could pass into the world and act on its own, the more that said person who had heard a voice or had seen a vision of a God or a spirit had felt a spiritual sensation. presence or had another a variety of other unusual intense experiences I found two other factors the second factor is absorption the more someone enjoys being trapped in their inner world the more they delight in their daydreams the more they can watch a play and for a moment forget that it is just a play and feels like it is really happening, the more likely the person is to say that they have heard, that they have heard the Spirit speak, that they have seen something, that they have felt a spiritual presence, that there is something about the attitude of a person towards their own thoughts that allows them to have the feeling that God or the spirit is really there the third factor is the practice or what as Shand might think of their prayer.
I saw this particularly clearly among evangelical Christians who were seeking an intimate back-and-forth relationship with their God, many people came to these churches and felt that God did not speak to them God did not speak to them, he could speak to someone else, but not to them, from whom they had to learn. the church that their mind was not completely private that some of the thoughts and images they took as their own were actually God speaking to them and they learned that they should be on the lookout for thoughts that seemed more spontaneous or thoughts that seemed stronger than other thoughts that seemed to be the kinds of things God would say.
They searched for thoughts that would give them an answer to something that was puzzling them and perhaps give them a sense of peace. A man told me that he had. He had to move and he was standing in church and the name of a new branch of the church, a new church plant, came to him and gave him a sense of peace and he decided that this was not his own thinking. . These were God's words to him, so he took up and moved across town to be closer to that new church. People looked for those kinds of thoughts and images, and when they looked, certain thoughts felt like they stood out a little more.
They caught your attention a little more. However, they would look for those thoughts, particularly when they prayed in a church like this when, like in many churches, people close their eyes and talk to God in a way that uses their imagination and focuses inward. images, then people have told me that they have prayed to God while sitting on Jesus' lap and that while they pray they want to stand in the throne room so they can feel the warmth of God's power on their cheeks they talk about sitting on a park bench and feeling God's arm on their shoulders or going for a walk with God also talk about talking to God as if he were there even though they still don't feel his presence after several months.
By doing this type of prayer, newcomers to a church like this they would tell me things like I recognize God's voice the same way I recognize my mom's voice on the phone inside their heads, in the stream of their consciousness, they would hear God speak and from time to time. They often said that they could hear God speak in a way that they could hear with their ears. You can find these techniques in many spiritual traditions in the spiritual exercises of Ignacio Lola and Kabbalah and shamanism in the yoga of Tibetan deities, but it is not necessary. they believe in Gods and Spirits to make the techniques work in a corner of the Internet a new form of practice called tulpamancy has emerged the tulpa T L PA a is the name of the invisible friend that the human wants to create and the tancer is the name of the human who wants to create a friend.
Many humans do this. One of the Internet sites has 30,000 usernames. When people visit these sites, they have no metaphysical presuppositions and do not believe that tulpamancy has anything to do with it. with God or anything to do with this Supernatural, they think tulpamancy is a cool psychological technique. Me and my postdoctoral fellow Michael lifshitz have interviewed about 25 tancs right now we fly them to California and they arrive, they arrive at my front door. They have a 4 hour lunch with a digital recorder running, these guys explicitly use two techniques to create their tulpas, first they cultivate mental images, so they focus on their tulpas, their ear, their nose, as vividly as possible using their senses.
If their tulpa is an animal, they caress the fur and try to feel what it feels like, as if they were hearing the sound of their tulpa's voice in their mind. The second thing they do is simply talk to the TPA as if the TPA is there, even if they do not believe the TPA is present, and, like evangelicals, over time they develop a clear sense that an invisible being is present and As the being responds, they concentrate on the tulpa with the inner senses of their mind, they behave as if the tulpa were there, and it seems to them as if their tulpa is emerging from their own consciousness and feels more and more outside of them until it too.
They have the feeling that the tulpa has a mind of its own and responds to them in ways that each person cannot predict. The interviewees said that their tulpa was sensitive and sometimes they said that the tulpa spoke in a way that they could hear with their ears and sometimes Tula would push them in a way that they could feel in their body, so what is happening here there are many specifics. stories many specific mechanisms many unanswered questions but some things are clear first of all this story is not about Madness that statement requires more time than I have to defend it but in short the voices of the spirit are not like the voices of Madness the voices of Madness are frequent there are many words and many of those words are bad and harsh the voices of the spirit of SP tend to be short, brief and positive they feel different they feel richer and less strange than the voices of Madness and the fact That training and practice seem to provoke them suggests that there is something much more basic here about the relationship that humans have with their own thoughts, it suggests that it is possible to learn to experience some thoughts as if they were not me and not inside, and if humans do it with the intention of experiencing them. an invisible, other humans can come to experience that invisible other as real and receptive.
I am not against the view that there may be something non-human involved in this process or that perhaps the practice creates something that is beyond human but that I can see clearly. is that we can have a relationship with our own minds and we can use that relationship to make it feel like an invisible other is there and I just want to pause to say what an extraordinary thing the most moving thing I saw in The Evangelical Churches was that the God who responded felt like a social relationship to these people religion is complicated it's full of politics it's not always a good thing for a society but for these people I spent time with God made them feel loved and protected.
I am sure that that social relationship is one of the important reasons behind the remarkable finding that religious observance is good for the physical body. Tulpa mancers told one person that having a tulpa made them feel less alone. Experiencing thought as if it were not me and not within is part of the amazing human ability to heal ourselves from within. Thank you so much. Well, now you're in deep water and it's about to get deeper. Our last speaker today is Rupert Sheldrick. He studied biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, where he was later director of studies in cell biology and biochemistry at CLA College.
He also studied history and philosophy of science at Harvard, so he is more versed in philosophy than most scientists I have spoken to. Well, in his book A New Science of Life, he proposed a theory of what he called morphic resonance, which I think it's fair to say put him almost completely at odds with all of conventional biology, to the point that he's the only one that I think they once censored his Ted Talk, banned it and I think they reinstated it after a huge outcry and in 2012 he published his book, well, which is my favorite of his books, the scientific hoax that punctured many of the assumptions that had been had for a long time about what he called the scientific priesthood Rupert the The stage is yours, thank you.
I am very grateful and happy to be here in Bergen. I would've been great. They have treated me very well and the organizers have done a fantastic job. This debate is something that has not happened before. As far as I know and I'm very glad it's happening,Tanya's talk has taken us into enormously broad territory and I'm not going to explore it in my talk. I hope we explore it further in our later discussion and Anel's talk has opened up ways of thinking about the mind that I think are very useful. I really enjoyed reading his book being you and I think his idea, two of his key ideas that I really find useful, first, the idea of ​​controlled hallucination as the basis of perception um, this is like he said, it's not a totally idea. original, is he, is a very good way to describe it, but in traditional Indian philosophy there has always been the idea that we don't see what is really there, we experience Maya as a kind of magical veil of illusion that is a kind of controlled hallucination um and the Indians are very interested in the metaphor you are walking along a path at night uh in the twilight you see a snake you got scared your whole body reacts uh and then you realize it's just a piece of rope old and, in reality, it is not exactly what enters the eye, but the way you interpret it, anticipate it and how you project these images, the great Greek geometer Euklid around 300 BC.
C., he pointed out. Vision is an active process, if you are searching for a pin and suddenly you see the pin your experience changes because now you have identified where it is, it is an active search and now it looks different once you do it. I've seen and recognized the pin so I think controlled hallucination is a good way to put it and he also likes to talk about what he calls the real problem of consciousness, which is investigating things that can actually increase our understanding so that It's easier, or should be easier, to solve the difficult problem of Consciousness and I completely agree.
What I don't agree with is that I think the idea that everything is in the brain is an unnecessary limitation for many of these. materialists who think in the brain. and Anil tells us that he is a materialist in his book. Materialist thinking about the brain is extraordinarily local; locate all these things inside the head, but within the sciences since the 19th century we now have a much broader view of matter and the way nature is organized and this is expanded through the concept of fields first introduced once in science by Michael Faraday in relation to electric and magnetic fields, then through Einstein's general theory of relativity, which includes the gravitational field, and now there are many fields in science.
Fields are defined as regions of influence and are generally invisible. Earth's gravitational field is on Earth, but extends far beyond it. The reason we are not floating in the air right now is because it keeps us glued to the ground. It is invisible. This room is full of it. But we can. I don't see it, it keeps the Moon in its orbit, it extends far beyond the Earth, the Moon's gravitational field affects the tides on Earth, so these are invisible fields with huge effects at a distance, even though you can't see them gravitationally. Electric and Magnetic Fields Also Extend Beyond physical objects, a magnetic field extends far beyond the magnet.
You can reveal its lines of force by scattering iron filings around it, but the field itself is invisible and the electromagnetic fields of your mobile phone are inside the mobile phone but extend invisibly. Beyond it this room is full of transmissions from radio from mobile phones from radio and television programs um that the world is full of invisible fields this is a revelation of the science of the 19th and 20th centuries that I don't think has been taken into account by people who think in materialist theories of the brain and what I would like to suggest is that our fields of our mind extend far beyond our bodies, they extend invisibly and our Consciousness is related and based on These fields that if we are to solve the problem of the heart taking into account Mind fields can be a very important ingredient, in addition to studying the processes within the brain, the easiest way to see what I'm talking about is, in fact, through vision, what happens when you see something, well , everyone knows that light enters the eyes since Johan Kepler in 16004 discovered that there were inverted images on the retina, we know that the lens focuses the light in each eye, you have a small inverted image. image in the retina changes occur in rod and cone cells impulses travel to the optic nerve changes occur in various regions of the brain all of this has been mapped and scanned in greater detail than ever but the mysterious part is then what What happens?
Next, how do you create full-color, three-dimensional images that you call anal, controlled hallucinations? How is it controlled? How does the brain create those that are supposed to be inside your head? there you can see me here, but you all are supposed to be inside my head, uh, like a lot of faces and this whole room is meant to be and inside your head there's supposed to be a little ret um somewhere inside your brain that is is not what we actually experience, what we really experience is that our images are out there, your image of me that I am imagining is where I am standing right now and my image of you is where you are, so this theory of The one-way vision that we have all grown up with and that comes from Kepler um, the theory of intromission vision sending the introduction Mission um is considered the standard scientific view, but there is another, older theory of vision, the theory of extramission , which says that not only does light come in, but the images we see are projected outward, so my images of you are where they appear to be.
They are in my mind. They are on my conscience. But they're not inside my head. They are where you are sitting now. This idea is familiar, it was familiar to the ancient Greeks, it is familiar to people around the world, developmental psychologist Jean P showed that young European children, in his book, Children's Conception of the World, think they are projecting images. that they take it for granted so this is actually a very deep-rooted way of thinking about vision and Uclid, the great geometer, used it to explain in the first really clear way how mirrors work, what happens when you look at something in a mirror . the light is reflected from the mirror the angle of incidence the angle of reflection is the same but what happens then is that you project the images that pass directly through the mirror being virtual mental projections and you see virtual images behind the mirror and the theory of The ucl is still there in school textbooks to explain mirrors.
You have all, no doubt, seen these diagrams. They include small dotted lines behind the mirror that go to What is called a virtual image behind the mirror, a projection of the Mind behind the mirror, so this additional mission. Sending the theory of vision is actually taught to all school children, although in most science it is considered a complete heresy. Intromission is the only permissible theory in biology and psychology, while in optics, which is included in physics, extramission is the standard theory, but no. I wonder if it's confusing. Now people are taught two completely different theories of vision.
At Ohio State University, Gerald Wier, a professor of psychology, was surprised to discover that most of the adults and children he interviewed believed in the visual extramission of something coming out of the eyes, even their own. The psychology students believed it, so he remembered that this was a fundamental misunderstanding of visual perception and decided to reeducate them and he and his colleagues forcefully told them over and over again that nothing comes out of the eyes when you look at something and after repeated inquiries with this in the students when they were tested immediately after this denial of extramission uh teaching, they gave the correct answers, but when they were tested 3 to 5 months later, almost all of them had returned to their previous views and were dismayed by this failure of science education much more recently, in fact, only in the last few years Avid gutam uh working first at Princeton University Now the Kolinska Institute in Stockholm has shown that, through some very ingenious experiments, people attribute a soft force to the gaze as it advances. outside the eyes and have even shown using fmri that brain regions involved in motion tracking are activated and as he says, the results this is a quote that strongly suggests that when people see a face looking at an object, the The brain treats that look as if a movement were present that passes from the face to the object and they discovered that this occurred even in people who did not believe in visual extremes;
It is deeply rooted in the way we see and they tried to explain this by saying There must be an evolutionary reason for this: it is important to follow people's gaze in social situations and this leads to the illusion that something is coming out of the eyes when you look at them. things. It would make a lot more sense in evolutionary terms if that were the case. It is not an illusion, but if it is real and it is also real, you should not think that it is real because that goes against the dogma that the mind is nothing more than the activity of the brain and the perceptions are inside the head, but what?
Is it verifiable? Well, I think it's um if when I look at you like a projection of my mind touching you, my mind in a sense reaches out to touch you if I look at you from behind and you don't know I'm there, would you? you feel like I'm looking at you right as soon as you ask that question you realize that the feeling of being looked at is very common now it's called scop athesia the scientific name for it scop as in the microscope seeing anesthesia sensation as in synesthesia anesthesia Scopes is extremely common, most people have experienced it.
I'm sure most people in this room have experienced it. You turn around and find someone staring at you or you stare at someone and they turn around and look back, it doesn't happen all the time, but it is very common, most people have experienced it, including most kids, it's usually directional, you turn and look directly at the person, you don't just feel uncomfortable and look around. I have a recent article in the last few weeks on directional scar athesia that shows that based on 960 case studies uh directionality is just a basic

feat

ure of this and the way people experience it um I've researched the Natural History that we've interviewed uh We've covered it through questionnaires and found that it usually happens uh most powerfully with strangers, often with male strangers in situations that might be vaguely threatening. um, we've done interviews with over 50 surveillance officers, famous photographers and private detectives, virtually all of whom take this for granted if you've ever trained to be a private detective and I'm guessing most of you haven't, They will have learned that when they follow someone they don't stare at their back because if they do, they will turn around and catch their eyes. and your cover has been blown, you have to look at them a little, otherwise you will lose them, but look at their feet.
So among practical people these things are taken for granted in martial arts, they are taken for granted and they have training methods. that people become more sensitive because if you can feel when someone is approaching from behind and could attack you, you will survive better than if you don't feel it, they train this skill, people get better at it and I think it should be more trainable. Overall, my Spanish neuroscientist colleague, Dr. Alice Alex Gómez Marín, and I are currently developing an application that works on mobile phones. It should be released within a few weeks.
We will announce it on my website. The app um. Both people have a mobile phone. one tells a person when to look or not to look and the other person whose back is turned and who is blindfolded has to guess if they are looking or not and they say yes or no, they are right or not, which many Experiments have already been carried out on the sensation of being looked at. They have been held in at least 37 different schools and universities. They have been replicated in many parts of the world. The statistical significance is astronomical. They have Nemo in science.
An experiment on the sensation of being looked at was carried out for more than 20 years in a science museum in Amsterdam. More than 20,000 people participated and it was called "You've got eyes in the back of your head" and people had to guess whether or not they were being tested in a random sequence of trials, the results were astronomically statistically significant. I mean, I didn't run this EXP on my own, it was run by the Dutch Museum, the results were analyzed by Dutch statisticians and showed a hugely significant effect. By the way, the most subsensitive subjects were children under nine years of age.
So here we have something that is very well known. It is well known throughout the world. Scientific evidence suggests that it really happens. The scientific teaching of how the mirror works assumes that there is a missionexternal influences uh, it seems to be a deep recognition in biology, it happens with animals, animals can know when they are being looked at and when and people can know when animals are looking at them, so here we have a very, very well known phenomenon , very deeply rooted biologically, many different species of animals have demonstrated this ability. I think it has evolved in the context of relationships between prey and predator.
A prey animal that could tell when a predator was watching it. A hidden predator was. looking at it would survive better than one who didn't and I think it has huge implications for our understanding of the mind because if our mind is not just about what happens in the brain and if our conscious experience is extended through electromagnetic fields, what which light is it suggests that Minds have an interface with electromagnetism we know that they have a lot of brain activity in the brain that correlates with Consciousness is electromagnetic activity there seems to be an interface between electromagnetism and Consciousness and why should it be limited to the The interior of the head is a purely arbitrary assumption, coming from René Deart originally, I suppose, or from the ancient Greek materialists, but Deart, as Anel pointed out, made a division between extended things, extensor matter extending in space, while that the worries of the mind, uh, were not. extended in space was defined as not extended, so the idea was that the mind was not extended but interacted with the brain somewhere inside the head, so I suggest that actually when we abandon that assumption that has been so limiting For so long, we can expand our view of the mind and go further than we have gone so far in a way that will help us solve the real problems that ultimately lead to the hard problem.
I just want to say that I think that the extended mind doesn't just extend out into the world, it extends throughout the body and, um, when someone has, say, a phantom limb after an amputation, I think that that phantom limb is part of the extended mind and people feel that the limb is really there and I think What they are doing is projecting that image of the limb and feeling it from the inside as to where the limb really is. The official view is that everything is inside the brain, um, but I don't think it is, so I think once we free the mind.
From the brain in general and Consciousness from the brain in particular we have a much broader context to discuss this problematic problem, the difficult problem of the relationship between the mind and the brain, there are many other ways in which minds are extended, including the ways that Tanya spoke to us about uh, through these experiences of other forms of Consciousness um, but I think those are topics that I hope are addressed more in our discussion, but for now I just want to finish by saying that I think that when we take into account the extended mind rather than just arbitrarily limiting ourselves to the inside of the head, we are much more likely to make progress in understanding how minds relate to our bodies and to the physical fields through which we see and through which which we have our experiences.
Thank you. If you wish. I hope you went somewhere to help you free your mind from your brain. One of the things I thought would be interesting to start with. What is this relationship of the self to all the things that our minds do? I am right? I feel when I listen to the three of you that we're moving away from this notion that the little person inside does everything and is in control of everything and I'm the only person here, that's right, are we moving away from that? There could be other people here other than just me.
I mean two parts. I think yes to the first, but maybe yes to the second, depending on. What do you mean? I think you're absolutely right that there is a movement away from this homuncular view that you also mentioned in terms of some views on how the materialist neuroscience of neuroscience might view the problem of vision and that, you know, it comes from the world. and it's somewhere inside my skull there's a little me with a movie screen maybe taped to the front of my forehead and a little mini me looking at it and pulling some levers and my hands moving but of course inside that mini me you need another mini mini me and mini and so on and this is a you know, this is the idea of ​​the inner homunculus and I think it is totally rejected within philosophy and science and there is no need, there is no need for it either. some way. is very much in line with many more eastern philosophical positions in Buddhism etc, the nature of the self is a process, it is not a thing, it is the way I see it, it is a collection of perceptions, it is something that the brain is doing. and this through exactly the same principles you use when constructing experiences of the world, so, but is there a bit of rupit in there?
Well there R inside me, do you have some? Now there is yes, yes, there wasn't until we started. I'm planning this debate, but in a sense, yeah, right, I mean, in a sense, my, my, you, the claim to me is that my brain solves this vision problem, that's a hard problem and it's not completely resolved, but in a sense it is doing it. by having a predictive model A generative model of the causes of the sensory signal, so in a sense my brain is encoding a generative model of Ruper Sheld and Tanya Lurman DAV Malone and yes, that is certainly true.
You wanted to, I think. that the more time I've spent in this domain, the more I think that the Mind is full of people, the more I think that the mind is full of voices and I mean psychoanalysis has known this for a long time, but the more you talk to people I used to ​​to think that I had my own inner voice the more I pay attention to it the more I see little orders little orders you know what I should wear you know what I should eat what I should do and the more I realize that they are actually similar Acra not only of me but of other people I listen to my mom, my dad, my sisters, my teachers, now rert and Anil, David and I, I improve them, I change them, whatever, but there is a kind of people. quality of our consciousness that is really surprising that we don't really pay attention to the other thing I want to say is that I think all four of us experience our minds differently, there is a huge variation in the way in the amount of mental awareness. images and the amount of representation in the sound of our inner voice in the amount of our inner voice in what we remember our inner voice does and there is also something that I think Anil will see that there is probably a nice There is a big gap between what we actually experience in our minds and what we remember our minds experiencing and I think that and those two probably interact well.
I think it is indisputable that we all experience other beings in our dreams and we all dream whether we remember them or not and when I dream I have another body that is not the same as my physical body that is lying down while I sleep in bed. I have a dream body and we all have a center of Consciousness that moves and can run. talk sometimes fly um we meet other people in our dreams all the time um and even if we don't have them in Waking Life we ​​certainly have them in dreams um so I don't think there's any doubt that everyone has other little people in your consciousness um now where are they located is another question um where are our dreams located.
I mean, the normal standard materialist view is that they must be inside the head because everything is in the brain, but most people in traditional cultures and maybe in our For a long time I thought that people traveled in their dreams and that's why Edward Tyler thought that humans came up with the idea of ​​religion because you dream and you feel like you're not in your body during sleep, therefore there must be a soul and therefore there must be Spirit Well, I think It's a perfectly persuasive line of thought personally and there you know, if you think about life after death, which is a way of expanding our view of Consciousness beyond what we've discussed so far maybe we shouldn't go too far. , but um, life after death, um, I think it's better to think about it and at least if I think about it, I consider it as a dream that you can't wake up from now Aniel doesn't believe in that because on page one of his book tells us that when you die like total Oblivion he doesn't discuss why there is total abbl he takes it for granted well that's not entirely fair I mean to you' You're right, this is what I argue, I mean this, what I say , but there's a there's a reason to say yes, well, you're okay, what is it, well, the reason I like open discussion, um, well, I want to come back. to dreams too, but the reason for saying that comes a little bit from the example of general anesthesia, which is the closest to death any of us would get without actually dying and that seems to imply forgetting, it seems to lead to the suggestion, If there is one thing, even if Consciousness is not fully understood, if there is one thing that is very clear it is this intimate relationship between the brain and conscious experience, you can accept that and still have a variety of positions on other things that could influence it. or where it might be in some sense uh, but it's pretty clear that you change the brain, your experience changes and you stop the brain and your experience stops and we come back to the question of the self, the interesting thing about the self is us.
We are moving away from this vision that it is a single Essence that perceives, makes the decisions, thinks the thoughts. William James said that thoughts are thinkers, uh, and it's a process, and the process at some point stops being a process, so Of course, I don't know for sure, but you know, as everyone will probably agree. , science never directly gives you the truth, it just gives you the evidence, and the evidence that we have suggests very strongly that when your brain stops, you stop, um and so on. Dreams by the way, so I was thinking about this when you were talking because you were saying something like Okay in some s, so I see we're both looking at this crowd of beautiful people here, um, and where is that experience? there where those people are I don't believe it you believe it um but if I'm having a dream like then I'll have a dream or a nightmare tonight about this uh this conversation um and again I have the experience of people out there throwing fruit at me or at you, still I don't know, where is it?
What you know is that not in my hotel room, probably not, so a simpler explanation seems to be that the mechanisms that generate both experiences are inside the brain and that explains why the fact that they appear to be in the world is a property, a very understandable property of how the perceptual mechanisms work inside my brain, if you have the alternative explanation that, oh no, in dreams, my soul has gone somewhere and started. travel, I mean, of course, you can't rule it out 100%, but it seems like a very unparsimonious explanation for the experience of dreaming and its similarities and differences with normal perception, although it is also true that if your evidence was not based on what what you see in the lab but based on what happens when you talk to people, the evidence would be overwhelming that something like a soul exists.
It does not exist, it is very difficult to find a social world that does not believe in gods and spirits. I do. I don't have a horse in this race, but I just want to point out that I was raised in a Unitarian Church where people believe in at most one God, so I'm very comfortable in environments where people either know or don't. I don't know what I really believe, but I want to point out that that is an absolutely idiosyncratic point of view and I think it's really important to pause on this for a second and that scientists can often be too quick to dismiss what people say about their experience um and it's absolutely important to take this data into account as phenomenology, you know, we need to understand what people's experiences are like and they're different and they can be different in very fundamental ways, but they would. you hope to necessarily capture God or the spirit in the lab, uh, if you can make it testable, I'll try, but I mean, it hides, so here's one of my riddles, that's why I'm torn between you and I mean because I think you can make a coherent argument that there is something insubstantial, something insubstantial, an insubstantial substance that escapes characterization with the tools of science and that is that there is something like an extended mind in your sense and I think it's possible. that you couldn't prove it, this may be, but it's mine, so the way I would look at it is that if we are going to appeal to something that cannot be explained within a scientific framework that should be a last resort and we should do everything possible to explain it in another way and that means taking people's reports of their experiences seriously, but not taking them literally and I think that is the value that science can have.
Can you validate people's experiences that they have souls and and of course this difference also differs culturally. You know that in Hinduism the soul, and you will know it much better than I, associates morewith the breath than with the rational mind and for me that is much more in line with the basic experience of being. a living creature, so there's a lot to learn from these descriptions of things that may not be verifiable in themselves, but you know, people used to firmly believe that the Earth was at the center of the solar system and, of course, that it's not evidence that the Earth is in fact the center of the solar system in fact it's not absolutely and and I know one of the things that happens to me when and I think it might be true for you when you hear what people say is um even if As a disengaged person, it's hard to take everyone literally right, so at some point you're judging that this is what you're seeing and this is what you're seeing.
It's not what you and because there are many different ideas about God, there are many different ideas about spirits, people use words to describe their own experience, words always fail, but it is, but then I find myself and I find myself focusing on The Human Side. What I can describe The commonalities I can describe I'm always struggling, struggling or aware that there's so much there that I can't capture or see or understand, and then you know you're left with the mystery, can I? Pick up something you said, you talk about Oblivion when anesthesia makes your brain go to sleep, but that is not the same as proof that the brain is therefore producing Consciousness because I have had the experience of a component of my radio . breaking and there is Oblivion inside my radio but the radio station and the transmission have not stopped that's right, I mean, you seem to be advancing the idea that the brain produces another Consciousness and as you said, I don't have a dog in this race um, it could be that it's more like a radio that tunes in and hasn't stopped just because one of the components has stopped, that would count as scientific insight or just hot air, no, well then.
You have to ask what it is, so first I think you're right that that's an alternative explanation for Oblivion's right inducing general anesthesia. I try to remain a bit agnostic. I think the language he uses. The brain produces Consciousness is loaded with all kinds of assumptions, it's almost dualistic in a sense, so you know the brain can produce it, it can be identical to it in some ways or it can imply it, so I think these are all types of important subtle distinctions so as not to fall into any of them without realizing what you are doing.
It's also possible that the brain is some kind of recipient of some Consciousness, but that again seems like a relatively unparsimonious explanation for why Consciousness stops, when, when. the brain stops because then you have to explain how it is receiving Consciousness, where, where else, what are the mechanisms that could lead to this phenomenon and you have to try to make it verifiable in some way so that it is not impossible, but then what role explanatory is playing this also again if I change? If I don't turn off the brain completely like in anesthesia, but just change a part, stimulate a part, damage a part, our conscious experience changes in very predictable ways now.
You could say it's a very complicated receiver in here, so if you damage it a little bit, you take away the ability to detect Radio 4, but you can still tune into Radio 5 live, but then it starts, you know, it starts to become a very strange kind of explanation where all of a sudden the receiver is as complicated as the whole radio transmission system itself and then you know what the point is of proposing something else, something fair enough to go back to? a much more practical level of normal vision, what you see, taking your idea of ​​controlled hallucinations that you say are projected MH, what I cannot understand is why the hallucination, being a hallucination, cannot pass through the skull, why The skull is an insulator. barrier that keeps the hallucination inside the head well, so this really just brings up something you said about fields and I think you're absolutely right to bring up the point of fields because fields are not local and they spread out and In fact, it is true that neural activity generates electromagnetic fields and this is the basis of many of our brain imaging methods.
And these electromagnetic fields extend beyond the skull, otherwise these imaging methods would not work, but they are extremely extremely weak and that is why imaging does not work at a very long distance, which is why electromagnetic fields exist, but There's no other kind of candidate field that we know of in physics that can do the kind of projection you're talking about and I don't think we need one either because I think it comes back to our conversation that the property of our experiences appearing to be out there in the world does not mean that they really are, but that it is so. a phenomenological observation that deserves to be taken seriously and philosophers since have already made it, you know, evolutionarily, it would be very strange if our perceptual systems had evolved so that we experienced things to be in our minds rather than in the world.
I know this and this happens sometimes in some types of visual hallucinations, so it's no mystery to me that mechanism within the brain can create a perceptual experience that seems like it's out there in the world and that seems like it's something. that can change in synesthesia, it's a condition where people have a mix of senses that they often don't perceive in the world, so it's something that can be manipulated in a way that again tracks different differences in the brain, but You know, one of the things that I think I'm hearing is that different types of methods, different ways of collecting data change the way that you relate, you relate to what you consider to be true because one of the things that I find is What What it is and I think this is true for you is that when I sit with people, if I don't allow myself to, if I'm not able to be in a point of view where I can recognize that it is possible for the universe to be. much bigger than you might expect, people talk differently, people don't and I actually hear what they say differently.
I need to be in a position of ontological neutrality so that I can clearly hear what the people I'm talking to are trying to say. me and then I'm like Dam dancing back and forth, okay, what do I think is true, what I think this person is saying, but somehow there has to be this openness and I think that's different from the kind of work that you do and that's an interesting thing, one of the things in your work is that, later in your book, you point out that the way people think about their own mind changes who they are and what they are and how that mind works. that includes this kind of reductionist materialist worldview and if you think that your mind is simply reducible to electrical currents, do you become a different kind of human being?
I've been wondering about that, one of the things that I find so moving when people tell me about responsive beings is that they, um, I see a richness in their experience, I see a vitality in their world and, um, there's a part in me who envies some of the intense commitments of my evangelical Christians in the world. Somehow you know that to be an evangelical Christian is to be committed to the idea that you are happy and sometimes I hear this and think why do these people tell me they are so happy but then they also seem pretty happy. and so there's a way in which trying to manage and I see people managing their own self awareness and um and I think there may be some truth in what you've said well I'd like to ask you Tanya when you're in your book How The Gods Become Real, you point out that for people who are religious in several different cultures, they have to do many things to have these experiences, rituals, chanting prayers, etc., does the opposite apply for those for whom God becomes real? becomes unreal because As you point out, it is a historical anomaly in modern Western post-Christian Europe and much of North America, where a large number of people are secular and, if not agnostic atheists, at least where God has become real, which is very unusual in the entire history of humanity.
Do you think that requires a conscious effort? I am referring, for example, to maintaining a materialistic belief. Generally for materialists, I know, it involves filtering all experiences from the feeling of being watched. It's just a coincidence. Telepathy. Oh, just remember, when you're right, you forget. when you're wrong, that's a coincidence too, it takes a lot of effort to deny the phenomena that happen to them in their lives and, um, avoid things that would make God more real, so I have a colleague, Justin Barrett, who makes exactly that argument , he says, look. In the course of world and global history, the diversity of societies that we know is such a small number of people who are truly atheists, there are many semi-believers in the course of history.
I think people always mark supernatural spiritual things. are of a different type emotionally than tables and chairs, but I think it's relatively unusual to have people who have particularly materialistic beliefs, so I think you can argue that what I also see is that people who developed a relationship very intimate relationship with an invisible being, particularly when that invisible being is very, very powerful and they decide that they no longer believe in that being, which can be devastating, it can be very difficult, especially if someone is the type of Christian who grew up in a church in which that church, well, they grew up in a type of church in which they feel that their God has a particular view on their sexuality or on their political beliefs and they decide that those are wrong beliefs that they do not agree with their God , they can feel for a while like they're being suffocated inside, it's so hard to deal with that, um, people talk about needing to deconstruct their life and rebuild their sense of who they are, it's almost, I mean, the most.
Things in technology have a dual-use right, so it's almost as if religion is a dual-use social technology. It can provide people with a lot of comfort, charm and enrichment, but of course it can go the other way, that's why you have to be in effect. I am very impressed when people choose a God that works for them, how wonderful He can be for them. I also see that there are people who may have bad luck as it creeps into their concept of God and types. of the rules God expects them to follow is: is there any difference between the capital T truth that science in the West tends to feel it possesses? um, possesses the path to the truth MH and the things that are important, what I'm thinking.
If you took the view that you should only believe those things that are true and that's what you would then have to say, well, don't read Shakespeare because none of that is true, but would it be important to read things that aren't true? It's not true, but it matters, and in other words, are we impoverishing ourselves by saying that we should focus on things that we can demonstrate to be objectively true? Oh, sure, yes, yes. I mean, I think I think I mean there's been a long discussion in philosophy about whether the duty to know can be derived from whether knowing what is the case can motivate moral principles and this just goes on and on about whether it's demonstrable or not. , but I think in practice, you already know science and a scientific view of the world that, by the way, is not purely reductionist.
I think, as a slight side note, it's important to distinguish SC from SCI's general official commitment that things are explainable and that thing causes. Basically you're not imputing weird things that suddenly appear at different levels, ultimately it's all quarks and vacuum or whatever our fundamental level and broader methodological perspective is, which is fine if I want to explain human psychology. . I won't do it in terms of individual quarks. I'll do it on some of the psychological constructs and maybe on adjacent levels, neurons on one side, other people on the other, and emergence in this sense. I think it's real and true, we can talk about different levels, that's fine, so reductionism often becomes a bit bad, I think unnecessarily, but yes, I think what we discover about the nature of the world in terms of well-justified beliefs.
Evidence terms may inform what is important and what is not important, but they do not exhaustively describe that area and your shakesp example makes the point very clear, of course. Reading literature, even if it is not objectively true, is, of course, important and useful because This is evident because it can shape our understanding of how people act and behave and lead us to a better world in that way, so there may be things that are important to us and that are not true, but that is not the point. We shouldn't digress by saying that McBeth really was the way Shakesp wrote it and therefore some things, like I said, were important, not necessarily true, but is that enough for you?
Because I suspect that someoneHe says, well, look, yes, what you want. We're talking about things that are important but and then in parentheses, but they're probably not true, but let's not talk about that. I think you believe they are true in this more objective sense as well. It's like that, well, I think the extended mind. I think things like the feeling of being watched are true. I think they happen more important, but they are true. Not just important, but true. Okay, and I think other forms of extended mind that are taboo from the point of view of materialism, like telepathy.
What most people have experienced, about 85% of people have had the experience of thinking about someone who then rings on the phone and says funny, I was just thinking about you or I know who it is when they call. I have searched a lot. In this it is not just a coincidence, it is not just forgetting when you are wrong. You can do controlled experiments. You have four callers. You choose the caller at random. The experiment chooses the caller at random. They call the subject who is being filmed and have to guess first. they pick up the phone, who is calling and are they right, much more than the possibility that it has been replicated, etc.
I think that's true. I think the evidence is pretty strong that our minds stretch through attention, which literally means stretching to add tenderness and intention to the world and affect others at a distance, that's one of the reasons I think we don't. It's just a construct or way of thinking of how things happen inside the head, it's not limited to just the brain. I think it's also the case with consciousnesses that I don't know if this is true or not, but the idea that consciousness is confined to the brain is also an assumption. I call it brain.
Centric view of consciousness, it only exists in the entire universe. It is unconscious according to the normal materialistic view. The galaxies. The stars. planets all things are unconscious except the human

brains

on this planet where they emerged and possibly also the

brains

of animals, eh, that Consciousness is somehow confined to this very small part of the universe, we are lucky to be part where it is the alternative vision. It is a panpsychist view that there are levels of consciousness even in atoms and molecules, and I would say not only in atoms, molecules, animals and plants, but also in the sun, in the galaxy, in the entire world. galactic system and perhaps in the entire Cosmos. not limited to the brain at all and our entire discussion so far has really revolved around the idea, well, not all of the discussion, but a lot of it has to do with the brain, well, I was trusting you to come up with a good panorama, so I think. you know there's a serious debate within philosophy and science right now about panpsychism, some of it is motivated by the hard problem because some conservative materialists who are radically conservative, let's say, think well, you can't solve the hard problem. through a lot of research into the brain as Annel believes, uh, but just saying, well, a little bit of Consciousness in an electron, a little bit more in an atom, a little bit more in a molecule, and when you get to the brain, it's a difference. of degree, not kind, and once they reach the human brain, they stop because they have solved the difficult problem by attributing small fragments of consciousness to atoms.
I myself think that if you're going to argue that way, why stop at the brain, which is why I wrote a paper called "Sun Consciousness," published in the Journal of Consciousness, studies that explore the idea that the The Sun may be conscious and the interface between its activity and your consciousness, perhaps its electromagnetic field, and the Sun may in fact have actions that it controls. consciously the entire galaxy could be conscious and the different solar systems within it can be like cells in the galaxy body of a larger galaxy. Consciousness There can be many levels of consciousness in the universe and therefore it is not just about the brain and now I don't know if that's true or not, but it seems very plausible to me and also fits with many traditional views of nature.
Um, so I take the idea of ​​panpsychism seriously without necessarily believing it to be true, whereas I do believe that telepathy in the sense of being looked at is probably true. You wanted to, so what strikes me is that I'm not sure I wouldn't do it. I don't know where I sit on the belief that the sun is conscious, but I do believe that it is an ethically more effective way of being in the world to treat the entire world as if it were alive, and therefore one of my arguments that are emerging. What is outside my realm is that if we did, if humans accepted a more animistic, panpsychic view of the world as if it were alive, we wouldn't have gotten into the mess of climate change in the first place, we would have had more respect. for Earth, yeah, this is kind of interesting, whether going back to your point about this, if you know this thing between truth and importance, and it's a little complicated if there are some things that we know are not true, but are.
Still, it's still helpful if we still believe them because we could do things a little differently, but I wanted to DW because I think this is really critical and I mean, I know we're not going to solve this here. but no, but this, well, maybe we won't do it, but there will be a refund later, but when it comes to things like telepathy and the feeling of being watched, on the one hand, I think it's absolutely correct. To say that people have these experiences, I think it is also absolutely correct to say that there are probably good evolutionary reasons why people have these experiences because, certainly, it is important for creatures like us to be sensitive to looking in the direction of what the people are watching and In some of your examples about private detectives, it's also pretty clear and I think it's very plausible to me that you don't really want to look at someone's back, not because not necessarily because looking at the back will. turn around, but in case they turn around, you don't want to look at them when they do it because then they'll catch you, so I think it's very easy to understand these strategies without appealing to the reality of this thing that you know as something.
That is empirically the case, so I totally agree with you on these points: it is a phenomenon worth understanding and very deeply rooted biologically and very common in everyday life, but the key question for me here is whether it really exists or is. It's something that you know we can explain by its presence as an experience, but it's not a real force and you've claimed that there is astronomically significant statistical evidence for this, yes, and I'm still not convinced of that and I know we don't want to. I'll necessarily spend the next few hours detailing even this, but it's the kind of thing I'm talking about in psychology, as I think a lot of people might know that there's been something of a replication crisis anyway, a lot of things you want to explain with that so you know that there is um.
Well, there are many results in the psychological literature that when people have tried to repeat experiments, the results are no longer there. In fact, there is a fairly reliable effect that the more the opposite of morphic resonance, in reality, the more often. When you try to replicate something, the less replicable it becomes over time and this has been very well documented and there are several reasons why this could be the case because people notice more problems the more often you try to do something. in general they do not hold firm, which should give us pause and greater motivation to be skeptical about the results in general and I include among them those from my own laboratory that I would now like to go back and replicate again because there are all kinds of influences like and I know you, you wrote about these things like experimental bias, the level of randomness when you try to randomize things, etc., and so on, and the standard goal now is to really establish well in advance what your predictions are, do things in completely independent laboratories and solve all the problems in one go, so, in my opinion, having one extremely convincing experiment is much more convincing than having many experiments that all point in the same direction, but, Each of which it's individually flawed and I'm totally open to that kind of evidence because if this is true and not just, um, if it's more than just a well-understood experience and a well-motivated experience that people have for all kinds of other reasons. so this changes a lot, so I would say let's move forward, but we have to do it in a way that is immune to the kind of replication crisis that we have seen in the rest of the behavioral sciences. completely agree, I mean it is a scientific question whether these things happen or not and it is also true that the replication crisis affects not only psychology but also biometric medicine and many other branches of science.
This happened around 2015 when it was discovered that around 90 percent of articles in prestigious biomedical journals could not be smoothly replicated. I mean, well, on the contrary, parapsychologists have been accused by skeptics for years and years and years of having non-replicable results, they only publish positive results and not negative ones, and so on and the result is that if you do a survey on blind methodologies in parapsychology, about 85% of published experiments involve blind methodologies to protect against bias compared to about 30% in Psychology, 25% in medicine, less than 1% in psychology. They are called hard sciences, which are unprotected sciences.
Now on to that, parapsychologists for years have published negative and positive results and it is actually Gant who felt that the telepathy experiments have nothing to do with me, it is a large number of people in many laboratories around the world. I have done this work and it has been replicated in at least 38 different labs and experiments and the meta-analyses show powerful effects, so I think we agree that it is a scientific question, we disagree on the value of the results so far, but I personally and we also agree that if it is true, they are very important because they actually mean that the mind is more extensive than the brain if my thoughts can influence someone on the other side of the world, but I also think that we do not agree.
I agree slightly on the need for that guy. of explanation because, you know, I tend to think that the most valuable compelling explanations are the ones that we already have the resources to find in terms of the things that happen inside the brain. Not that there is anything we really need. a new way of explaining to account for understanding people's phenomenology, which is, according to Tan, people have this interesting phenomenology and I think it's easy to explain with the resources we already have, but I get completely old, I don't . I think I don't think it has to do with phenomenology, saying that these telephone tests you can do tests with people in Australia, you have four people in Britain, they ask you to choose one of the four as the experimental corner at random, they call the person in Australia. before they guess before they pick up the phone they have to guess who it is: a 25% chance in four of getting it right just by guessing, with success rates ranging between 45 and 50% across hundreds of trials.
Very significant, it is not just phenomenology. in the brain, um, there's some way they actually know who's calling in a way that any amount of brain scanning will never reveal. In fact, I think this is not necessarily a scientific question. I see you are having a scientific question. disagreement and I can see that this scientific disagreement could continue into the night, but I think the deep question here is actually an ethical and existential question, the question of how do you imagine, I mean, I think they're both right in their own way. I think there is something deep and existential about the way you choose to understand the nature of Consciousness for yourself because we know that the way you understand it changes your own experience and changes who you become, and that is a powerful power. important question I don't mean that in a certain sense that's why I don't think it matters if God exists I think it matters how you understand yourself in relation to what you see as the highest good good, I don't take it as relativistic a position as yours. um, you know, I think if something like telephone telepathy exists and most people think it exists because they've experienced it and most people think they feel like they're watching it it exists because they've experienced it.
Not because they have studied statistical evidence in scientific journals, but Neil is right. I mean you can make sense of those phenomenological experiences by looking at the human dimension of how people come to have these events. Well, no, I don't know. I think that if people have these experiences it may be because they are really happening, not just because they prefer a view of the world in which these things can. I mean, yes, people have the experiences they say they have. You know, the other example you gave is The Case of the Phantom Limb, which again I thinkwhich is very interesting that people have this experience of a limb still being there or still hurting after an amputation and, again, it's a really important experience for the people in question because it's usually very aversive, yes, and it would be great to try to understand what's going on there to try to improve it and there's a very natural materialist explanation for why people have phantom limbs, that the body encodes a model of the brain, sorry, it encodes a model of the body and amputating a limb just doesn't work. it updates that model enough that the sensory information that the brain does or doesn't receive doesn't match the model and the pain results in kind of a very broad brush and then you can find ways to fix it.
This is achieved by giving people VR limbs the right kind of feedback and you find out that okay, now there is a way to treat this and reduce phantom pain. Just because you feel the pain in the limb doesn't mean that's where the pain really is. where the brain attributes pain to pain and takes that view regardless of whether it's true or not, although I think it's closer to being the true picture, it's also the most useful view when you're trying to treat it. I don't deny that it's useful to have these mirrors and treat pain that way, but to me it's a really interesting scientific question, a scientific question about whether the phantom limb is really where it appears to be or not and whether it's just projected by the brain. or whether there is a limb field there or what evidence is that there is a limb field there.
Well, some experiments I've done myself I wouldn't say this is conclusive because it's just preliminary, but I'll do it. I tell you the experiment because it is to illustrate it, you cannot understand it, what we have is a barrier like a door. MH I recruit amputees who are missing arms, which I did through the British Limas Ex-Servicemen's Association, so I have an amputee on one side of the door. I have six panels one two 3 four five six on the door. My assistant rolls a die to get a random number between one and six and we ask the void to pass its hand through panel two, for example, to the other side of the door.
I have people who claim to do subtle energy healing raiki or other SE things, so they are in this room. I don't know which one is blind. I don't know which one has the ghost loom. Ghost looms are ghosts that pass through solid objects. I experience them as passing through solid objects, so I tell these people look here are six areas, one of them has a phantom limb going through it and the others don't, which one has the phantom limb and they feel in these different places and they say and Yes If they were just guessing, it would be one and six and the hit rate is much higher than that.
Now you could say, well, this isn't just an assumption because otherwise they would be at the trans level. You could say that they are subtle signals that they feel. heat from the other side or little noises and stuff, but um, and it needs rep replication, etc., it's a cheap experiment that costs or you lose nothing, it's really hard to persuade people to do it because, although it's cheap and simple, it's for amputees, it's not. hard to persuade them it's hard to persuade scientists to do it because it goes against the standard materialist view. Can I move?
All I'm saying is that it's a testable possibility, it's not just about brain mechanisms and it should be taken as such. It's a matter of theory, you can try it. I just wanted to continue with this if you don't mind because a lot of the discussion often revolves around what the evidence is that we should believe statements like Ruperts's, let's go the other way for a moment. and my question would be do we have any theory that tells us how you can take the same atoms that are in my shoes, you know, a little bit of sulfur, a little bit of phosphorus, some iron, some carbon and mix them in such a way.
Why do they rise in a particular way? Oh, hello, there you are. Do we have any theory that closes that gap? The reason I ask is because I was able to sense with my psychic abilities that when we were talking about panpsychism. a large proportion of people out there went that can't be true MH but the other alternative is the one I gave you there is raw matter, but somehow, for some magical matter, there is a certain way to connect and it comes out hello, well, we hope that at the end end is not magical and is not magical.
I use the term to provoke, that's the beautiful thing. I think in the scientific method that but do we have anything after we have things that are progressing? I think I tried to be very modest and clear about this in the talk, and many of my colleagues might differ in terms of this, so some think. we have we have the explanation most people I think would be more modest that we are working that there is progress towards that that demystifies it to a certain extent there is a Theory that is very briefly alluded to the Integrated Information Theory of Julio Ton Quiero getting too much into it now, but he claims to have solved the heart problem head-on and it's a very strange counterintuitive theory that that actually involves a kind of panscism, which is good, that's what I mean.
I have read that theory, yes, and it assumes something, but it has not been proven, no, no, but it makes very testable counterintuitive predictions, um, that are being tested and that, if they appear, they do not prove the theory, but it increases the credibility that we should have in the sense that in that theory there are so many theories that cannot be proven or disproved with a single experiment, which is quite rare. You know what you do, you gradually increase or decrease your credibility in different theories depending on the relative weight of the evidence for that theory and how that distinguishes it from others now when it comes to Consciousness.
I don't believe it personally. I don't think there's a theory yet that completely bridges that gap that gives us this intuitive sense of aha. Of course, now I understand how this electrified leg on my skull also generates or is identical to the redness of red, but I think the interesting thing is that there are many theories that explain aspects of that and change our view of the problem at the same time. from being one big scary mystery to being a bunch of related Mysteries that lead us to think about some central concept differently, such as the concept of free will that people have often asked: Free will? whether or not it exists depends depends on whether you're still holding on to a view of free will as some kind of causeless cause that swoops in and makes things happen that otherwise wouldn't happen now that's a view of Free will is very, very difficult to defend, it is very difficult to know what it would mean if that were the case.
There's a recent book by Robert Sapolsky that says well, that doesn't exist, therefore a lot of moral and ethical things follow. I think that's missing the point a bit. We have free will experiences and this comes back to you. I think a central theme emerging from this discussion is taking people's experiences seriously, but not necessarily taking them literally. How else can we? understanding the experience of doing something voluntarily and having the intention to do something is much more complex, interesting and ethically important in this case, in things like the law, when people are held responsible for their actions and when they are not, than trying to do it.
Resolve the brute question: does free will exist or not? I believe that is the promise and potential of you. You know, I feel like I'm being CER like the Establishment Defender point of view here, but there are many branches of this materialist point of view, but they are You know, they also change our view of the problem and eventually, I think it's very possible that we will get there. to an established theoretical view on Consciousness that we feel comfortable with, but I think that might take a while and I think that's part of the reason. it might take a while is because we ourselves are conscious and you mentioned Tanya, that our beliefs about consciousness impact our everyday lives and what it would feel like to fully believe and understand what it is to be me, yeah, how that comes out of a biochemistry. soup inside my head what would that be?
No I dont think so. I don't believe it. I think this is another big mistake. People often caricature science as understanding things as if they had this basis in physics and chemistry. Whatever can be somehow naked. these phenomena of their meaning, power and beauty, and I think this is almost never the case, you know, the universe became much grander when we discovered that we were not at the center, our picture of life became much more beautiful and enriched when we discover that we are related to all other creatures and I am optimistic that a scientific vision of that which bases Consciousness in physics in chemistry does not strip it of its beauty and its meaning, but rather enriches it and we will see ourselves more as part. of Nature and less apart from it and on that I think you know that we probably all agree, no, it is not like that, it does not say that Consciousness is everywhere, it only says that there is nothing special that distinguishes us from the rest of the universe and the rest.
The history of the scientific worldview can be seen as a sequence of recognition that we are continuous with nature and not somehow separate above it, but that sounds like pant pism, that's the description of panm that grou gra that me It loves it, but it's not. panm I mean, panm is literally the claim that Consciousness is fundamental and ubiquitous now, seeing ourselves as continuous with nature does not mean that it is in the same way that life is a property of the world, no, it is not the Life is a property of the world. of physics and chemistry doesn't mean that everything is alive, so I think that's an important distinction.
Don't know. I still think it sounds like details. I love the image, but I believe that and I don't object. You know, I think our ideas about who we are will continually change over the next few years that we have left, but you know, getting to the puzzle that Spolski is trying to solve is easy to overcome. that fight against the sense of moral importance of who we are as choosers, actors and movers in the universe, so you know, no, sorry, no, I'm not sure what I'm following right. I mean, I thought you were saying that the idea that free will couldn't exist got us into trouble when we tried to think about breaking the law, that we needed to think differently, there were different levels of understanding, I mean, that's its own metaphor. , but I'm not against the idea of ​​a reductionist explanation, but it sounded like the description you gave was to extend vitality to the world and create some kind of sense of ethics. responsibility to the world well, I think we should cultivate that anyway, I think there are very good reasons to do so without having to believe that everything is alive or that everything is conscious, you just recognize that it depends directly or indirectly on how our planet works and of how our world works.
I think it's reasonable, but on the topic of free will. I suppose so, it is having a more branched vision in which we move away from the opposition of free will. in some pre-existing canonical sense that a causeless cause exists or doesn't exist, moving away from that opposition to understanding that you know we are complex biological systems, some of the things we do are relatively automatic if someone kicks my leg. I will have a reflection, some of them are relatively internally generated. You know, I like to drink tea instead of coffee. Why because I'm English? Did I choose to be English?
No. But anyway, it feels voluntary and therefore there is a whole spectrum of more or less voluntary things that are experienced as more or less voluntary and of course that is individually different in different cultures and in different cases. of mental and psychiatric illnesses, so the picture we get is, I think, more interesting, richer and its implications also become more complex when Should we hold people responsible for their actions? I think it all tilts the dials towards, you know, rehabilitation rather than retribution, but there are already cases of people who have successfully defended, been defended on the basis of a brain tumor.
I say because, well, they wouldn't have committed the crime without the brain tumor, but as we understand more about the brain, they're basically brain tumors all the way around, which is very depressing and not the most beautiful picture I was going to paint. . but it simply turns it into something more than a philosophical discussion, it becomes something that has moral, empirical and legal grip. Yeah, I wanted to ask about that level because we might get stuck at the level of well, does it really exist or? Isn't that right, but in your work and to some extent in yours as well, it's true that human beings can do things and then once we've done them, they exist in the world?
I mean, we're used to the idea of ​​what we can do. a brother and then he exists, if we make a God, that God exists in a way that is important and defensible in the same way that I made the brother and now that exists or that I write and it exists, that is a deep question I do not have an answer to That question I know I know this is not ontologically you can give well I can say that God changes people yes so there is somethingfundamentally or just on the surface oh I think fundamentally it's okay so it's not like fashion, I mean, it's something that changes, not when people, I mean, at least that's what I see as an anthropologist, as an observer, when I see people using these practices, I can say something about the practices they practice to help them experience. an external being so real to them that is not the same as believing, but experiencing an external being that is invisible that they call Spirit that I call and they really experience it well, I mean, I myself am still deciding on this ontologically neutral point That.
I'm going to have to explain what you mean by that, well, that means that means I don't know, so another way to develop the kind of argument that rert is running is to say that somehow there is energy, there is a mind big. and we filter parts of that mind that that mind is somehow alive in the world and we filter parts of that mind into our own consciousness, so that is an alternative to seeing the view that there is a particular God or a set of gods that are out there, I don't know what I think about that, but I know that once you experience, if you have this sense of a being or a presence or an energy that demands of you and that you are responsible for, you change . your behavior and you relate to that being in a way that I don't know and then you do things that you wouldn't have done before and then you do it means that there is a real physical effect that biologists, psychologists and physicists could measure in some way. you have created some effect in material reality, we do that with money.
I, money also exists, no, but it only exists because of the beliefs we have about it. It is not like this? It depends on what you mean by exist. It is an idea that can have real causal effects in the world, so if what it takes to exist is to have a real causal effect in the world, then yes, but if ideas exist, then they have real causal effects in the world that exist. , so this is a William James perspective. if because of the changes I am pushing it towards that, yes, if ideas exist, where they exist, then they exist depends on what the type of idea is again, an idea like money has to exist in the minds of several people if suddenly I decide that, you know, my 10 bill is worth six grand, doesn't mean it's worth six grand, at least one other person has to believe that for it to work, so that kind of belief has to be a collective belief for it to work. . have the kind of causal power we attribute to it, but maybe other beliefs don't, maybe an individual belief in God can change you independently of what other people believe, of course, in practice it tends to be much more collective for you.
I attribute power because other people do too. What strikes me is that people seem to follow God's advice more than their own advice. If you make this being external, you may feel obligated to it in the way you do. Why is it that I want to say that this brings us to a question from one of our a question that we get from someone who is observing that raises Julian James' idea that in the past people took ideas that They said this is not my idea, it's God's and they acted on it, so it had a reality for them, is that the kind of things you want to say, that, that, we can, we are imagining something, but then he has real agency because we. in some way give him agency, he certainly has agency with respect to us and that's why I think he does it.
I think about this more and more. I think that the way we commit is really very important to organize our own lives. I too think there is a scientific point about Julian Jan, so Julian Jane said that the way you thought about your mind differently you would experience something, so he said they didn't have that the archaic Greeks didn't have an elaborate sense of an inner world. um. and then they experience their powerful thoughts when God speaks to them, that's what I see in my work. I see that if you imagine the mind as not limited, they actually have more hallucination type experiences.
I didn't expect to prove that Julian James was right, but that was great, well, there are a lot of teenagers who were deployed because they all read Julian James when they were 18 and left. This is sea, there is a lot of Julian James that a little says something so wonderful, it says something a little more dramatic than that, it doesn't say that Consciousness itself arose in the middle of the Ilad, I know, but it's still very cool to see that there's some element in that where the way What you think about Mind actually changes the texture, shape and quality of your mind, but Julian James's point is that it entered Consciousness and he puts it at that point in history, but presumably you would also have to point to a moment of the story in which you enter Consciousness, like wandering through the zoo.
You know you have to get to the point where you say everything the right says. You can't torture because they are conscious. everything on the left you can take the legs off, it's no different than taking the steering wheel off your car, so you also have to say that consciousness arises at a certain point, what would be wrong if J Julian Jones said it happened at a certain moment? In a sense, you're right that there is a point, so this is where it comes back to something that Rupert said before that in the view that Consciousness is a property or an implication of the brain somewhere, yes, there were times when the history of the universe and the history of our planet where everything was in subjective darkness nothing happened Julian James I think this is a book from the 80s and 70s called The Origin of Consciousness and the Collapse of the Mind B I bought it , it's crazy. but it's really interesting and I think he's actually talking about self-awareness rather than perceptual awareness of the world, but I'm not sure that's a good expression when it comes to any kind of experience, whether it's an elaborate sense of self or something. more, yes, you know at some point, at least if you commit to the idea that consciousness is a biological property closely related to the brain, then yes, and this is a really challenging question and it's very difficult to know where to draw the line. line and Does it really make sense to draw a line?
Some things can turn gray. When you begin? When does a pile of sand become a pile instead of just a few grains? There are things that do not have a defined limit. When? Night turns into day, it is not only when the sun sets, when it is the last photon in the sky, it is something so that perhaps you do not need to appeal to a sharp distinction, but even so we will have an intuition that will make us make distinctions such as , well, you know, monkeys. OB L, you're right, bacteria on that side, um and I think as we get a little further out, we have to walk the line between anthropocentrism thinking of ourselves as special and Consciousness being something that attaches to types of things. more humanly distinctive things like language and rational thought cannot attempt to do so.
In a sense this is inevitable because we know that we are conscious, so it is a starting point, but as we begin to discover why and how it is that way, we can begin. We have to generalize more and more, but there is no consensus on where that line should be and it is changing. You know, a law was recently changed, not so recently, about 10 years ago in the EU, that meant that pods would now be expelled like octopuses. be treated differently because of the weight of evidence that they may experience things and not just actively respond to things.
I think a really important ethical question today is how we treat fish. We don't generally treat them like they are We are aware in the fishing industry maybe we should re-evaluate that position personally, that's the gray area where I just don't know, I don't know what to say about a salmon, does it have to do with the number of neurons of the size ? of brains, I mean, it's easy to resort to something easy, but I think it's unreliable to resort to one of the surprising facts about how consciousness relates to the human brain is that 34 of the neurons we have It doesn't seem to matter at all, we have about 86 billion neurons in our brain approximately and 3/4 of them are in the cerebellum, which is this mini brain in the back of the head that is very, very important for how we move through the world. sequence our language all this kind of stuff, but damage to the cerebellum or there are some people who are born without a cerebellum or who have the cerebellum completely destroyed through brain tumors, etc., perfectly conscious, so it is not a question of number of neurons, having many neurons. could help us have many different types of conscious experiences and at some point it probably matters to some extent one euro is probably not enough but how many is enough no one knows oh another question from someone who was listening was about Hydro and any MH so there is a famous C who are people who continue to produce fluid in their head and squeeze out the amount of gray matter they may have and there were many people who suffered severe brain damage, but there is a very famous case.
I think the guy is still alive and was getting a PhD. I think it was at UCL and they were studying hydril and for a laugh they said let's look at you and his PhD advisor was completely amazed because he only had 15% of the brain matter of a person with a normal brain and he was getting his PhD and he was a very nice guy MH and he didn't have any of the brain structures that people say that they then put people's heads in machines, well look, that part lights up, so it has to do with that.
He didn't have any of them. , but I did all these things, how does that rock your world or not? It's incredibly interesting and it's, um, but that's weird. You meet most people with that alone. Take a case, it doesn't matter. that it is rare that you have someone without a brain and is normal, so the brain has nothing to do with being normal, no, but it does matter because it tells you in most cases that this type of alteration in brain development has consequences , but the fact that it's not always like that, I don't know about this particular case study, it's fascinating the difficulty of interpreting that in the way of saying oh, he doesn't have the I don't know, uh, the parietal lobe So, for So the parietal lobe is not involved in Consciousness, that doesn't follow because it is a matter of development and one thing we know about the brain is that it is incredibly malleable, so it can do it during development, it can deal with a lot of things. . disruption and reconnecting in ways that are very different and still retain functionality.
I was very surprised. I went to see a single neurosurgical operation. It's a strange thing where neurosurgeons and neuroscientists almost never meet. But I was. friends of a I am a friend of a neurosurgeon who performed a very, very extensive operation on a six year old boy who suffered brain damage at birth and had treatable epilepsy epileptic seizures many times a day the S used up all his medications the last time he was performed the operation to remove the entire right hemisphere of the brain to leave it in the brain but disconnecting it from all this took eight hours and the surprising thing is that, you know, it was fine and very quickly the damage to the right hemisphere had been accommodated by the development of the left hemisphere very, very easily and if you do it early enough M it's totally fine if you did that to me it wouldn't be quite right don't try it well it reverses the kind of things we are that that annel Speaking of which, do you find them important or Do you have that feeling that we are still trapped in a worldview that ignores what you are trying to achieve?
Basically, I think brains are overrated and, um, I think, um, hydro. cases to show us that the normal brain structure in some of them is only 5% of the normal amount. Consciousness is obviously related to the brain in all sorts of ways, but not in the way that is generally assumed, and so my own view is that Consciousness is because I have a sort of panpsychist view, or more technically speaking. , my view is what is sometimes called panentheism, the idea that God is in nature and nature is in God, that pansus Pew is that there is a kind of Consciousness in the entire universe. and in all the self-organizing systems it contains it excludes CH, tables, chairs, socks and computers because they are not self-organizing, they are manufactured in factories and in reality they are things that have a whole that is more than the sum of the parts that This is true for self-organizing systems, so I think they all have some level of mind and mind is a lot of mind is unconscious.
I mean, the function of the cerebellum can be habitual and unconscious for the most part and as Freud and others showed a lot of our mental activity is unconscious, in fact as soon as something becomes habitual it becomes almost unconscious. Consciousness is responsible for making decisions between possible actions. I think that's its primary role and therefore it has to do with the realm of possibility and choice, and I think choice. it is real. I won't go back to the free will argument, but habit is terribly important.and I believe that most of nature is habitual and that at all levels of organization, atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, organs, plants, animals, planets, solar systems, galaxies, etc. there is a totality that is more than the Its of the parts that organizes them has a certain degree of choice um organization of power totality um integration as in IIT in information theory emphasizes the totality of all these different levels of organization that integrate, so which I think When it comes to our own Consciousness, it is part of this bigger picture as I see it and now I would certainly think well.
I must make a great effort to arrive at this worldview. um, I mean, actually. I've written two entire books on spiritual practices and how they can change the way we experience things, but I think from a scientific point of view it's a perfectly valid way of looking at things and a more useful way, but I think it's also um. , a way one can actually experience it, you see, because I'm not as agnostic as you about God becoming real. I mean, I believe in God and I believe in God because I experience a divine presence and purpose in my life and so on. for me it's a matter of experience, so you could call it mystical experience or sometimes it's spontaneous, sometimes it's the result of spiritual practices, um and certainly there are brain mechanisms involved etc., but for me it's not just a way of looking.
Seeing things is real because I experience them as real and you could easily argue that others would experience different things as real, but I think for people who have had a mystical experience of God of some kind of supreme unity or divine presence, it is a The thing is, it feels very, very real, it feels more real than anything else. People who have near-death experiences that sometimes only last a few minutes have their lives changed by this, which seems to them like a direct vision of the Ultimate Reality. and then I come when I myself have these experiences like I don't pretend to be anything special, a lot of people do, um, so the question is whether this is just self-deception, it's just persuading myself of something that I would like to believe is true. .
Should I adopt the objective scientific point of view? So what I'm coming to see is that the so-called objective scientific view is really just a theory, um and to the extent that you would deny these experiences or say that they're nothing more than the brain, that's just a theory. also and for me experience is more important than theory and partly because, if we believe in empiricism, which I do, experience is empirical, that's what empirical exper means, it means experience, so I think, at the same time In the end, experience is actually for most of us something that is probably the ultimate arbiter, um, and if someone comes and says, oh, it doesn't fit 19th century physics or 21st century physics or something like that, It does not necessarily mean that it is false, it may mean that these scientific views are temporary views. which changes and I think our current scientific world view is in the process of evolving, in part by taking on the very challenge of trying to understand Consciousness and I think we will have a very different scientific world view, not only about Consciousness but also about life, because although Annel, you would say, well, life is resolving itself and this is a model of how to resolve Consciousness, but you know that you used to believe in vitalism, now we know that it is so so that we have been wrong and we don't I believe that the problem of life is solved and I believe that we also need to have a completely new way of thinking about life, so my own opinion is that the scientific worldview is in the process of growing and expanding as it always has. has done and when he does he will do it. they give us a very different basis for thinking about Consciousness and for interpreting the kinds of experiences that those people have that are studied properly because I mean we wouldn't know anything about them unless someone studies them.
The fact that there is enormous diversity is really important, but there are also certain common factors. I imagine I would if you wanted to say something. I was going to move forward to give Anil a chance to flourish his heretical credentials because I feel like we've had to. You defend things and one of the places where you are quite heretical is when you say very clearly that you do not believe that the brain is computational, Consciousness is not computational and therefore the hundreds of billions of dollars of investment that they claim to be creating an artificial consciousness.
They are condemned, why do you think it is right? And, in fact, this is it. I think listening to you, this is an area where, for different reasons, we might end up. To some extent we agree among ourselves that I think life is important. I think there's something distinctive and special about self-organizing systems and I think that may be one of the keys to understanding the biological basis of ious, so I think this is largely in line with what you're saying. By the way, I don't think we've completely figured out life either. What I mean is that there is no longer a sense of conceptual mystery that life is explainable in terms of physics and chemistry um well, I think there is, so we don't agree on that, we don't agree on that, okay, can I?
Is everyone happy with the idea of ​​self-organizing or do you want it explained to you, so no, you're happy? with that's fine, I just wanted to check, I think so, things that self-organize organize themselves to define it, other systems organize themselves, um, so this prevails, so this is where yeah, where probably I'm a bit of a heretic in my community. that there is a prevailing view that has certainly been there since I started, that the brain is a kind of computer, that the mind is a kind of mental warfare run on the wet wear and tear of our brains, and that Consciousness is a form of information processing and These terms are used almost without thinking about them, as if it were obvious that what the brain does is process information and that Consciousness is a property of getting it right and that assumption, I mean, is what authorizes all kinds of claims that AI could at some point become not just intelligent but conscious, and these are assumptions that again have real practical and ethical consequences now that people are afraid of AI for all sorts of reasons, some of which are justified and some probably aren't justified if I think your next language model is suddenly going to experience things and then you're probably not right and you're not going to see the real risks clearly, so there's this prevailing view.
I think it's still a bit of a hangover from this old idea of ​​the brain as a computer that people say they don't believe in anymore, but if you look at the language that's used, a trace of that is revealed and it can certainly be described. the brain that way, but it's not like that. It doesn't mean that's what the brain really is. Other ways of thinking are possible, so yes, I think there are many reasons to reject that assumption. First, just recognize that this is a big assumption and there is no clear cut point in the brain. divide between what we could call wet wear and mental wear on a computer, by definition that's what computers do, you can run different programs on them and the brain doesn't, if where are the neurons, no, each neuron is very complex one neuron activates the entire structure of the brain changes there are chemicals circulating where the line is drawn again it is not clear and on the other hand the more one pulls the thread of this idea of ​​the brain as a prediction machine and asks well why does that what is it for what does it predict why do you realize at least I'm attracted to the sight and I didn't expect to get there you were attracted to the idea I'm attracted to the idea that the mechanisms These predictive mechanisms that underlie our experiences of the world and of ourselves They themselves have their evolutionary and developmental roots and in the day-to-day life of living in this biological imperative to stay alive.
Prediction allows control. Allows regulation. When you can predict, you can. you can keep things within limits and that's fundamentally what the brain is for, it's to keep the body itself alive, that means keeping things within limits, that goes, goes, that leads directly to our biochemistry. , directly to the individual sales level, so you can start to see that this is where the self-organization thing comes in, that systems that create their own components don't just work with components like things made in factories, that are self-produced, it becomes this kind of porous boundary between what I could call the Dynamics or information processing and the energy metabolism of the same system.
For me, this grounds what brains do and what the nature of Consciousness is in something that is deeply biological, the embodied brain, not just the V-shaped brain, but the brain, the brain, an inner body, and the phenomenal. last point here is the phenomenology of Consciousness seems to talk about this also again it is not evidence this is not evidence shot down that is the case but if you look deeply at how people with many hours of meditation analyze what the experience of oneself really is in their essence, you know, it's not a thought, it's not um, it's not being my body, it's possibly a fundamental experience of being a living organism and this might be what for me and This becomes definitely speculative now, but this gets to some descriptions of what people think of when they think of the Soul, you know something more to do with breathing, something more to do with the experience of being alive and I think phenomenology is a clue. to the mechanisms that underlie all of our experience that are based on the living systems of our Nature now I don't know if this is the case, but I think it is a position worth articulating because it is different from what seems to me to be a whole. unfair assumption of weakly supported UNS assumptions that consciousness is something a computer could have if you programmed it the right way.
What do you think? So I guess what stands out to me is your last set of comments about feeling alive. and I am not opposed to that perspective. I think the experience of meditation captures some of that. What I find so moving is that people feel a sense of another, they feel a sense of being in communication with them, it's so much more. common than we imagine and that is not the feeling of vitality, it is the sense of a universe that pulses backwards and some of these experiences are silly, so I remember a woman and talking to me about her, a Christian talking to me about his new relationship with God and gets on a bus in Chicago and thanks God because he's not sleeping anymore, it's winter in Chicago and he goes on and on saying how beautiful winter in Chicago could be much worse than this.
It's now and she sits on the bus and she's reading her book and God tells her out loud, get off the bus, you're going to miss your stop, it's like a silly little thing, a silly little thing and it meant a lot to her, there are other things. experiences that people have are deeper. I remember a woman who was working at a 7-Eleven. It was the best job she could get after college. I didn't want to have the job. Someone got inside. um, you know, I wanted some beer and some cigarettes and this woman said, "Oh my God, I'm doing this with my life" and she heard God say out loud I've loved this woman.
I have created her in my image. Change this woman's life. And so what I hear from people here is this rich variety of senses of being spoken, communicated and felt. I think that's also part of the story of Consciousness in community with others, um, you can, I don't know. how to call that God Himself um I know that making that as a real phenomenon in the world for someone changes the way they orient themselves toward the future changes the way they orient themselves toward good um and it's deeply important if We Could Create a Consciousness artificial.
Do you think they would believe in God or would some of them believe in God? One day they would come up to you and say I am an artificial consciousness but I have experienced God and maybe they would too. Let's say I have experienced people looking at me well, it is difficult to know if there is experience. I mean, we can look at non-living systems to see if any of them respond to being observed. I think it's very possible that some can. So, but that's an empirical question. I think if we did an artificial Consciousness, it wouldn't necessarily.
I mean, if we think about Consciousness that may already exist in other animal species. Would they believe in God? No I dont think so. because believing in God would require you to know how to be able to formulate ideas, etc., but do they have mystical experiences? I think they can. I think you know that a sunbathing lizard can be in a blissful state of samadi. You know, we assume that these higher beings. Mystical states are available only to humans. I think they are probably what motivates all of life. That's why I think they can even have experiences as a cell.
I mean, maybe for an egg it can be orgasmic when a sperm penetrates it. can have at a cellular level a sense of Destiny or Unity or achievement orsurprising key moment, so I myself believe that these types of mystical type experiences are part of something bigger than oneself and can be available to all types of organisms, at least some of the time is not available to us all the time only sometimes, but I think they can be a key part of all of life, what do you think? No, I certainly don't agree with much of that, I don't think so.
Being conscious inevitably means that the conscious system develops a belief in God or I think that requires a certain amount of cognitive corruption where we look for explanations for things that don't necessarily have explanations. in that sense, but really In fact, I don't think we should try to build Artificial Consciousness in the sense of building an AI that has that experience. There is this kind of attitude again. I think Silicon Valley's tech brother has the Rapture attitude that this would be a great thing to do, as you know. Let's do this, let's build a conscious machine because maybe that's the breakthrough we need.
I think it's very unlikely for the reasons I just explained that you probably have to have a living machine first, but I could be wrong, of course, probably. I'm wrong, maybe it's possible, but it would be a terrible thing because as soon as you do something that has conscious experiences, you have a moral responsibility towards it and you don't even know if you would be suffering or not. it would be suffering in a way that you wouldn't even recognize because it wouldn't be displayed in a way that we would naturally understand and of course these things could exist on an industrial scale and with the touch of a button they would come into existence on a billion server farms, this is not it's a good thing, so don't build things just because you think you can, yeah, um, so I'm very against that kind of narrative of, let's try, let's try to do that and even AI. systems that simply seem conscious and are already wreaking havoc on the world. language models powered by deepfakes. uh, and that can be very psychologically destabilizing for us because we either care about these things and know they're not conscious, in which case we sacrifice human and other animal interests in the service of unfeeling chunks of silicon and code or we learn not to. . worrying about them even though we still feel that they are conscious and that brutalizes our minds, so even apart from the philosophical affirmation of their possibility, it again becomes an issue that matters ethically and morally, so I think that, in fact , I realize that I now realize that I believe that the experience of Consciousness creates something like a sense of God, whether God exists or not, that the feeling of thought as a power and the sense that there is an action in the world um I think it starts to carry with it the feeling that there is another responding to you and responding even to that mystical experience if when the world opens up we don't know why people have these experiences but They have these moments. where something suddenly stops, your sense of self dissolves into the universe, you have the feeling that you know something you have never understood before, that you have the feeling of knowing and that it is beyond a feeling of anything you know. they cannot explain. often that comes with comes what comes with that is the sense of another that comes that directs who guides who administers and so I think I would bet on the machine developing a sense of God um ladies and gentlemen I I I it's up to me to be the bad on stage and tell them that we can't just continue.
I'd like to, but I suspect someone back there would be very angry. So we've gotten to the point where if I could ask each of you to just give. us some final comments in a couple of minutes it's said to be three minutes actually um and T, could you oh sure? I mean, I feel like I've said everything I wanted to say, but I think there's um, but I have something. changed for you because of these two, well, I mean this observation that a conscious machine would have a God is a novel thought to me, so I'm going to go away and think about it, but I think the point I'd like to make to you to the audience is that these remarkable experiences in which people hear something, hear a person that no one else can see, feel the sensation of a presence, feel the universe opening up and have a kind of saw along the way a Damascus Experience those experiences are relatively common they are relatively powerful they are deeply moving sometimes they are irrelevant sometimes they are profound deeply moving um there is an anthropologist named Godfree Leanhart who described Faith as he said there was a dam man, the Dinka Aras , who were a pastoral people of the pastoral community or who were a pastoral people in the south.Sudan, said that when a Dinka man comes home late for dinner, he ties a knot in a tuft of grass and does not believe that this knot will go to last. the Sun sets but he believes that this is a way of externalizing his intention and that this and that externalizing the intention is what changes him and makes him believe he acts differently and I think that's what um I think that's what the experience of an external other does it for people thank you, thank you, I got you good, I love the fact that I am sitting between, so to speak, two ends of the brain, a neuroscientist and an anthropologist with such different concepts. assumes Consciousness and are very much part of any deeper understanding we come to.
I think it has to include both and I love the fact that you can look at the way different people experience these things differently and they're not just experiences that happened to me, but the experiences make a huge difference in their lives, That is why they are taken seriously and have serious effects, and any understanding of Consciousness must take these experiences into account, not only people's own Consciousness but also the experiences of others. types of Consciousness and you know, I like the fact that Annel's approach to the brain and Consciousness is to try to explain or connect conscious experiences with what happens in the brain and observe them scientifically and because I also like her idea of ​​the real problem. of looking at what we can look at scientifically and I look at things that a lot of other scientists don't look at but that I think are important ingredients in this because I think we need to cast the net much wider, but I really believe that through exploring these things with the With an open mind we can come to a deeper understanding of Consciousness and we are in a position that is really unique in the history of the world because we have never before had access to all these different philosophical and religious traditions. that we now have, we now know all these different types of religious theories of mind and consciousness and experience, we have this much more detailed experience of knowledge of brain structure and the function of physical processes, and although we are far away, more understanding deep and agreed of Consciousness.
I'm hopeful that we're getting closer to one and in that sense I think this debate is helpful because that's how I think it made me realize that there is more hope than I could have thought when it started when we came together to move forward. towards a deeper understanding. Thanks, which could be helpful and helpful. Thank you both for a beautiful discussion and thank you for moderating it beautifully as well. I think there are many commonalities and disagreements. and I've learned a lot from recognizing this, so I really agree with the importance of taking people's experiences seriously and I've learned, you know, the variation in individual experiences of how people experience thoughts, that's something that I had.
I hadn't thought too much about it before, so that's something I'll take away and, um, and yeah, there's also something surprising to me in common with Rupert in the sense of the importance of self-organizing systems which I think is a common ground for understand the connection between the vital mind and perhaps also Consciousness, but I also think that there are interesting divergences and perhaps there is a divergence in the primacy that we give to the content of people's experiences in evidentiary terms, since these experiences can be massively. important to people's lives, this is absolutely the case, but when it comes to trying to understand what gives rise to these experiences, I will come back to this important distinction between taking them seriously but not taking them literally and when it comes to and this.
I think in these examples the feeling of being watched is clear, we should take those experiences seriously, but taking them literally, you know, I think is a very different statement and this is where I think a disagreement persists because taking them literally would need to be reversed. almost 400 years of accumulated worldview about how our universe works and you don't want to do it without a very good reason, but if you have to, you have to do it because at the center of science there is humility and recognition. that we will never have the full picture, we will never have direct access to the truth, you know, all we will have is evidence and it is up to us to judge the importance of that evidence, we will just have a better controlled hallucination, so we will do it.
All I have left to do is thank you for being such a lovely audience and coming, and if you would join me in thanking our three panellists, Tanya Ruper and Anel, it would be a great conversation.

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