TED Talk: How Your Brain Hallucinates Your Conscious Reality
Anil Seth a cognitive neuroscientist explores how the brain generates a conscious experience basing on the human surroundings. He presented his discoveries recently at TED conference and according to him; people hallucinate all the time which explains the nature of existence.
Seth claims that consciousness happens when the combined activity of billions of neurons generates a conscious experience in our inner self. Consciousness is a critical activity in the life of humans. Without it, there will be no world or self.
When humans suffer they suffer consciously even if it’s through mental illness or pain. Consciousness has nothing to do with pure intelligence; it’s basically about the human nature as living creatures. Conscious experiences according to Seth are controlled hallucinations that occur because we are living bodies.
Anil Seth and his team have been exploring the scientific work about the conscious experiences in their lab at the University of Sussex for several years. They tirelessly try hard to understand how consciousness happens and what exactly happens to the brain during those moments.
Consciousness can be understood in two ways: there are experiences people get from the surroundings including the sights, sounds, and smells, the multisensory, panoramic, and inner movie. There is also the self-consciousness. That is the specific experience of being you or self.
Since the brain has no light or sound, it relies on the electrical impulses together with its prior expectations or beliefs to form the best guess of what’s out there in the world. Consciousness largely depends on the signals coming into the brain from the outside world. Hence, humans do not just passively perceive the world; they actively generate it in their conscious minds. The world we experience comes from the inside out and not from outside in.
Seth reveals that the experience of being a self is also a controlled hallucination generated by the brain. Though the individual self and worlds are unique from person to another, they are all found in the biological mechanisms shared among many other living creatures. The understanding of conscious experience opens new opportunities in psychiatry and neurology because once the symptoms of conditions such as depression and schizophrenia are detected, It’s easier to treat them.