Dr. Donald Hoffman (Part 1) - The Case Against Reality and Why We Only See What We Need to Survive
Play • 36 min

Today’s guest is the brilliant Dr. Donald Hoffman. Donald is a full professor of cognitive science at the University of California, the author of The Case Against Reality and Visual Intelligence, and the co-author of Observer Mechanics.

Within his body of work, Donald studies how our visual perception, guided by millions of years of natural selection, generates every aspect of our so-called reality. Through his research, he has discovered important clues pointing to the subjective nature of reality, which can be best understood as a set of phenomena our brain constructs to guide our behavior. In other words, we actively create everything we see, and we see what we need to see to make sense of things and survive.  This is a truly mind-blowing conversation, so get ready to work your brain and challenge your perceptions at their very most fundamental.

Donald has received a Distinguished Scientific Award of the American Psychological Association for early career research into visual perception, the Rustum Roy Award of the Chopra Foundation, and the Troland Research Award of the US National Academy of Sciences. 

Listen as we discuss:

  • How did Donald get into the full time study of making a case against reality?
  • Why mathematical models of processing reality are still ignoring a deeper layer.
  • You cannot infer from what you're doing in a game what is actually rendering the game.
  • We only see the parts of the game we focus on.
  • Evolution has given us a VR headset, not a window into reality, and the point of it is to win the game of life.
  • Winning the game and seeing the truth are two very different things.
  • If you try to control reality directly, you're going to be very inefficient and lose the game.
  • Science is evolving, and space-time is doomed because it's in "the game world".
  • We're programmed to believe in "reality" from age 4 and never question it.
  • Humility is how we learn.
  • The brain is an icon in your perception, not a causal mechanism.
  • Donald's Theory of Conscious Agents and why existence is like Twitter
  • Reality is a visualization tool that distills and focuses our experience so we don't get overwhelmed.
  • Everything is just icons we associate with a consciousness.

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Connect with Donald Hoffman on Twitter @donaldhoffman

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