What does consciousness mean to you? It’s something that’s fundamental to who we are as humans. And yet it’s a concept that many of us would struggle to define – scientists and philosophers included. But today’s guest is someone who has spent many years and countless hours studying it, and is keen to share what he has learned.
Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Science at the University of Sussex and Co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. He is a globally respected neuroscientist and author of the Sunday Times bestseller Being You: A New Science Of Consciousness. And he is someone who excels at making complex ideas simple as evidenced by the fact that his TED talk has been viewed over 12 million times to date.
After 20 years researching the brain, Anil’s ideas on perception, reality, and what it means to be you, will have you reconsidering everything you’ve taken for granted about your experience of the world. And if that sounds scary, it really isn’t. You don’t need any prior knowledge of neuroscience, philosophy, or spirituality to enjoy this episode – but it will leave you feeling enlightened in all three areas.
During this conversation we consider death, ritual and the cultural idea of reincarnation. We talk about Near Death Experiences and what we can potentially learn from them and we dive into what consciousness and the self really mean. Anil also sets out his theory that our brains don’t read the world, they write them – all of life is a controlled hallucination.
The way we encounter reality, he asserts, is a construction. Our thoughts and perceptions are merely interpretations of external and biological cues. We’re all hallucinating, all the time. It’s just that when we agree on those hallucinations, we call it reality.
Anil’s work is fascinating and I’m convinced it could pave the way for a humanity that’s more connected, considerate, and humble. This is a conversation that I think will have you reflecting and thinking deeply about the world and your place within it. I hope you enjoy listening.
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Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/366
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