I recently watched a very interesting TED talk...those delicious little morsels for the mind. In it, Dr Anil Seth of the University of Sussex shares some extraordinary ideas:
1. Anaesthesia makes humans into objects, then (hopefully), back to humans.
2. The question is how does consciousness happen and how do we have a sense of self?
3. Brain impulses are only indirectly related to sensory information that are indirectly related to things in the world, yet our brains have to make sense of it
4. But we also use internal processes and prior information/knowledge to construct meaning. The brain makes a best guest prediction about what the new information is. And it can adapt this prediction.
5. Uncontrolled predications that are not reigned in = hallucination. Controlled predictions reigned in by sensory information = reality.
He says that reality is communal hallucination
and that we predict ourselves into existence.
I am deeply moved by this idea and this way of looking at consciousness, of being. Like the nonsense sound that suddenly gain meaning in his video, I feel that if we introduce new positive information, the way we make sense of past or current tragedy and negative thoughts can shift - they can be superseded. In essence, they can be interpreted differently and give way to an alternative prediction.
I am often asked why I am how I am. What I think people are really asking is why am I how I am in spite of.
Why am I not a brittle, bitter, angry, depressed, lethargic etc etc etc?
I not entirely sure but I think it helped that I am rather stubborn and determined. I always felt like I was destined for something greater than where I was in a given moment, even as a kid. I once heard Oprah saying that as a young child, she witnessed her grandmother, a maid, hanging up the wash and the white linen was swaying gently in the breeze.
And Oprah looked at her grandmother and she thought to herself - that will never be me.
I have my own version of this 'prediction' for self, of self.
To those who tried to kill my spirit, I retorted in my mind - I am better than this. I will rise above.
Now with this new information about how the brain and consciousness works, I really believe, I was protected by insisting on this version of my being, on a reality that focussed on a positive possibility. By introducing alternative information.
That's not to say that darkness doesn't try edge in from time to time. Everyone gets the blues.
But now, cloistered in love, I keep my eyes in intense regard, and say quietly but sternly - Go away. Go far, far away into the recesses of some brain fold.
Don't you see? I've done it. I've predicted myself into something greater.