Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326

Last updated: Jun 2, 2023

The video is a conversation with Annaka Harris about the illusion of free will and consciousness in relation to the nature of reality, particularly from the perspectives of physics and neuroscience.

The video is a conversation between Lex Fridman and Annaka Harris, author of "Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind." They discuss the concept of free will and consciousness, and how they relate to the nature of reality. Harris argues that the feeling of free will is largely an illusion, and that consciousness is used to construct this illusion and convince ourselves that we are in control of our actions. They also discuss the importance of shaking up our intuitions in order to advance scientific understanding of consciousness.

  • Free will is largely an illusion, and consciousness is a process created by the brain.
  • Challenging intuitions is important for scientific advancement, and intuitions often feed us false information.
  • Consciousness is not necessary for decision-making or behavior, and the nature of reality is a fundamental mystery.
  • Annaka Harris has always been interested in understanding the nature of reality, and writing is a tool for clarity.
  • Intuition can be an obstacle to understanding the nature of reality, and breakthroughs in science often challenge our intuitions.
  • Studying the brain can provide clues about free will, and from an engineering perspective, it is useful to compare humans and robots.
  • Mark Jaffe's research on P tendrils may provide an analogy for consciousness, and understanding consciousness is still in its early stages.
  • Illusions and false intuitions must be examined to make progress, and there are more questions than answers in consciousness studies.
  • Neuroscience suggests that reality is constructed by the brain and is therefore subjective.

Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326 - YouTube

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Free Will and Conscious Will

  • Free will is the feeling that consciousness is a concrete thing separate from brain processing that causes our decisions or actions.
  • This feeling is largely an illusion.
  • Conscious will is also an illusion used to construct the illusion of free will.
  • Free will can be used as a shorthand for the decision-making process of the brain, which is a process in nature.
  • Decisions are still being made, but the feeling of conscious will is not the cause of those decisions.
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Challenging Intuitions

  • Shaking up intuitions is important for scientific advancement.
  • Intuitions often feed us false information about the way the world works.
  • Throughout history, breakthroughs have required shifting or letting go of intuitions.
  • Challenging intuitions about our own mind can be particularly difficult.
  • Interviews can be a helpful tool for shaking up intuitions.
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The Illusion of Consciousness

  • Consciousness is a fundamental mystery of the mind.
  • Consciousness is not a thing, but rather a process.
  • Consciousness is an illusion created by the brain to construct a sense of self and a narrative of experience.
  • Consciousness is not necessary for decision-making or behavior.
  • Consciousness is not a separate entity from the brain, but rather an emergent property of brain processing.
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Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326 - YouTube

The Nature of Reality

  • The nature of reality is a fundamental mystery.
  • Physics and neuroscience offer different perspectives on the nature of reality.
  • Physics suggests that reality is fundamentally probabilistic and indeterminate.
  • Neuroscience suggests that reality is constructed by the brain and is therefore subjective.
  • The nature of reality may be beyond human comprehension.
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Interest in Understanding the Nature of Reality

  • Annaka Harris has always been interested in understanding the nature of reality.
  • She has a deep curiosity about how the world works and what it's made of.
  • Her interest in consciousness came out of her interest in physics.
  • She believes that scientists and children who will become scientists enjoy breaking through their intuitions.
  • She remembers the first time she had the feeling of realizing that the truth was so different from what she expected.
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Writing as a Tool for Clarity

  • Annaka Harris started writing her book by writing for herself.
  • She needed to spend some time writing down all of her thoughts in order to get clear about how she thinks about them.
  • Writing helps her to be clear in her thoughts because these topics are difficult to get our minds around.
  • She writes down a sentence and thinks in the silence paragraphs.
  • She checks her writing with her intuitions, which is really the scientific process.
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Illusion of Intuition

  • Annaka Harris believes that intuition can be an obstacle to understanding the nature of reality.
  • She gives an example of how her intuition was challenged when she was playing with marbles and asked her father how they got the liquid inside the glass ball.
  • Her father smashed the marbles and showed her that it was all glass.
  • She believes that we need to break through our intuitions to understand things like the Earth is round, the germ theory of disease, and evolution.
  • She thinks that flat earthers are actually thinking deeply and questioning what has become intuition.
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Free Will and Consciousness

  • Annaka Harris believes that free will is an illusion.
  • She thinks that consciousness is a product of the brain and that it's not something that exists independently of the brain.
  • She believes that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.
  • She thinks that the illusion of free will is a result of the fact that we don't have access to the processes that are happening in our brains.
  • She thinks that the illusion of free will is a useful one because it allows us to make decisions and take responsibility for our actions.
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Challenging Intuitions

  • Breakthroughs in science often challenge our intuitions.
  • It is important to let scientific observations guide our worldview.
  • Free will is a particularly challenging concept to grapple with.
  • Consciousness studies are still in their early stages.
  • Illusions and false intuitions must be examined to make progress.
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Neuroscience and Free Will

  • Studying the brain can provide clues about free will.
  • Many facts from neuroscience have yet to be widely accepted.
  • It will take time for neuroscience to seep into culture.
  • Intuitions about free will may need to be reexamined.
  • There are more questions than answers in consciousness studies.
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Human and Robotic Perspectives

  • From an engineering perspective, it is useful to compare humans and robots.
  • Research into AI raises questions about the nature of experience.
  • Plants can provide an analogy for understanding consciousness.
  • Mark Jaffe's research on P tendrils may be a helpful analogy.
  • Intuitions may need to be shaken up and reexamined.
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P Tendrils and Consciousness

  • P tendrils can grow in a straight line or in a coil form.
  • Mark Jaffe's research on P tendrils may provide an analogy for consciousness.
  • Intuitions about plant behavior may need to be reexamined.
  • As we shake up our intuitions, we may need to come back to them and reexamine them.
  • Understanding consciousness is still in its early stages.
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Plants and Consciousness

  • Plants have a distributed intelligence system.
  • They have the ability to grow straight or coil around a branch for stability.
  • Mark Jaffe's work showed that a P10 drill can continue to coil even when separated from the plant.
  • The P10 drill has a primitive form of memory and needs light to perform this action.
  • Plants do not have complex thought or human experience, but they have some felt experience.
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The Illusion of Free Will

  • Human decision-making is more complex than what is going on in a P10 drill.
  • The brain is capable of almost an infinite number of outputs based on inputs.
  • There are countless factors that contribute to the development of the brain.
  • There are points at which there is room for an illusion to come in for our own feelings of will.
  • Our feelings of will may be an illusion.
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Consciousness and Reality

  • Consciousness is a mystery that science has not yet fully explained.
  • There is a relationship between consciousness and reality.
  • Consciousness is not a byproduct of the brain, but it is a fundamental aspect of reality.
  • Consciousness is not limited to humans, but it is a fundamental aspect of the universe.
  • There is a possibility that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of the universe that is waiting to be discovered.
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The Nature of Reality

  • Reality is not what it seems.
  • Our perception of reality is limited by our senses and our brain.
  • There is a possibility that reality is a simulation.
  • There is a possibility that reality is a projection of our consciousness.
  • There is a possibility that reality is a fundamental aspect of the universe that is waiting to be discovered.
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The Brain's Capabilities

  • The brain is capable of various responses to a given question or situation.
  • It can exhibit different behaviors in different moments in time.
  • Factors leading up to a decision can determine the behavior exhibited.
  • Voluntary and involuntary behavior are processed differently in the brain.
  • At bottom, all behavior is brain processing.
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The Illusion of Free Will

  • The illusion of free will comes from the feeling that something outside of brain processing can intervene.
  • Even when intellectually understanding that everything is based on brain processing, the feeling of something standing outside of it remains.
  • The illusion of self and free will are two sides of the same coin.
  • There is a difference between voluntary and involuntary behavior.
  • The P tendril example may not address the complexity of decision-making processes.
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Twitter Debate

  • Annaka Harris was tweeting with someone about free will.
  • They were working on the episode on free will for a Ted documentary.
  • It is hard to have a conversation about free will in sound bites over Twitter.
  • Annaka Harris made the decision not to talk about Twitter during the conversation.
  • People tend to get creeped out when Annaka refers to herself as the system that is her brain and body.
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The Complexity of Behavior

  • The brain is capable of all kinds of complicated movements as a system.
  • In any one moment, the full complexity of the environment defines the actual movement of the system.
  • There is a difference between voluntary and involuntary behavior.
  • Factors leading up to a decision can determine the behavior exhibited.
  • At bottom, all behavior is brain processing.
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Illusion of Free Will

  • The terms "I" and "you" are useful shorthand for the system of the brain and body, but they are illusions.
  • The illusion comes in when we feel like there's something outside of that system that can intervene and is free from the physical world.
  • The feeling of conscious will is culturally constructed shorthand.
  • The truth is that it was just further brain processing that got us to decide.
  • The way we talk about things affects our intuitions about them.
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Feeling of Self

  • Feeling like a self goes as deep as cats and dogs.
  • It's an intrinsic part of the human brain machine.
  • Consciousness goes down to the level of cells or however far down you want to take it.
  • It's possible that any system that's navigating itself in the world has this feeling.
  • There are other cultures who are more open to breaking through these illusions than others.
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Autobiographical Self

  • There's a difference between the autobiographical me and the more fundamental me.
  • The fundamental me is the illusion.
  • If someone wakes up with amnesia, they would still feel like an "I".
  • This feeling goes very deep and is not completely reliant upon the cause and effect of the physical world.
  • The feeling is that we are a single entity.
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Potentially Philosophical Question

  • Would you rather lose all your memories or not be able to make new ones?
  • This question is asked in terms of happiness and preference.
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Memory and Time

  • Memory is related to time and is tied to many things in nature.
  • Memory is a fundamental aspect of the universe.
  • The sense of self is tied to memory, and without memory, the sense of self would begin to disintegrate.
  • The default mode network in the brain is responsible for the feeling of being a self.
  • The default mode network can be quieted down through meditation or the use of psychedelic drugs.
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The Illusion of Free Will

  • The sense of free will is an illusion.
  • Free will is an emergent property of the brain.
  • Our actions are determined by factors outside of our control.
  • Our conscious experience is a result of unconscious processes in the brain.
  • Our sense of self is an illusion created by the brain.
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The Nature of Reality

  • The fundamental nature of reality is a question that has fascinated philosophers and scientists for centuries.
  • Consciousness may be a more fundamental aspect of the universe than previously thought.
  • Quantum mechanics and different interpretations of it offer new insights into the nature of reality.
  • Physics may hold the key to understanding consciousness and the experience of free will.
  • The nature of reality may be beyond our current understanding.
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The Audio Documentary Project

  • Annaka Harris is working on an audio documentary about consciousness.
  • The project picks up where her book left off and explores lingering questions and research.
  • She has conducted about 30 interviews so far.
  • The end result of the project is not yet clear.
  • The project involves speaking with physicists who are interested in consciousness.
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Exploring Consciousness with Physicists

  • The pilot documentary is a 10-part series exploring the question of whether consciousness is fundamental to reality.
  • Physicists are the primary focus of the documentary as they can provide insights into the fundamental nature of reality.
  • Annaka Harris speaks to physicists about different interpretations of quantum mechanics, including string theory and the holographic principle.
  • Sean Carroll, Lee Smullen, Brian Greene, and Carlo Rovelli are some of the physicists Annaka Harris speaks to.
  • The documentary is narrated by Annaka Harris, who explains the questions that came up for her and why she spoke to each person.
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The Challenge of Understanding Consciousness

  • Annaka Harris acknowledges that the question of whether consciousness is fundamental is a difficult one to study scientifically.
  • She believes that if consciousness is fundamental, it needs to be strongly informed by neuroscience but ultimately is a question for physicists.
  • Annaka Harris speaks about the counter-intuitive nature of different interpretations of quantum mechanics, including many worlds and string theory.
  • She acknowledges that these ideas are beyond anything we currently understand and can sound crazy.
  • Annaka Harris enjoys exploring these radical ideas and living in the realm of the unknown.
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Questioning Intuitions and Mental Health

  • Lex Fridman asks Annaka Harris how she prevents herself from going crazy when exploring radical ideas.
  • Annaka Harris used to think that questioning intuitions could lead to mental health concerns.
  • However, she has learned a lot about the brain and has had experiences with depression and anxiety.
  • Annaka Harris believes that in order to be a good scientist, one must be willing to question intuitions and step outside of societal norms for a brief moment.
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Exploring Crazy Ideas

  • Being curious and honest in curiosity leads to crazy ideas.
  • Most scientific breakthroughs and truths sound crazy at first.
  • Crazy ideas do not necessarily lead to mental illness.
  • Some people are more susceptible to being destabilized by crazy ideas.
  • Being grounded in everyday life is important for some people's psychological health.
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Minimizing Mental Illness and Pursuing Truth

  • Mental illness and truth are different dimensions.
  • Minimizing mental illness does not necessarily mean sacrificing the pursuit of truth.
  • Some people can go crazy in both directions.
  • Believing in conspiracy theories can be fun and comforting.
  • There must be some difference that makes some people susceptible to conspiracy theories and not others.
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Connection Between Crazy Ideas and Breakthroughs in Science

  • Being open to crazy ideas is the kind of thinking that leads to breakthroughs in science.
  • Thinking the Earth is flat is a closed way of viewing things.
  • Being open to evidence is the first step towards breakthroughs in science.
  • The truth is often crazier than what the situation feels.
  • First principles thinking is important in exploring crazy ideas.
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Admiring the First Step of Flat Earthers

  • The first step of a flat earther is being open to evidence.
  • The evidence clearly takes you in one direction.
  • Asking questions and exploring crazy ideas is important.
  • The truth is often crazier than what the situation feels.
  • First principles thinking is important in exploring crazy ideas.
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Questioning Authority in Science

  • Authority in science is not just blindly following institutions, but questioning the status quo.
  • Mainstream science has never been truly mainstream, and it's always a struggle for science to become mainstream.
  • Scientists are often frustrated with how their work is presented in the media, which can give the false impression that scientists are arrogant.
  • Arrogance is not common among scientists, and they are often more open and humble than other professionals.
  • Scientists are often fighting for funding, which can lead to arrogance and competition.
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The Illusion of Free Will

  • There are two assumptions about consciousness and the universe: either everything is conscious or only certain complex processes are conscious.
  • Science has taken the latter assumption, which means that electrons and tables are not conscious, but complex processing can lead to consciousness.
  • The question is whether consciousness arises at some point or if all collections of atoms are conscious.
  • Free will is an illusion because our thoughts and actions are determined by physical processes in the brain.
  • Our sense of agency is a byproduct of these physical processes, but we do not have control over them.
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The Nature of Reality

  • Reality is not what it seems, and our perception of it is limited by our senses and cognitive abilities.
  • Quantum mechanics has shown that particles can exist in multiple states simultaneously, which challenges our classical understanding of reality.
  • Our brains construct a model of reality based on sensory input, but this model is not a perfect representation of the external world.
  • Consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality, and it cannot be reduced to physical processes alone.
  • The hard problem of consciousness is the question of how subjective experience arises from objective physical processes.
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The Role of Neuroscience in Understanding Consciousness

  • Neuroscience has made significant progress in understanding the neural correlates of consciousness, but it has not yet solved the hard problem of consciousness.
  • Consciousness is not just a byproduct of brain activity, but it is a fundamental aspect of reality.
  • Neuroscience can help us understand how consciousness arises from physical processes in the brain, but it cannot fully explain the subjective experience of consciousness.
  • There is still much we do not know about the brain and consciousness, and we need to continue to explore this topic with an open mind.
  • Understanding consciousness is not just a scientific question, but it has implications for how we live our lives and how we treat others.
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Consciousness as a Fundamental Property of Reality

  • Conscious experiences exist in the universe, so the answer isn't none.
  • The answer has to be all or some.
  • We either need an explanation for why there's non-conscious matter in the universe and then something happens for Consciousness to come into being, or it's part of the fundamental nature of reality.
  • If Consciousness is a fundamental property of reality, it could also choose to not reveal itself until a certain complexity of organism.
  • There's a starting assumption that it's all or some.
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Consciousness as a Spectrum of Content

  • Consciousness is a spectrum of content, not of Consciousness itself.
  • If a worm has some level of conscious experience, it is extremely minimal.
  • There's a moment at which you get on the Spectrum, and that piece of it is binary.
  • If there's no conscious experience, there is no consciousness.
  • It's possible to make the case that arising happens first for the first time ever with homo sapiens, but it's extremely unlikely.
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Consciousness in Humans and Other Mammals

  • It's hard to see how there would be a difference between humans and other mammals in terms of Consciousness.
  • There's a difference in terms of intelligence between humans and other mammals, but not a fundamental leap in intelligence.
  • Humans are unique and capable of all kinds of things that no other mammals are capable of, but you don't need any magical intervention of something outside of the physical world to explain it.
  • Especially once you talk about more complex brains with many more neurons, it's very hard to see how there would be a difference between humans and other mammals in terms of Consciousness.
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Consciousness as a Mistake

  • We're mistaken about Consciousness because we are special in the ways that we're special and because we're complex creatures with complex brains.
  • We don't actually have any evidence that Consciousness is complex, that it comes out of complex processing, or that it's required for complex processing.
  • We've made this anthropomorphic mistake because we are conscious.
  • It's very hard to get evidence of Consciousness from the outside, which is one of the things that makes it unique and mysterious.
  • Consciousness is the one thing in nature that we can't get conclusive evidence of from the outside.
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Consciousness and Felt Experience

  • There is no physical evidence that Consciousness exists outside of humans.
  • Humans assume that Consciousness is unique to them because they are conscious and have no feedback about other things being conscious.
  • Consciousness is tied to the things that make humans unique and special.
  • Consciousness arises when there is complex processing.
  • There are two questions at the heart of our intuitions about Consciousness: what is it doing and why?
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Felt Experience in All Matter

  • If Consciousness is fundamental, then felt experience is part of the fabric of reality.
  • It is possible that felt experience exists in all matter.
  • Science has a long way to go before we can understand Consciousness in all matter.
  • Scientists are interested in Consciousness and are breaking through initial intuitions.
  • There are theories of Consciousness that suggest even an electron might be conscious.
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The Evolution Argument

  • The question of whether humans are unique and special is separate from the question of Consciousness.
  • Consciousness gives a felt experience to our uniqueness.
  • Richard Dawkins is not interested in the topic of Consciousness.
  • There are false intuitions about self and Free Will that limit some theories of Consciousness.
  • Scientists need to catch up their intuitions to what we already know about Consciousness.
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The Importance of Consciousness Research

  • Consciousness research is important and needs to be taken seriously.
  • Scientists are making progress in understanding Consciousness.
  • Intuition breaking is necessary to think more clearly about Consciousness.
  • There are theories of Consciousness that go extremely deep and are important work.
  • Being open to the fact that Consciousness goes as deep as particles is the most important next step forward.
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Exploring Consciousness as Fundamental

  • There is a possibility that consciousness is fundamental.
  • Science has been led by the assumption that consciousness arises in brains.
  • Consciousness being fundamental is an understudied possibility that deserves serious attention.
  • There are good reasons to start with the assumption that consciousness is fundamental.
  • Annaka Harris spends a lot of time thinking and talking to scientists and philosophers about this possibility.
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Understanding Consciousness

  • Consciousness is the hard problem of consciousness that feels like something to us.
  • Our current intuition about consciousness is a very specific implementation of consciousness in an organism.
  • It is hard to reason about something that is fundamental.
  • David Eagleman has done work with sensory substitution, giving humans qualia sensory experiences that we're not wired for.
  • There is a study done to give human beings an experience of magnetic north, which is an intuitive sense that many animals use to get around.
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Supporting Integrated Information Theory (IIT)

  • Annaka Harris is a supporter of IIT.
  • She is interested in what they're doing even though she thinks they're wrong.
  • IIT is opening a path to study consciousness scientifically.
  • It is hard to say how we could actually study consciousness scientifically.
  • IIT is getting more people interested in consciousness.
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Emergence vs. Fundamental

  • Annaka Harris used to say that consciousness is 50/50 emergent vs. fundamental.
  • Now, she believes that consciousness being emergent vs. fundamental is 51/49.
  • She is not convinced that consciousness is fundamental.
  • Consciousness being fundamental is a possibility that deserves serious attention.
  • Annaka Harris follows the assumption that consciousness is fundamental in her work at this point.
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Scientific Advancements and Consciousness Research

  • Scientific advancements may start to dovetail with consciousness research.
  • It is possible to experience things we've never experienced before.
  • At some level, we're limited as human beings.
  • We may be able to find some proof or enough proof to assume that consciousness is fundamental.
  • We may not be able to get our minds around that or to understand what it means.
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Empathy and Connecting Different Sensory Mechanisms

  • Empathy is about trying to exercise and imagine what it's like to be other people.
  • Perhaps we can connect different sensory mechanisms to the brain to do that for all kinds of organisms on Earth.
  • It may be much more difficult to do for electrons and so on.
  • There is a ton of evidence to support that our conscious experience is at the tail end of a lot of brain processing.
  • There are binding processes that happen prior to the conscious experience that were essentially delivered to us by the brain.
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Where Does Consciousness Happen?

  • There is a period of time, depending on the situation and the behavior, where consciousness happens.
  • It can be anywhere from half a second to 200 milliseconds.
  • There is a lot of science and differences in timing.
  • It is about synchronization of audio and video.
  • The brain is constantly making adjustments.
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Binding Processes and Examples

  • Binding processes happen prior to the conscious experience.
  • They put all the information together to deliver a present moment.
  • There is a delay between the sights, sounds, and felt experience of hitting a tennis ball.
  • There are binding processes that happen prior to the conscious experience that were essentially delivered to us by the brain.
  • There is a window where the brain is essentially putting all the information together to deliver a present moment.
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Binding and Perception

  • Our brains go through a process of binding to weave together different signals into a single conscious experience.
  • Binding is mostly about timing, but can involve other factors as well.
  • David Eagleman conducted an experiment where participants hit a button that caused a flash of light, and gradually introduced a delay between the button press and the flash.
  • Even with a delay of up to 200 milliseconds, participants still had the same experience of the light flashing when they pressed the button.
  • If the delay was suddenly removed, participants experienced the light flashing before they pressed the button.
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Illusion of Conscious Will

  • Consciousness is an illusion constructed by the brain after the fact.
  • Decision-making processes are not as conscious as we think they are.
  • Studies are being conducted to see if there are markers in the brain that can predict decisions before they are consciously made.
  • Neuroscience is likely to continue improving and revealing more about the nature of consciousness and decision-making.
Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326 073

Free Will and Determinism

  • There is a tension between the idea of free will and the deterministic nature of the universe.
  • Quantum mechanics introduces some uncertainty into the universe, but it is unclear if this has any bearing on free will.
  • Even if the universe is deterministic, it may still be useful to talk about free will in a practical sense.
  • Our sense of agency and responsibility may be important for social and moral reasons, regardless of whether or not free will exists.
Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326 075

Consciousness and the Hard Problem

  • The hard problem of consciousness is the question of how subjective experience arises from physical processes in the brain.
  • There is no clear answer to this problem, and it may be that we need a new way of thinking about the relationship between mind and matter.
  • Some theories propose that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of the universe, rather than an emergent property of complex systems like the brain.
  • It is possible that we will never fully understand consciousness, but that does not mean we should stop trying to study it.
Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326 076

Positive Ways to View Difficult Truths

  • Uncovering difficult truths can be initially jarring and destabilizing.
  • It is important to talk about these truths because science will reveal them.
  • Realizing these truths can have a positive effect on human psychology and well-being.
  • Illusions like Free Will and self can give us reasons for feeling more connected to each other and the universe.
  • These realizations can be extremely helpful to people in terms of increasing well-being and lowering rates of depression and anxiety.
Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326 077

Source of Meaning

  • Realizing that the universe doesn't rotate around Earth or that the Earth is not the center of the universe is a challenging thought.
  • Short-term, many people had an existential crisis as it got integrated into society.
  • Long-term, it can be a source of awe and inspiration for creativity and curiosity.
  • The sense of self is at the core of human suffering because it feels as if we are separate from the rest of nature.
  • The illusion of decision-making and the sense of self can play a part in depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326 078

Default Mode Network

  • When the default mode network is quieted down, people lose a sense of self in meditation, on psychedelic drugs, and in therapy.
  • There is a feeling of being connected to the rest of nature.
  • Having the insight that you're not the self can be a positive experience.
  • The sense of self is separate from the physical world and that separation can play a part in depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Annaka Harris: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #326 080

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