New Senses New Reality Russell Brand Neuroscientist David Eagleman

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Video Creator’s Channel Russell Brand

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I Was Thinking Earlier When I Knew

that I would be having the privilege of speaking with you that that how through whatever amplification of whatever sense, How would it be possible ever to abstract ourselves from the limitations of our sensory instruments and and our the limitations of our capacity For knowledge. I was thinking whatever data is put in it’s like it’s being put into a red dye so it’s always gonna be dyed red because it’s always having to pass through the nexus of our understanding and experience so it’s. I thought I I wondered how it could ever be understood yeah okay good so this is this is a very new area and this is what I’ve devoted myself to almost entirely for the last several years, which is the question of how we get data into the brain and so you know we come to. The table with eyes and ears and nose and mouth and fingertips and all this stuff and that’s how we get data in how the data gets in there though is all as electrochemical spikes. So in other words, when photons hit my eyes or air compression waves hit my ears or molecules hit my nose that gets turned into these spikes where neurons you know pop off and all that happens inside my head.

Its Just Blackness And And Lots Of These

spikes. So the question is how does the brain ever know that that is supposed to be vision and that’s supposed to be hearing and that is smell because it all looks exactly the same on the inside. In other words, if I were to show you a little piece of brain tissue and you were to see all these spikes and if I were to ask. You hey is that visual cortex you’re looking at or auditory you couldn’t tell me. I couldn’t tell you because it all looks exactly the same so you may know this but this led me some years ago to figure that we might be able to feed new kinds of data streams into the brain and you know develop conscious perception of them in the same way that we have vision or hearing or think so so I built with with my team a wristband and it’s got vibratory motors on the inside.

We Started By Building A Vest But

now now it’s a wristband and this can turn whatever data stream into patterns vibration on the skin and the question we’re pursuing now is can you develop a completely new sense of something Oh wow yeah yeah now it still may be dyed red as you said because then. You know fundamentally it’s passed into the brain of a human, but the idea is do we have to be limited to vision and hearing and smell? Or is that just what we happen to have inherited from a complex Road of evolution and of course across the animal Kingdom. You have animals with very different sorts of sensors like heat, pits or electroreception or magnetoreception. All kinds of things Yeah and it’s kind of impossible for us to map what that might be like you know like in nagels famous essay is hard for us to understand what it’s like to be a bat because how can we ever understand echolocation other than what you’re experimenting with right now with these skin vibration watches yeah Yeah I have a feeling that if this works well and people develop new sorts of senses there might be sort of like a. speciation event in in our within humans by which I mean if you’re wearing a wristband and feeling Twitter and I’m wearing a wristband and feeling the infrared light and someone over there is feeling the stock market and we develop direct perceptual experiences of it.

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There May Be A Sense In

which we cannot communicate that to each other because I would say what I’m feeling infrared light right so I say Hey Russell. I you know I have a feeling there’s one of those night-vision cameras over there and I can you know I can tell where it is and you say oh well. I can tell that people are talking about the American election In this way on Twitter and our friend over there says hey I can tell that oil is crashing right now and it feels a particular way like it actually feels bad to. The point is that we might end up with very different perceptions and there’s no way to communicate it with each other even within the field of the more mundial in David Foster Wallace’s essay on Tracy Austin and the disappointment of her ghost did autobiographies could let center court or something I can’t remember the name, but he says that the disappointment of the sports biography. In essence is we the sports fan want to read a sports biography and for them to be able to tell us.

This Is What Its Like When You Hit

that stroke or score that goal, and he says that they can never do that because not being present or being and not being able to articulate. It is somehow the essence of what they do. But if you were like me or any other non-genius athlete, you would be. I’ll know. Those people are looking at me where do I kick the ball? You know that it’s like they’re dealing with stimuli in a way that is somehow alien or at least particular, You know.

Some Years Ago I Wrote A Book

called some mess and yeah. I got it Oh great great and one of the story. Maybe you remember the story is about in the afterlife. You get to choose what you want to be in the next life and so then you know you can choose to be for example, a horse and as you get transformed into a horse. You realize the last minute the problem you forgot which is the more you become a horse.

The More You Forget What It Was Like

to be a human wishing it was a horse and and and just as you are ending up there you painfully ponder. What magnificent extraterrestrial creature tros in the last round to be a human as they were seeking extra simplicity that’s beautiful yeah thanks, But the reason I wrote that story is is exactly because of this thought about how impossible it is to be in someone else’s head ever to know what it’s like to be that athlete and situation or to be another animal or to you know. For example, I at this moment in my life in dealing with you know several friends in the community who are blind and who are deaf and things like that. This has to do with the sensory substitution that we’re building, but what’s interesting is if you’re. For example, born blind.

Theres Absolutely No Way That You Can Understand

what vision is so so you Russell could try to say look it’s like this and and and and you try and. There’s no pot They might pretend to understand you in the end, but they can’t. You know the idea of capturing photons from a distance and knowing what’s there and it’s just totally foreign. I did stand up David on the on a similar idea where I speculated how would you ever explain the sense a sense of smell to someone who didn’t have a sense of smell or if nobody had a sense of smell. The idea of distinctions between pain and bacon and what it is on a on a microbial level to have a sense of smell and I used that as a sort of axis to explore the possibility that when we talk about God or mysticism, what we’re talking about is MmM well on some level matter, but certainly energy or something that is beyond the realm and abilities of our sensory instrument.

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I Like Me Now Recognized As

a Stanford neuroscientist or unlikely to be particularly tolerant of woowoo, but what I’ve seen you speak somewhat about you know these gaps between the points of knowledge and points of the known and well Do you have time even to look at sort of scriptural knowledge and have you seen things in any theological right in that seems to you to be inferring or reaching towards some things that you have encountered through scientific study. Here’s what I’d say I I have not had time to look at any scriptural knowledge. I am a lover of literature though and in fact there’s an undergraduate I majored in British and American literature because that was my first love if I were if you allow me to expand from scriptural to literature. In general, there is a there is something that that can capture that.

That The Science Cant I Mean

there’s this you know if you’ve heard me talk about this before you know my view on this, which is that science is the most powerful tool that humankind has ever had to do things and to push forward the boundaries of ignorance, but at some point at some point, there are questions that we can’t ask scientifically you know questions about meaning or you know whoa yeah falling in love with your spouse. I mean there’s all kinds of things that that the scientific vocabulary and way of testing doesn’t quite capture so so that’s where this other stuff kicks in and that’s why we as a society write books and have religions and so on so we can tackle these bigger sorts of questions. It’s a different way of knowing something doesn’t necessarily have the same rigor and my impression correct me. If you have a different take on my impression is that you know a lot of the stuff that people point to in Scripture that they say Hey.

This Is Like Quantum Mechanics, Which Was

discovered later. I think that’s probably pulling from you know a vast pool and finding something that looks alike it’s not necessarily doing the same job as science. Yeah, I think it would be reductive to make sort of a direct parallels between like you know a particular passage Perhaps if the back of a gear and say quantum theory about which I know you know even less than most people but like it’s it like, but there are sort of things that seem too poetically suggest the pot. You know like a realm of limitless possibilities that are simultaneously occurring while not happening at different points in space and time which in themselves are.

Come Constructs Based On The Limitations Of

our senses like that for me that’s that in the rhythms patterns and poetry of Ayurvedic literature. In particular, I sort of feel the kind of things that I get from you know from scientists that are able to communicate on a popular and you know in lay terms I sort of oh Yeah! This this is the same thing. This is the same thing.

Summary

How would it be possible ever to abstract ourselves from the limitations of our sensory instruments and and our capacity For knowledge? I was thinking whatever data is put in it’s like it’s being put into a red dye so it’s always gonna be dyed red because it’s. always having to pass through the nexus of our understanding and experience so I thought I I wondered how it could ever be understood yeah okay good so this is a very new area and this is what I’ve devoted myself to almost entirely for the last several years, which is the question of how we get data into the brain and so you know we come to. The question is how does the brain ever know that that that is supposed to be vision and that’s supposed to . be hearing and that is smell because it all looks exactly the same on the inside.& So this led me some years ago to figure that we might be able to feed new kinds of data streams into the . brain and it’s got a wristband…. Click here to read more and watch the full video