Transcript of a live interview with Dr Iain McGilchrist – transcript generated by Amazon, so not accurate:
… how it is that we know anything at all. And broadly speaking, there are a number of ways in which we do this, first of all, to know anything until we have to attend to it. And the right hemisphere of the brain is very well established to have a much broader vision of what the world is to be able to see things in context. And the Left Hemisphere has this very fragmented, piecemeal vision. So in terms of attention to what’s there, and that’s very important because things only come into existence for us in the degree to which we attend to them, the right hemisphere has a huge advantage.
… my thoughts at the moment more on a philosophical level about the way we conceive a human being and the planet and our relationship with it. And as you probably are aware, um uh, well, I know you are, and some of the audience will be. I have a view that we have sacrificed knowledge, information and wisdom that we could have had from and in fact, is available to us through broadly speaking the right hemisphere of the brain’s approach to life. But we’ve more or less rigorously excluded this from the way in which we think about things and adopted around the narrow view which I think results in a reductionist materialist vision which I’m aiming in this book, too. Demonstrate is less intelligent and less cogent than it looks. Um, one of the ways in which I do that is to talk about how it is that we know anything at all. And broadly speaking, there are a number of ways in which we do this, first of all, to know anything until we have to attend to it. And the right hemisphere of the brain is very well established to have a much broader vision of what the world is to be able to see things in context. And the Left Hemisphere has this very fragmented, piecemeal vision. So in terms of attention to what’s there, and that’s very important because things only come into existence for us in the degree to which we attend to them, the right hemisphere has a huge advantage. Then I suppose it’s what comes to us in perception, and there’s a lot of neuroscience in this part of the book. What I basically look is review all the neuroscience on different modes of perception, and it’s very clear that the right hemisphere is superior to the left in terms of simple perception through our various senses. then that’s what judgments we make about what we have perceived and what we experienced. And although what we used to be told was that the Left Hemisphere was reliable and down to Earth, if a little bit boring, but at least made sound, rational judgments, it turns out that this is not the case. I mean indisputably. The Left Hemisphere is more likely to submit to bias, to jump to conclusions, to make hasty, quick and dirty decisions, which I relate to its historical precedent as serving the predator in as it has to be quick and decisive in making an action and that it is the right hemisphere that problem arises. Think things could be different, says yes, but, uh, a great Zen saying which I think can be applied to almost everything in life, including, no doubt, my own thesis. And then there is emotional understanding, which is by no means a small part of how we understand the world. I suspect that the audience in this room will need less persuasion than many uh, that I would speak to that emotion, in fact, helps us to shape, understand, give proper weight to just about all of our experience, and without it, we really wouldn’t exist. In fact, consciousness is much more about feeling than it is about thinking. Despite what the president had to say sent to go soon. And then there is and cognitive intelligence good old fashioned what an IQ test tests. And it turns out that to my surprise initially, but certainly to most people’s surprise, the evidence is very clear that, uh, that cognitive intelligence is far more heavily dependent on the right hemisphere than the left that this may lead you to say. If all these things attention, perception, judgement, emotional and social understanding and cognitive intelligence are better done by the right hemisphere. What a hell have you got a Left hemisphere for? This can’t be right. Very briefly. My thesis is that over evolution, we have had to delegate part of the brain not to deal with immediacy of reality, not to deal with attending to what is but instead to preparing scenarios about what might be and having theories and exploring those offline if you like. So, to this extent, although I very strongly resist the metaphor that the brain is a computer, the Left Hemisphere is just a little bit like the right hemisphere PC. In other words, as you understand the data that you put into the computer that you gather from the real world, but you’re not as good as the computer at processing it. And once the computers finished processing it, you understand it. The computer doesn’t The relationship is a little like that. The right hemisphere, as it were, is the one that is in the living world where we are. It’s the one that will reinterpret the results of the processing of the Left Hemisphere, but the Left Hemisphere is a somewhat out of touch processes, so that’s the first part of the book. And then the second part of the book is to look at how we understand the world, what faculties do use, and here I am making a distinction at different levels. So I’m thinking about we use reason and we use our scientific knowledge and we use intuition and we use imagination. And all of these are ways in which we can gain an understanding of the world. And what I suggest is that in each case, we have tended to consider them too much from the left hemisphere point of view, which has tended to, um, overestimate the value of some things and underestimate the value of others. Um, in fact, it manages to do both at the same time. For example, in the case of science, because science is something that doesn’t just involve a lot of root routine procedures doesn’t just involve following linear analytic thinking. But as anyone who has looked into the history of scientific and mathematical discoveries will know, they were largely made by an illogical, non procedural means. And science is very much more an exercise in imagination at the important creative stage than it is often held out to be. That’s not to say that we don’t need to, um, Systematise and formalise at a certain point in the process. Very clearly we do, but the narrowness of the way in which we now think about science, both in special ism versus broader understanding of the integrative knowledge which science gives us, and in the sense of the faculties we need to bring to bear in order to be good scientists. I think our distorted at the moment, so science is very, very valuable, but it could do with more right hemisphere. Input reason. I think one could say something of the same. The reason is very, very valuable without science and reason. I couldn’t write this book. It’s entirely an exercise in those two things. But on the other hand, reason can’t again deliver everything. In reality, there are things that neither science nor reason can be expected to answer for us, it can help us on the path. But inevitably, reason tends to abstract. It tends to take things out of context. It tends to make things linear, and it tends to over generalise. So although these things are important again, they need more right hemisphere input. Then there is intuition, which I think has been given rather a hard time in recent years, largely because of the influential work of people like Carmen, who who’s brilliant and his stuff is also very entertaining. By the way, Um, but also I think, leads to a deceptive you that, on the whole intuition, leads us astray. Um, sometimes it does, but so does nationalistic cognition. Neither of these on its own is a very good formula, and I can show you convincing optical illusions that are so convincing that you simply can’t believe that the reality of what you’re seeing is what it is. But it doesn’t make you say, Well, that does it then. And I’m not going to use my eyes anymore to look at the world because sometimes they can deceive me. Sometimes intuitions can deceive, but sometimes the neuroscience tells us they can actually tell us things faster and more accurately than any other mode of understanding. And then there’s finally imagination, which is again a very important part of how we understand the world. Because when we’re being creative in art and science and in every day as Coleridge would have understood and shelling my favorite German philosophers, from whom coverage not only learned but basically cribbed a huge amount. So that takes us to the last part of the book I’m about to wrap up on this. Don’t where it’s, um, it’s really to look at the building blocks of the world. How do we look at really imponderable things like time, space flow? I’m consciousness matter and value, including the sacred, and I consider these to be building blocks. I mean, some people might not think that value and things like the sacred could be, but I will argue that they are Indeed. I will also argue that consciousness is more foundational than matter. And the consciousness does not in any sense emerged from matter. But the consciousness and matter co exist, and quite probably consciousness is primary on to logically to matter. But anyway, there we are. One of the ways I introduced these arguments is, I think, an entertaining way, which is to look at paradoxes. I got interested in paradoxes when I was writing the master and his emissary. And one of the things that came out of that was to see that in fact, most paradoxes one way you can look at them is the conflict between the way the left Hemisphere would see it and the way the right hemisphere would see it. And this happens very, very regularly. So I take 30 of the approximately of the best known paradoxes going back, of course, to Xeno. But coming further forward and to ones that have been articulated only in the last century or so. And what I suggest that I can show is that in every case, the right hemisphere in the Left Hemisphere can be seen to be taking a different take on this and that in every case as it were, we ought to be preferring the right hemispheres. Take, for example, Zeno proves that nothing can move. Well, actually, of course, we know that things move all the time, So there must be something wrong with the idea that nothing can move. And it’s the Left Hemisphere that proves to its own satisfaction that nothing can move at the right hemispheres. Way of looking at it, as I can demonstrate suggests that this whole mode of approach the left hemispheric relations. So really, in every case, what I want us to carry away when we look at these final building blocks is that we have to adjudicate between ways we have been taught to think about them, which are largely I would suggest left hemisphere base versus ways we could think about them using a richer right hemisphere ontology. And so I suggest that these things have a different meaning in our world than the ones we normally give them. And the payoff of this, I think, is at the end that I’m suggesting that consciousness and a sense of value, goodness, beauty truth and the sacred, the divine, uh, things that anyone who has been following an argument which is rigorously based on science and reason, will not think as dismissible or a stupid or as un entertain a bill by an intelligent person. As I’m afraid, an awful lot of people go around rather thoughtless is saying so that’s really that book It was going to be called. There are no things, but I decided that was a bad idea because it sounded as though I was an idealist and didn’t think there was anything real. I think there is something very real, although it’s not just naively real nor naively ideal. So I’m changing the title. I think, too, the matter with things because I’m suggesting that actually preoccupation with matter and with things get things back to front, so to speak. It says that the important things, what we identify as objects in the in the cosmos, where it’s the relationships that are essential and fundamental, in fact, even more fundamental than the things they relate, which emerged from a network of relatedness. Well, now I’ve spilled for approximately 13 minutes and I imagine I have made very little sense. I’ll stop there and allow you or anyone else to ask me questions. We can take the conversation wherever you’d like to take it. Thank you very much indeed. Right. Hi. In you can’t see me, I can see you. Good, Actually, let me see the back of my head. Don’t look round. Um Oh, Peter. Hello way. How nice to see you. Very nice to see you. Two of us looking the other way. You mentioned the divine. What is your current view of the divine? Well, Peter, that must be some kind of a joke. Um, I, um I think it’s a fool who tries to say very much about what the divine is. I mean, I believe in an automatic view of the divine in any case, and I certainly can’t sum it up quickly enough for this purpose. I was going to write a book, And when Rowan Williams got to know about the marchers emissary and really liked it, he invited me to talk, um, at Lambeth and he said to me, What are you going to be writing in the future? And I said, Well, I think I’m going to write a book called a short book about God, and he just looked at me and went Good luck. Uh, but I I think I can approach the idea of it. But you in shorthand, I think my ideas would be fairly much consonant with what one might call Panin theism. Would you like to define that for the audience quickly? Some some men may not know. Well, um, people know the idea of pan theism, which is that the entire cosmos, everything that exists is God. And God is the same as the entirety of what exists. And Panin theism is slightly different. It’s to say that God is in everything and everything is in good. But it’s not simply the sum of all that exists is something over and above and beyond and overarching to that. Thank you very much. Thanks very much. Thanks very much. Really? Mm. All right. Let me see if I can get that camera around. Here we go. Hello. Thank you so much. Um, don’t worry about seeing me is fine. Yeah, So I mean, I know somewhat about split brain experiments and hemispheric means and the effect on consciousness of that, but I would really like to hear from you about your your understanding of that and what you think the implications of that are for the nature of consciousness. I’m sorry. That brain question is split brain experiments and hemisphere epidermis and how that relates to the functioning of both right and left hemisphere and the impact on consciousness that has. Well, I suppose I could answer that in two parts. I mean, one is is, um, clearly information from hemisphere ectomy from, uh, slightly less radically hemisphere suppression by one means or another either by, um, electroconvulsive therapy. Um, by TMS or by a newer version, uh, transcranial stimulation. You can actually, um, as it were, find out material about one hemisphere at the time. And split brain subjects were very important material for this. So clearly, they have taught us a lot about hemisphere distinctions. You may be asking the very difficult question about what it is that it tells us about consciousness. Um, in the sense of, you know, how can one have two consciousnesses or apparently have two consciousnesses? Um, and I think the answer to that is that first of all, I’m going to argue in the book. I’m writing the consciousness. There’s something called the binding problem, which you may be familiar with, Which is how is it that information is made to cohere into a picture of consciousness? Well, my view on that is that actually consciousnesses hole already to begin with, um and, uh, some information from experiments done on very, very young infants. Which shows that, contrary to what PSG and others thought that they had to piece together bits of information to make a coherent picture of the world. They already see it as a single and whole, um, and that the relationship between consciousness and the brain is a complex one. That consciousness can reside in things even that don’t have neurons. Um, that perhaps takes us too far from your question, but I think that the relationship with the brain and consciousness is very difficult. We know that there are people who have very, very little in the way of cortex but who are nonetheless capable of many of the things that we can say definitively require consciousness. There are people who have such bad hydro catalysts that they basically have almost no, um, cortex whatever and are nonetheless capable. Uh, at some level on him, and we’ve given only a very little rim of cortex can achieve i q of 120 something so we don’t know what it is in the brain that gives rise to consciousness, for example, it’s sometimes thought that its the complexity of all the interconnections. But as you possibly know, there are four times as many neurons in the cerebellum as there are in the cerebrum. And they also include cells like to Kinji cells, which are the most man manifold and complex ratified cells. Uh, and yet the cerebellum does not give rise to consciousness at all. Um, so we don’t know what the relationship is, but all one can say is that for you and me, there are different levels of information which are nonetheless experience as a single consciousness in the normal state and that when we lose consciousness from one hemisphere or the other, it’s not as though we don’t. We were somehow unconscious. You know, we we still have consciousness, sometimes perfectly good consciousness. So you were asking a very, very difficult question. I probably haven’t answered it well, but those are some thoughts. Thank you. Mhm. Hi. Andrew Stone. I’m not an academic, anyway, but I haven’t done jobs and creative, and you talked about left or right side of the brain. You didn’t talk about levels of consciousness. I have seen that when I’m trying to work out a really big problem I’m using, I’m awake and I’m using one particular part of my brain, which was trying to work it out, trying to work it out, work crazy, and it has to sleep. There’s another part of my brain playing with possible futures, and it’s having a good time and it doesn’t have to sleep. In fact, when I’m sleeping, it’s still dreaming. It’s working and they don’t talk to each other. When I go into meditation and I’m more compassionate, both sides, then the one that’s working instead of looking a little bit saying, Stop playing. It looks at what’s playing with and it’s getting the same input and it says, pretty hole. That’s what I look for. Uh, my God, that’s the answer. So So therefore it’s awake is the hard work that side of brain the sleep is playing right. Possible futures and meditation is getting to work. Yes, I like that idea. And in fact, there’s something in the you know, one of the questions is, Why do we sleep? Another way of putting it is why do we wake? The answer may be to refuel, propagate the species and go back to sleep. But in any case, certainly not nothing happening when we are asleep. And certainly most of our conscious Sorry, most of, uh, the word consciousness is a slippery one. But most of our experience is non conscious, and I recently read a paper which amusingly, um, says that it is 99.44%. Uh, but you don’t have to buy the precision to get the point. So very little of anything we do is really fully in the spotlight of our awareness. And, um, A. And Whitehead said that, you know, we should be very careful about what we are fully conscious of because it’s like cavalry charges in battle. It requires enormous planning. It’s stressful on horses and waste resources. So, really, on the whole, what one wants to do is to be doing as much as possible outside of the glare of consciousness and on the whole, one of the things I’ve had to do over the years of um since the master and his emissary came out 10 years ago is to try and convince people that I’m not just saying what people have always said about, You know, the Left Hemisphere is rational and linguistic, and the right hemisphere is irrational, emotional and creative, and that on the whole these things are not true. But I’m afraid there is one there That is probably true, and I’ve really gone into it in fabulous detail for this book, and there is simply no way I can squirm out of this. The right hemisphere is more creative. It really is much more important to the creative process now. That’s not to say that the Left Hemisphere doesn’t come into it, but it comes into it at a later stage. So really, it can be the Gorgon stare that stops things getting going. But after things have got to a certain point, the Left Hemisphere can sort of refine them down. But what the right hemisphere is doing is absolutely not just letting it all hang out. It’s not doing a sort of brainstorming session in which anything stupid comes up. That’s a kind of ghastly travesty of what it is doing. It is actually able to go straight to the things that are most important. And this is something that lots of people have puzzled about. Einstein puzzle about it, the great French mathematician or a plank puzzled about it. Lots of scientists have puzzled about this because if you really did what science tells you to do, which is to take every proposition, um, on the same level of seriousness, until you examine the evidence for it, we never got anywhere at all. We’ve only taken seriously certain ideas intuitively, and these tend to be the fruitful ones. So there we are. I’m with you about that. The thing about meditation is also interesting, because if you can only get the left Hemisphere monkey made effectively to keep quiet, it can then learn quite a lot from the right hemisphere. And I think one of the things that we know is that in, uh, meditative techniques and also particularly in mindfulness, what one is doing is helping to, um uh, hello, uh, widespread networks, principally in the right hemisphere of the brain to become more active. This this is, uh, fascinating. um, is the wrong word, but it’s enriching to hear. And I just want to share my experience of being an intuitive left right brain person. Is that my left brain? My linear brain speaks to my intuitive brain in question, so it’ll throw out a question, and my Intuit brain intuitive brain will throw back a picture. And this could be how to design something complex, like a governance system. It happens in instantaneously. The question shows up, the picture shows up, and then the linear brain, the language brain describes it. And then, if I’m if the thought process, If the decoding of the picture is on track, then there’s a sense of well being or even exhilaration in the body in my back in particular. So there’s a sense of the wind in my sails and the moment that I’m making a wrong assumption or going into a an ego direction. There’s a constriction in the back, and it gets tested back with the intuitive brain in that process goes on and the delight. It’s a delightful experience. It’s a joyful experience. The other thing I I experience in in conversations, particularly when I’m close to somebody but sometimes just randomly is particularly yes, No questions. I know. And I I was with a very scientific animal scientist by training, but I was very scientific doctor friend, and he used to try and test me. But I would always know the answer to a yes, no question before it was asked. I just wouldn’t be intrigued about what the question would be, and she would try and cheat, and I would always know it, and we’d have a laugh about it. God, I knew that it was the case. So it just It’s lovely to hear you talk about these things, so I just Well, thank you very much. That’s absolutely fascinating. You should immediately offer yourself to Dean, Reagan and others to experiment on that. I would love to see more about that faculty of yours for knowing the answer to a question before it’s been not, um, that could prove very useful. Um, perhaps I could tap into you sometimes. Um, but, uh, it sounds fascinating. And of course, you’re exactly right about the way in which, um, answers come in pictures especially, like was your reference to the back. I’ve only heard that once before and I think, is there, Um, I think there is an economist called George Soros. Is that right? And an economist and investment guru. Anyway, he apparently, uh, consults the feeling in his back. He knows when it’s right when the feeling in his back in a certain way. If not, it’s wrong. And so you’re the second person only that I’ve ever heard referred to their back on this one. But, you know, on an n equals two there, there’s probably something going on. So I like that, um, just two little reflections. One is that Frank Gehry carried out a, um um, a survey of over 100 mathematicians and scientists and every single one of them said that their results came to them not by following a procedure, but by, uh, stopping to think stopping thinking about it, and something by analogy would come into their mind. They were just so many. And an analogy is, of course, a visual image. It’s a shape. It’s a it’s a three dimensional kind of fit to something. And it’s only later much later, uh, sometimes weeks later that people are able to justify their conclusions. I know this is right, But you know, I haven’t yet. We’re pathway and And the other nice thing is that after somebody read my book and they wrote to me saying, I am I’ve read horses all my life. And now I’ve retired Frenchman, actually. And now I’ve retired and I live in England and I make my money by going to the races. And I am a tipster. And my job is to do the form on the horses and then send in my results to people who will exploit the difference between my estimate and the odds to make them make good winnings. And to begin with. He was doing this and he would constantly say, uh straight away all these things. And then he goes. But why did I say that? He can’t be 20 to 1? No, make it 2 to 1. And then, of course, this horse would come in and win and eventually said to him, For God’s sake, don’t talk to us, just write them down and send them to us, because when you do there right, as soon as you start thinking about them, they go wrong, and he’s got masses of data on this both from him and from his company, which showed that provided he follows that he’s very sound otherwise not. Thank you. Mhm. Mhm. Considered in your research the Atlantic being let us, would he Mhm. Yeah. Choose? Yeah, there’s a lot of reverb on the microphone, and I I didn’t hear that very clearly. I think you said something about Vedanta, but that’s all I heard. So beginning with a pedantic idea of Of what? The mind, Beginning with malice, which is the monkey mind, right, Your booty, which is the faculty of description being able to choose between things. The next one is Chito, which is do with attitude or memory. Mm. And then, of course, mhm. You take this. Is there something you’ve taken on board in the What? I said, um, not specifically on the Vedanta. I mean, although they come up in things that I’m interested in, Um, but I’m not well enough versed in that. To be able to give you an opinion, I’d have to think about those faculties in relation to the brain to give you a sensible answer. But one thing I can say is that there are elements certainly in Buddhism, particularly in Daoism and Zan, which seemed to me to be enormously profound. And they make parallels for me with Harry Cletus, Um, and with some of the German Christian mystics, like my street cart and so forth. So there is a common body of knowledge. I mean, I’m not saying anything original here, I’m afraid, but which would support the idea that, um, the world looks like the way I’m going to describe right hemisphere as supporting a view of it. But, you know, what you’ve alerted me to is that I need to know more about the Vedanta, Right? Right? Uh huh. Yes, just right. Very sorry, Marilyn. I’m not hearing you again. Come back. Still conscious? Yes, because of recent mhm. You’re talking all right? Yes, right. Told In fact, Frank cost me. And what? Great. I mean, mhm, right? Yes. I just want to paraphrase what I think. I’ve heard you say that the consciousness doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the brain. Was that the question or us beyond the brain? I would I would contend that No, If I can just explain the question, say, let’s have so what I’ve decided what I’ve tried to work out for myself. Define it as awareness. Interpreter. Respond. Then I get consciousness of individual right. Like at the individual level of human beings are conscious through our senses. We know how they work in the brain. We But we’re aware. Okay? Yeah. Interaction. And you could also rock. Well, sure. Ice differently. Yeah, Watson. And it will. Now there has to be another way, people just Well, okay, as no awareness and knowing comes from interconnect. Mhm. Uh huh. Make cost another form of conscious thing that isn’t with everything else. Knows every bit nose for a little bit of doing. And so that’s an awareness definition as well. I think the consumer, Mike or yeah, aware of my sense versus the cosmic just being aware because everything Everything else one presented, no care solving. Uh huh. Just see you. What? And said Mhm. Yes, thank you. Um, one of the things that is a central theme of my book is the importance of the Union of Division and Union and the union on its own is not enough. And division is not enough. Um, and that union individual need constantly to be united. So a lot of the process of the cosmos. Seems to me to be about, um, separation in the sense of making things distinct but not separation in the sense of isolation. So the trick, as it were in creation, is that things are interconnected and yet sufficiently distinct to be, um, entities in their own right. And this is really the problem of the question, which is when I do address repeatedly, which could be looked at as the question of what is the relationship between the one and the many or the one and the 10,000 things. And it seems to me that in brief, what happens is that, um, what everyone likes to call the will want the sort of or even the UN grant, according to Burma. But the sort of basic what the, uh, Kabbala calls the names off, which was the first thing that is created something out of resistance. Um, it needs resistance for anything to come into being. There must be an element of resistance, and this resistance is highly creative. One way you could look at this is by thinking of a stream flowing, um, and any kind of resistance and it causes an edit to form. And then Eddie is for a while a real measurable photograph, a ball entity with quality of its own. But it’s not, in any sense, distinct from the water of the stream. It is, in fact, the water of the stream, as manifest at that moment in a certain way, waves in the sea or another way of thinking about it. But essentially, I think that relationship, um, another image that occurs to me will occur to you is that of a sort of cell that has, um, pseudo podia. Um and there are out pouch ing’s villa, if you like on cells where they are continuous with the cytoplasm of the cell. But only if you look at one point are they rooted in it. Everywhere else they appear to be bounded. So I think that our existence in relation to a broader existence is a bit like that. And my hypothesis, which is similar to the one of William James and, uh of F. C. S Schiller is that at the bread in is a a permit er of consciousness, not not even a transmitter about a permit. Er, in other words, it shapes and forms what form consciousness takes for us by a process of exclusion. Um, and the consciousness is not something emitted by the brain, not even perhaps transmitted but permitted through the brain. And that is what causes our capacity to be distinct. I won’t say anymore because other people probably want to answer questions that you can see that this is a very long argument over 100 pages or so. But, I mean, it’s what I am thinking about and writing about mhm, thank you very much. You almost okay, You almost tell my next question. Okay, it’s similar to this. You know, you already knew what I’m going to ask. But my question is, you half answering that like Neil, this experience of the situation that the brain almost died. There’s no e Jean’s brain in a person like me or the 16, but they’ve got full consciousness, and you can see and hear a lot of things attack. So in this case, it’s not in the physical brain, but a person got full consciousness. Two questions for you. It can be this consciousness without the brain. This is one question, and the second question if the brain is in some way both transmitter overseas or philtre of this is it. What is the function of the panel? And, you know, in the past, it believes it is like the seared in the pan it love, is it? What do you think the function from this point of funny. It’s a super function of the of the water. Graham. Oh, I’m sorry. The pineal gland. Sorry. Yes. Yes. And well, first of all, I’m thrilled that I have learned so quickly and remotely from the gentleman two rows behind you that I can answer your question before you asked it. But yes, I do think that consciousness exists, uh, out with the brain. Certainly. In fact, I think it exists in in, uh, in all things, depending on what you mean by consciousness. Clearly not self consciousness as we have it, But some form of enormous or experiential reality. There isn’t a shred of evidence. There is only an un based conviction that there is non experiential existence somewhere in the cosmos. We don’t know that, um, we have no evidence for that. Um, and people say, Well, surely you can’t believe a mountain has any kind of experience or awareness? Um uh, my answers. Well, what would you expect it to look like? If it did, would you expect it to be mowing the lawn and going to say, institution having a beer and probably not. And so, uh, no. I take it that that all things have this have this element of consciousness, and it helps to explain a number of things. Actually, one of them is how the brain seems able to generate. Seems to be aware that it’s lacking quite unlike any machine, certain faculties, and to regenerate them somewhere in the brain after damage it. That alone is a very interesting idea, actually, Not enough debated. I think the pineal is a funny old one. As you know. Of course, they can’t thought that it must be the seat of the soul, but on rather simplistic geometric grounds that it seemed to be the only bit that shared in both parts of the brain. Um, however, we now know that the pioneer generates DNT and has a number of properties that are rather interesting, um, aides, birds to navigate, using the earth’s electromagnetic field and so forth. So quite what goes on in the Pioneer is beyond most of us and certainly beyond me. I wouldn’t put a lot of money on it being the sort of seat of consciousness. However, now, in fact, I would like to put money on any little bit of the brain as being quote the seat of consciousness. Do you mind if I just I’m just gonna interject a quick question. Now in This is Ali, which is to bring us back to the matter of technology. Um, would you like to give us your your your kind of condensed version of how you see the effect of digital technology on the on the hemispheres or its relationship to them? Well, I mean, one of the things it does is to fragments attention, which would be, and if one had to align it with hemispheres, that’s distinctly what the Left Hemisphere tends to do. Um, it always is looking at what is a salient and moving on from one salient feature that catches its attention to another. Almost everything important in life has to be attended to patiently, slowly, without excitement and in silence. Um, and with a deep capacity to enter into something so technology militates against this. I mean, it has many advantages, one of them being that I can speak to you today in this way, and it has enabled me to write lots of things that are important. But I’m very worried about its broader impact hemispheres or or not, and partly on literacy and people’s willingness to stick with difficult reading matter, we know that it’s having an effect on attention span, which, you know an attention is not just another technical thing our brain does. Attention is the ground of basis for awareness of the world at all. It’s what brings the world into being. For us, it’s the basis of effective awareness to, you know, I love this saying, I’ve quoted it often by Louis Lavelle. Um, that love is a pure attention to the existence of the other. We’re getting out of the habit of paying pure attention to the existence of anything. So that’s a worry. But much else is incredibly worrying. I mean, one is the way in which it freezes are our lives, so that, you know no, I’m very wary of saying anything in a conference because somebody can tweet a phrase out of context and it never goes away. And it’s banded around. The world is this is the man who set this happens to people all the time. It happens to politicians, to judges to, um, to think as ideas removed from a complex context in which they make a different meaning and and then utterly, you know, Travis did, and they cannot be got rid of, um, also one of your speakers, I think, has made the point. Um, is it Ben? Uh, Marta that, uh, it’s had an effect on our social lives that were not willing to let our hair down. And some people take a photograph of us and and so forth. And it’s just happened to Jordan Peterson, who you know, was very kindly and rather thoughtlessly putting his arm around one after another of about 100 people who came up to have their photographs taken with him. One happened to have a T shirt on it with a slogan that is now kind of made him the victim of political correctness of Cambridge. So, you know, there’s all these worries as well as mind control. You know the way in which the thought bubbles on the Internet. People don’t hear opposite points of view. It causes extremist points of you have heard all of this, but also the way in which it will. It will absolutely stifle any kind of opposition. When governments become as indeed, they will become more authoritarian. I mean, we we we live in a in a false bubble of security that, you know, we’ve got a democratic government that on the whole way we have freedom. But we live in a very peculiar moment in the history of the world. It’s not normal, and normally governments will, and it will become more authoritarian. And when they do, big Brother has seen nothing like it. I mean, it will never have been anybody on the planet who could control the thoughts, the movements of people, uh, in the way that they now can hear. It’s already happening in China with the social credit system, about which you’ve probably talked in the conference. Um and it’s even happening in America with something called Predict Him, which, which uses computers to analyse all your strings on Facebook instagram all your your public presence in China. They can add your emails because they read them, um, and create a computer. Creates a score for you, is how trustworthy you are. And if you’re not trustworthy, you don’t get employed. And, you know, if you if you were an untrustworthy person, nobody wants to correspond with you because they become less trustworthy. So this is really the beginning of the erosion of the most important things that we have in life. Attention, trust and love for one another. And, you know, I really, really worry about Yeah. Uh, what would you What would you What? Have you got any Rebecca recommendations for us to mitigate against this? Well, yeah. The first thing is to see that there is a problem. I mean, my contribution is limited, but my contribution is to, as it were, raised, people’s awareness. What gives me hope is that wherever I go, people warm to what is? I’m telling them as though I’m Yeah, they never say, Oh, gosh, that’s where they say, You know what? I somehow knew all this at some level, but you give me a way of thinking about it, talking about it. So that is good. People need to talk about it. Debate these things in public. I think we need to be very, very much more careful about how we ration technology, how we use technology so that we don’t become the slaves of technology. I think we should roundly rebuffed fantasists like Kurtz violent his crew, who think that somehow we can make humanity better through technology. Dear God, we we What we will do with that is only as good as our moral and spiritual insight and our wisdom. And we don’t. Our moral and spiritual insight and wisdom are actually in regress at the moment, as indeed, his intelligence. Despite the so called Flynn effect, there’s now a reverse Flynn effect, which is which Flynn himself recognised and is concerned about, were becoming stupider as well. So giving us this, um, control and power, which which technology gives us is surely not a good thing. And it should be. You know, we we should have a precautionary principle about introducing any of these things because once they were introduced, it’s too late. And then we find out what the damage is.