In the episode entitled "What is Reality" of their podcast, The Infinite Monkey Cage, Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by US superstar neuroscientist David Eagleman, Professor Sophie Scott and comedian Bridget Christie to ponder what is reality, discussing the roles that language, culture and innate knowing has upon our own unique perception of the world.
Is it all in our heads?
Is our sense of the world around us a completely personal experience and a construct of our brains?
How can we ever know whether what one person perceives is exactly the same as what another person perceives?
This podcast explores unconsciousness awareness and how the brains subconscious processing power goes into an autopilot like state during activities such as baseball, where the ball moves faster than the conscious mind can perceive it. The subconscious mind considers available feedback data and fills in the gaps, building a model of the world, ie the balls trajectory and carries out the corresponding physical action process.
Cox and Ince probe Eagleman on the concept of Neural Pruning, how we lose some synapse connections but gain others. An example being human language and how as we get older, and are exposed to our particular cultural language, our ability to hear outside of the 'spectrum' disappears, discarded by the brain. A classic case of “Use it or lose it”
Eaglemen explains that "At two years old you will have more than you will ever have in your entire life, and from then on it's really about pruning back that overgrown garden. That pruning is essentially a Darwinian process; whatever is resonating with the world and getting used stays around and gets strengthened and all the other stuff goes away".
In his opus presentation "Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything" Wilson refers to this concept as a Reality Tunnel.
"Anthropologists started coming back with reports of alternative realities showing that no matter what reality tunnel you live in the world will organise itself in your perceptions to be compatible with that reality tunnel. So Science began to have data to look at Science itself critically. That's how intelligence increases. When Intelligence looks at intelligence and criticises intelligence. So we got to the point where we could look at science and say science is the product of people. People are doing this and they're prejudices are getting into it. It's not just enough to say, 'I will be objective', you've got to learn to change yourself from the inside out before you can even begin to approximate taught objectivity
You cant describe anything on the quantum level accurately unless you include the observer in your picture. So Quantum Physics turned out to be saying exactly the same thing that the psychedelic revolution was saying. That there is no objective reality separate from us. All we know is the reality that we are the co-creators of. The reality perceived, conceived, put together by our nervous systems and at this point it becomes obvious that intelligence can be raised, consciousness can be altered. Nothing is static all we have to do is learn how to change our nervous systems and we can go to wider and wider reality tunnels and bigger levels of perception and so on".
Once you get to the level where you are outside of your reality tunnel looking down at it, then you can compare reality tunnels and your at a higher level of intelligence already because you're no longer a conditioned mechanism just following the reality tunnel that was accidentally imprinted or conditioned and you can start choosing between reality tunnels".
Comedic icon and visionary Bill Hicks explains reality ever so succinctly in these his most profound insights.
For those of you prepared to venture ever deeper down the rabbit hole of perception, Physicist and consciousness researcher Dr Thomas Campbell’s work, entitled My Big T.O.E (Theory of Everything), gives a detailed big picture perspective on the nature of reality in terms of consciousness, logically and scientifically explaining the interconnection among the normal and the paranormal, mind and matter, physics and metaphysics, philosophy and theology.