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Explaining consciousness | David Chalmers

dilluns, 21/01/2019

 

Right now you have a movie playing inside your head. It’s an amazing multi-track movie. It has 3D vision and surround sound for what you’re seeing and hearing right now, but that’s just the start of it. Your movie has smell and taste and touch. It has a sense of your body, pain, hunger, orgasms. It has emotions, anger and happiness. It has memories, like scenes from your childhood playing before you. And it has this constant voiceover narrative in your stream of conscious thinking. At the heart of this movie is you experiencing all this directly. This movie is your stream of consciousness, the subject of experience of the mind and the world.
01:23

Consciousness is one of the fundamental facts of human existence. Each of us is conscious. We all have our own inner movie, you and you and you. There’s nothing we know about more directly. At least, I know about my consciousness directly. I can’t be certain that you guys are conscious.
01:47

Consciousness also is what makes life worth living. If we weren’t conscious, nothing in our lives would have meaning or value. But at the same time, it’s the most mysterious phenomenon in the universe. Why are we conscious? Why do we have these inner movies? Why aren’t we just robots who process all this input, produce all that output, without experiencing the inner movie at all? Right now, nobody knows the answers to those questions. I’m going to suggest that to integrate consciousness into science, some radical ideas may be needed.
02:31

Some people say a science of consciousness is impossible. Science, by its nature, is objective. Consciousness, by its nature, is subjective. So there can never be a science of consciousness. For much of the 20th century, that view held sway. Psychologists studied behavior objectively, neuroscientists studied the brain objectively, and nobody even mentioned consciousness. Even 30 years ago, when TED got started, there was very little scientific work on consciousness.
03:09

Now, about 20 years ago, all that began to change. Neuroscientists like Francis Crick and physicists like Roger Penrose said now is the time for science to attack consciousness. And since then, there’s been a real explosion, a flowering of scientific work on consciousness. And this work has been wonderful. It’s been great. But it also has some fundamental limitations so far. The centerpiece of the science of consciousness in recent years has been the search for correlations, correlations between certain areas of the brain and certain states of consciousness. We saw some of this kind of work from Nancy Kanwisher and the wonderful work she presented just a few minutes ago. Now we understand much better, for example, the kinds of brain areas that go along with the conscious experience of seeing faces or of feeling pain or of feeling happy. But this is still a science of correlations. It’s not a science of explanations. We know that these brain areas go along with certain kinds of conscious experience, but we don’t know why they do. I like to put this by saying that this kind of work from neuroscience is answering some of the questions we want answered about consciousness, the questions about what certain brain areas do and what they correlate with. But in a certain sense, those are the easy problems. No knock on the neuroscientists. There are no truly easy problems with consciousness. But it doesn’t address the real mystery at the core of this subject: why is it that all that physical processing in a brain should be accompanied by consciousness at all? Why is there this inner subjective movie? Right now, we don’t really have a bead on that.
05:13

And you might say, let’s just give neuroscience a few years. It’ll turn out to be another emergent phenomenon like traffic jams, like hurricanes, like life, and we’ll figure it out. The classical cases of emergence are all cases of emergent behavior, how a traffic jam behaves, how a hurricane functions, how a living organism reproduces and adapts and metabolizes, all questions about objective functioning. You could apply that to the human brain in explaining some of the behaviors and the functions of the human brain as emergent phenomena: how we walk, how we talk, how we play chess, all these questions about behavior. But when it comes to consciousness, questions about behavior are among the easy problems. When it comes to the hard problem, that’s the question of why is it that all this behavior is accompanied by subjective experience? And here, the standard paradigm of emergence, even the standard paradigms of neuroscience, don’t really, so far, have that much to say.
06:28

Now, I’m a scientific materialist at heart. I want a scientific theory of consciousness that works, and for a long time, I banged my head against the wall looking for a theory of consciousness in purely physical terms that would work. But I eventually came to the conclusion that that just didn’t work for systematic reasons. It’s a long story, but the core idea is just that what you get from purely reductionist explanations in physical terms, in brain-based terms, is stories about the functioning of a system, its structure, its dynamics, the behavior it produces, great for solving the easy problems — how we behave, how we function — but when it comes to subjective experience — why does all this feel like something from the inside? — that’s something fundamentally new, and it’s always a further question. So I think we’re at a kind of impasse here. We’ve got this wonderful, great chain of explanation, we’re used to it, where physics explains chemistry, chemistry explains biology, biology explains parts of psychology. But consciousness doesn’t seem to fit into this picture. On the one hand, it’s a datum that we’re conscious. On the other hand, we don’t know how to accommodate it into our scientific view of the world. So I think consciousness right now is a kind of anomaly, one that we need to integrate into our view of the world, but we don’t yet see how. Faced with an anomaly like this, radical ideas may be needed, and I think that we may need one or two ideas that initially seem crazy before we can come to grips with consciousness scientifically.
08:25

Now, there are a few candidates for what those crazy ideas might be. My friend Dan Dennett, who’s here today, has one. His crazy idea is that there is no hard problem of consciousness. The whole idea of the inner subjective movie involves a kind of illusion or confusion. Actually, all we’ve got to do is explain the objective functions, the behaviors of the brain, and then we’ve explained everything that needs to be explained. Well I say, more power to him. That’s the kind of radical idea that we need to explore if you want to have a purely reductionist brain-based theory of consciousness. At the same time, for me and for many other people, that view is a bit too close to simply denying the datum of consciousness to be satisfactory. So I go in a different direction. In the time remaining, I want to explore two crazy ideas that I think may have some promise.
09:26

The first crazy idea is that consciousness is fundamental. Physicists sometimes take some aspects of the universe as fundamental building blocks: space and time and mass. They postulate fundamental laws governing them, like the laws of gravity or of quantum mechanics. These fundamental properties and laws aren’t explained in terms of anything more basic. Rather, they’re taken as primitive, and you build up the world from there. Now sometimes, the list of fundamentals expands. In the 19th century, Maxwell figured out that you can’t explain electromagnetic phenomena in terms of the existing fundamentals — space, time, mass, Newton’s laws — so he postulated fundamental laws of electromagnetism and postulated electric charge as a fundamental element that those laws govern. I think that’s the situation we’re in with consciousness. If you can’t explain consciousness in terms of the existing fundamentals — space, time, mass, charge — then as a matter of logic, you need to expand the list. The natural thing to do is to postulate consciousness itself as something fundamental, a fundamental building block of nature. This doesn’t mean you suddenly can’t do science with it. This opens up the way for you to do science with it. What we then need is to study the fundamental laws governing consciousness, the laws that connect consciousness to other fundamentals: space, time, mass, physical processes. Physicists sometimes say that we want fundamental laws so simple that we could write them on the front of a t-shirt. Well I think something like that is the situation we’re in with consciousness. We want to find fundamental laws so simple we could write them on the front of a t-shirt. We don’t know what those laws are yet, but that’s what we’re after.
11:35

The second crazy idea is that consciousness might be universal. Every system might have some degree of consciousness. This view is sometimes called panpsychism: pan for all, psych for mind, every system is conscious, not just humans, dogs, mice, flies, but even Rob Knight’s microbes, elementary particles. Even a photon has some degree of consciousness. The idea is not that photons are intelligent or thinking. It’s not that a photon is wracked with angst because it’s thinking, “Aww, I’m always buzzing around near the speed of light. I never get to slow down and smell the roses.” No, not like that. But the thought is maybe photons might have some element of raw, subjective feeling, some primitive precursor to consciousness.
12:33

This may sound a bit kooky to you. I mean, why would anyone think such a crazy thing? Some motivation comes from the first crazy idea, that consciousness is fundamental. If it’s fundamental, like space and time and mass, it’s natural to suppose that it might be universal too, the way they are. It’s also worth noting that although the idea seems counter-intuitive to us, it’s much less counterintuitive to people from different cultures, where the human mind is seen as much more continuous with nature.
13:07

A deeper motivation comes from the idea that perhaps the most simple and powerful way to find fundamental laws connecting consciousness to physical processing is to link consciousness to information. Wherever there’s information processing, there’s consciousness. Complex information processing, like in a human, complex consciousness. Simple information processing, simple consciousness.
13:31

A really exciting thing is in recent years a neuroscientist, Giulio Tononi, has taken this kind of theory and developed it rigorously with a mathematical theory. He has a mathematical measure of information integration which he calls phi, measuring the amount of information integrated in a system. And he supposes that phi goes along with consciousness. So in a human brain, incredibly large amount of information integration, high degree of phi, a whole lot of consciousness. In a mouse, medium degree of information integration, still pretty significant, pretty serious amount of consciousness. But as you go down to worms, microbes, particles, the amount of phi falls off. The amount of information integration falls off, but it’s still non-zero. On Tononi’s theory, there’s still going to be a non-zero degree of consciousness. In effect, he’s proposing a funda-mental law of consciousness: high phi, high cons-ciousness. Now, I don’t know if this theory is right, but it’s actually perhaps the leading theory right now in the science of consciousness, and it’s been used to integrate a whole range of scientific data, and it does have a nice property that it is in fact simple enough you can write it on the front of a t-shirt.
14:49

Another final motivation is that panpsychism might help us to integrate consciousness into the physical world. Physicists and philosophers have often observed that physics is curiously abstract. It describes the structure of reality using a bunch of equations, but it doesn’t tell us about the reality that underlies it. As Stephen Hawking puts it, what puts the fire into the equations? Well, on the panpsychist view, you can leave the equations of physics as they are, but you can take them to be describing the flux of consciousness. That’s what physics really is ultimately doing, describing the flux of consciousness. On this view, it’s consciousness that puts the fire into the equations. On that view, consciousness doesn’t dangle outside the physical world as some kind of extra. It’s there right at its heart.
15:44

This view, I think, the panpsychist view, has the potential to transfigure our relationship to nature, and it may have some pretty serious social and ethical consequences. Some of these may be counterintuitive. I used to think I shouldn’t eat anything which is conscious, so therefore I should be vegetarian. Now, if you’re a panpsychist and you take that view, you’re going to go very hungry. So I think when you think about it, this tends to transfigure your views, whereas what matters for ethical purposes and moral considerations, not so much the fact of consciousness, but the degree and the complexity of consciousness.
16:27

It’s also natural to ask about consciousness in other systems, like computers. What about the artificially intelligent system in the movie “Her,” Samantha? Is she conscious? Well, if you take the informational, panpsychist view, she certainly has complicated information processing and integration, so the answer is very likely yes, she is conscious. If that’s right, it raises pretty serious ethical issues about both the ethics of developing intelligent computer systems and the ethics of turning them off.
17:00

Finally, you might ask about the consciousness of whole groups, the planet. Does Canada have its own consciousness? Or at a more local level, does an integrated group like the audience at a TED conference, are we right now having a collective TED consciousness, an inner movie for this collective TED group which is distinct from the inner movies of each of our parts? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I think it’s at least one worth taking seriously.
17:32

Okay, so this panpsychist vision, it is a radical one, and I don’t know that it’s correct. I’m actually more confident about the first crazy idea, that consciousness is fundamental, than about the second one, that it’s universal. I mean, the view raises any number of questions, has any number of challenges, like how do those little bits of consciousness add up to the kind of complex consciousness we know and love. If we can answer those questions, then I think we’re going to be well on our way to a serious theory of consciousness. If not, well, this is the hardest problem perhaps in science and philosophy. We can’t expect to solve it overnight. But I do think we’re going to figure it out eventually. Understanding consciousness is a real key, I think, both to understanding the universe and to understanding ourselves. It may just take the right crazy idea.

Thank you.

(Applause)

En este momento hay una película que se proyecta en sus mentes. Es una película multitrack increíble. Está en 3D y tiene sonido surround de lo que escuchan y ven ahora mismo. Pero eso es sólo el comienzo. Tu película tiene aroma, sabor y textura. Siente tu cuerpo, tu dolor, tu hambre, tu placer. Tiene emociones, enojo y felici-dad. Tiene recuerdos, como momentos de tu infancia que se proyectan ante tus ojos. Y tiene constantemente una voz superpuesta en tu flujo de pensamiento cons-ciente. El corazón de la película eres tú quien experi-menta todo en directo. Esta película es tu flujo de con-ciencia, el sujeto de la experiencia de la mente y del mundo.
01:22

La conciencia es una de las verdades fundamen-tales de la existencia del ser humano. Cada uno de nosotros es consciente. Todos tenemos una película interna propia, tú, tú y tú. No hay nada que conozcamos más directa-mente. Por lo menos, yo sé que tengo una conciencia propia. No tengo certeza de que Uds. sean conscientes.
01:47

La conciencia también es la razón de vivir. Si no fué-ramos conscientes, nada en nuestras vidas tendría sentido o valor. Pero al mismo tiempo es el fenómeno más misterioso del universo. ¿Por qué somos conscien-tes? ¿Por qué tenemos estas películas internas? ¿Por qué no somos sólo robots que procesamsos lo que recibimos para producir resultados sin experimentar la película interna? En este momento, nadie sabe las res-puestas a esas preguntas. Sugiero que para integrar la conciencia a la ciencia, se necesitan algunas ideas radicales.
02:31

Algunas personas dicen que es imposible una ciencia de la conciencia. La ciencia, por naturaleza, es objetiva. La conciencia, por naturaleza, es subjetiva. Entonces nunca puede existir una ciencia de la con-ciencia. Porque durante casi todo el siglo XX, predominó esa visión. La psicología estudiaba el comportamiento objetivamente, La neurociencia estudiaba el cerebro objetivamente, pero nunca nadie mencionó la conciencia. Incluso hace 30 años, cuando TED comenzó, había muy pocos trabajos científicos sobre la conciencia.
03:09

Despues, hace 20 años, todo comenzó a cambiar. Neurocientíficos como Francis Crick y físicos como Roger Penrose dijeron: “ahora es el momento para que la ciencia aborde la conciencia”. Y desde entonces, hubo una verdadera explosión, un florecimiento del trabajo científico sobre la conciencia. Y este trabajo fue fantástico. Fue genial. Pero también tiene limitaciones fundamentales hasta el momento. El centro de la ciencia de la conciencia en los años recientes fue la búsqueda de correlaciones, correlaciones entre algunas áreas del cerebro y algunos estados de la conciencia. Vimos algo de este tipo en el fantástico trabajo que presentó Nancy Kanwisher hace unos minutos. Ahora entendemos mucho mejor, por ejemplo, las áreas del cerebro que están relacionadas con la experiencia consciente de ver caras o de sentir dolor o de sentirse feliz. Pero esta sigue siendo una ciencia de correlaciones. No es una ciencia de explicaciones. Sabemos que estas áreas del cerebro están relacionadas con ciertos tipos de experiencias conscientes, pero no sabemos por qué. Me gustaría explicarlo diciendo que este tipo de trabajo de la neurociencia responde algunas preguntas que queremos que explique la conciencia. Las preguntas sobre lo que hacen ciertas áreas del cerebro y con qué se correlacionan. Pero en un sentido, esos son los problemas fáciles, sin ofender a los neurocientíficos. En realidad, no hay problemas fáciles con la conciencia. Pues no aborda el verdadero misterio central de esta materia: ¿Por qué todo proceso físico en el cerebro tiene que estar acompañado por la conciencia? ¿Por qué existe una película interna subjetiva? En este momento, no lo podemos entender.
05:13

Y Uds. pueden decir, démosle unos años a la neuro-ciencia. Se va a convertir en otro fenómeno emergente como los embotellamientos, como los huracanes, como la vida, y vamos a encontrar explicación. Los surgi-mientos típicos son todos casos de comportamientos emergentes, cómo operan los embotellamientos, cómo funcionan los huracanes, cómo se reproducen, se adaptan y metabolizan los organismos vivos. Todas son preguntas sobre el funcionamiento objetivo. Eso se podría aplicar al cerebro humano para explicar algunos comportamientos y las funciones del cerebro humano como un fenómeno emergente: cómo caminamos, cómo hablamos, cómo jugamos ajedrez; todas son preguntas sobre el comportamiento. Pero cuando se trata de la conciencia, las preguntas sobre el comportamiento están entre los problemas fáciles. Pero el problema difícil, es la pregunta de ¿por qué es que todo comportamiento está acompañado de una experiencia subjetiva? Y aquí está, el paradigma estándar del surgimiento, el paradigma estándar de la neurociencia, en realidad todavía no tiene mucho que decir.
06:28

Yo soy un materialista científico de corazón. Quiero una teoría científica de la autoreflexión que funcione. Durante mucho tiempo, me golpeaba la cabeza contra la pared buscando una teoría de la conciencia en puros términos físicos que funcionara. Pero al final llegué a la conclusión que eso no funcionaba por razones sistemáticas. Es una larga historia, pero la idea es que lo que consigues a partir de explicaciones puramente reduccionistas en términos físicos, en términos basados en el cerebro, son historias sobre el funcionamiento de un sistema; su estructura, su dinámica, el comportamiento que produce. Genial para resolver problemas fáciles: cómo nos comportamos, cómo funcionamos. Pero cuando se trata de experiencia subjetiva, ¿por qué todo se siente como si proviniera de adentro? Eso es algo fundamentalmente nuevo, y es siempre una pregunta para más adelante. Creo que nos estancamos en este punto. Tenemos una cadena de explicaciones maravillosa, genial. Nos acostumbramos a esto; la física explica la química, la química explica la biología, la biología explica parte de la psicología. Pero la conciencia no parece encajar en este esquema. Por un lado, es un hecho que somos conscientes. Por otro, no sabemos cómo acomodar esa idea a nuestra visión científica del mundo. Creo que la conciencia, ahora mismo, es una especie de anomalía, algo que nece-sitamos integrar a nuestra visión del mundo, pero no sabemos todavía cómo. Con una anomalía como esta, se pueden necesitar ideas radicales. Creo que necesi-tamos ideas que al principio parecerán locas, antes de poder lidiar con la conciencia de una manera científica.
08:25

Hay algunas posibilidades para esas ideas locas. Mi amigo Dan Dennett, que está aquí hoy, tiene una. Su idea loca es que no existe tal problema difícil de la conciencia. Toda la idea de la película subjetiva interna incluye una especie de ilusión o confusión. En realidad, lo que hay que hacer, es explicar las funciones objetivas, los comportamientos del cerebro. Y así se estudia todo lo que necesita explicación. Bueno, más poder para él. Ese es el tipo de idea radical que necesitamos explorar si queremos tener una teoría de la conciencia puramente reduccionista, basada en el cerebro. Al mismo tiempo, para mí y para muchos otros, esa visión está bastante cercana a simplemente negar que la observación de la conciencia sea satisfactoria. Pero yo voy en una dirección diferente. En el tiempo que queda, quiero explorar dos ideas locas que creo pueden ser prometedoras.
09:26

La primera idea loca es que la conciencia es fundamental. Los físicos a veces toman algunos aspectos del universo como ladrillos fundamentales: el espacio, el tiempo y la masa. Postulan leyes fundamentales que los gobiernan, como las leyes de gravedad o de mecánica cuántica. Estas leyes y propiedades fundamentales no se explican en términos de nada más básico. Al contrario, se consideran fundamentales, y de ahí se construye el mundo. A veces, la lista de lo fundamental se alarga. En el siglo XIX Maxwell descubrió que no se pueden explicar los fenómenos electromagnéticos en términos de conceptos fundamentales preexistentes, espacio, tiempo, masa, leyes de Newton. Entonces postuló las leyes básicas del electromagnetismo. Y postuló la carga eléctrica como un concepto fundamental que esas leyes gobiernan. Creo que esa es la situación en que nos encontramos con la conciencia. Si no se puede explicar la conciencia en términos de ideas fundamentales preexistentes, espacio, tiempo, masa, carga, entonces por cuestión de lógica, hay que alargar la lista. Lo más natural sería postular la conciencia misma como algo fundamental, un ladrillo fundamental de la naturaleza. Esto no significa que de repente no sea objeto de la ciencia, sino que abre el camino para manejarla científicamente. Entonces lo que necesitamos es estudiar las leyes fundamentales que gobiernan la conciencia, las leyes que conectan la conciencia con otros conceptos fundamentales: el espacio, el tiempo, la masa, procesos físicos. Los físicos a veces dicen que queremos leyes fundamentales tan simples que las podamos estampar en una remera. La situación de la conciencia es algo así. Queremos encontrar leyes fundamentales tan simples que las podamos estampar en una camiseta. Todavía no sabemos qué leyes son, pero eso es lo que buscamos.

11:35

La segunda idea loca es que la conciencia puede ser universal. Cada sistema puede tener un grado de conciencia. Esta visión a veces se llama panpsiquismo: “Pan” por todos, “psiqui” por mente, cada sistema es consciente, no solamente los humanos, los perros, los ratones, las moscas, incluso los microbios de Rob Knight, las partículas elementales. Incluso un fotón tiene algún grado de conciencia. La idea no es que los fotones sean inteligentes o que piensen. No es que un fotón pueda estar lleno de angustia cuando piensa “Ay, siempre viajando a la velocidad de la luz. Nunca puedo desa-celerar y oler las rosas”. No, así no. Pero el pensamiento es que quizás los fotones pueden tener algún elemento de sentimiento crudo, subjetivo, algún precursor primitivo de la conciencia.
12:33

Esto puede sonar un poco loco para Uds. ¿Cómo alguien pensaría algo tan loco? En parte esto proviene de la primera idea loca, que la conciencia es algo fundamen-tal. Si es fundamental, como el espacio, el tiempo y la masa, es natural suponer que también puede ser univer-sal, igual que los otros. También vale la pena notar que aunque la idea nos parece ilógica, lo es mucho menos para las personas de culturas diferentes, donde la mente humana parece más un continuo con la naturaleza.
13:07

Una razón más profunda proviene de la idea de que quizás la forma más simple y poderosa de encontrar leyes fundamentales que relacionen el pensamiento con el proceso físico, es vinculando la conciencia con la información. Siempre que hay procesamiento de infor-mación, hay conciencia. Procesamiento de infomación compleja, como en un ser humano, conciencia compleja. Procesamiento de información simple, conciencia simple.
13:31

Algo muy emocionante es que en los años recientes un neurocientífico, Giulio Tononi, tomó este tipo de teoría y la desarrolló rigurosamente con métodos matemáticos. Tiene una medida matemática de integración de la infor-mación, que llama phi, que mide el grado de información integrada en un sistema. Y supone que phi tiene que ver con la conciencia. Entonces en un cerebro humano, hay un increíble grado alto de integración de información, un grado alto de phi, mucha conciencia. En un ratón hay un grado medio de integración de información, igual bas-tante significativo, grado de conciencia bastante impor-tante. Pero cuando se llega a las lombrices, microbios, partículas, el grado de phi decae. El nivel de integración de información es menor, pero no es cero tampoco. En la teoría de Tononi, todavía habrá un nivel de conciencia diferente de cero. De hecho propone una ley funda-mental de la conciencia: alto grado de phi, alto grado de conciencia. No se si esta teoría es correcta, pero es probablemente la principal teoría en este momento en la ciencia de la conciencia. Se utiliza para integrar toda la gama de información científica. Tiene una buena propiedad que, de hecho, es lo suficiente-mente simple como para estamparla en una camiseta.
14:49

Además, otra razón es que el panpsiquismo puede ayudarnos a integrar la conciencia al mundo físico. Los físicos y los filósofos con frecuencia han observado que la física es curiosamente abstracta. Describe la estruc-tura de la realidad usando un montón de ecuaciones, pero no nos habla sobre la realidad que subyace debajo. Como explica Stephen Hawking, “¿De dónde sale el fuego de las ecuaciones?” Desde la visión panpsíquica las ecuaciones de la física se pueden dejar como están, pero se pueden usar para describir el flujo de la conciencia. Eso es lo que los físicos hacen básicamente, describen el flujo de la conciencia. Según esta visión, la conciencia es la que le pone fuego en las ecuaciones. En esa visión, la conciencia no se encuentra fuera del mundo físico como una especie de aditivo. Está ahí mismo en el centro.
15:44

Esta visión, creo, la visión panpsíquica, tiene el potencial para transfigurar nuestra relación con la naturaleza, y puede tener consecuencias sociales y éticas bastante serias. Algunas pueden ser ilógicas. Yo solía pensar que no debía comer nada que tuviera conciencia, entonces debía ser vegetariano. Si eres un panpsíquico y aceptas esa visión, tendrás mucha hambre. Creo que pensándolo bien, esto tiende a transformar tus visiones, mientras que lo que importa en términos éticos y consideraciones morales, no es tanto el hecho de la conciencia, sino su importancia y su complejidad.
16:26

También es natural preguntar por la conciencia en otros sistemas, como las computadoras. ¿Qué hay sobre el sistema de inteligencia artificial de Samantha en la película “Her”? ¿Es consciente? Según la visión de la información panpsíquica, ella tiene un procesamiento de información complicado, integrado, de modo que la respuesta es sí, si es consciente. Si esto es correcto, se plantean problemas éticos bastante serios sobre la ética del desarrollo de sistemas de computadoras inteligentes y la ética de apagarlos.
17:00

Finalmente, Uds. pueden preguntar por la conciencia de colectivos completos, el planeta. ¿Canadá tiene su propia conciencia? O a un nivel más local, ¿un grupo integrado, como la audiencia en una charla TED. ¿En este momento tenemos una conciencia colectiva TED, una película interna para este grupo completo de TED, distinta de las películas internas de cada una de las partes? No sé la respuesta a esa pregunta, pero creo que al menos es una pregunta que debe tomarse en serio.

17:32

Entonces esta vision panpsíquica, es una visión radical, y no sé si es correcta. En realidad estoy más seguro de la primer idea loca, que la conciencia es algo fundamental, que de la segunda, de que sea universal. La visión plantea muchas preguntas, muchos desafíos, como, cómo esos pedacitos de pensamiento contribuyen al tipo de conciencia compleja que conocemos y nos encanta. Si podemos responder a esas preguntas, entonces creo que vamos por el camino correcto hacia una teoría de la conciencia seria. Si no, bueno, probablemente éste es el problema más difícil de la ciencia y de la filosofía. No podemos esperar resolverlo de la noche a la mañana. Pero creo que finalmente lo iremos a descubrir. Entender la conciencia es la verdadera clave, creo, para entender el universo y para entendernos a nosotros mismos. Quizás sólo necesitemos la idea loca correcta.

Gracias.

(Aplausos)

Antonio Damasio: understanding consciousness

diumenge, 20/01/2019

 

Transcript Translated by Carme Cloquells
Reviewed by Llorenç Pons
I’m here to talk about the wonder and the mystery of conscious minds. The wonder is about the fact that we all woke up this morning and we had with it the amazing return of our conscious mind. We recovered minds with a complete sense of self and a complete sense of our own existence, yet we hardly ever pause to consider this wonder. We should, in fact, because without having this possibility of conscious minds, we would have no knowledge whatsoever about our humanity; we would have no knowledge whatsoever about the world. We would have no pains, but also no joys. We would have no access to love or to the ability to create. And of course, Scott Fitzgerald said famously that “he who invented consciousness would have a lot to be blamed for.” But he also forgot that without consciousness, he would have no access to true happiness and even the possibility of transcendence.So much for the wonder, now for the mystery. This is a mystery that has really been extremely hard to elucidate. All the way back into early philosophy and certainly throughout the history of neuroscience, this has been one mystery that has always resisted elucidation, has got major controversies. And there are actually many people that think we should not even touch it; we should just leave it alone, it’s not to be solved. I don’t believe that, and I think the situation is changing. It would be ridiculous to claim that we know how we make consciousness in our brains, but we certainly can begin to approach the question, and we can begin to see the shape of a solution.

02:01

And one more wonder to celebrate is the fact that we have imaging technologies that now allow us to go inside the human brain and be able to do, for example, what you’re seeing right now. These are images that come from Hanna Damasio’s lab, and which show you, in a living brain, the reconstruction of that brain. And this is a person who is alive. This is not a person that is being studied at autopsy. And even more — and this is something that one can be really amazed about — is what I’m going to show you next, which is going underneath the surface of the brain and actually looking in the living brain at real connections, real pathways. So all of those colored lines correspond to bunches of axons, the fibers that join cell bodies to synapses. And I’m sorry to disappoint you, they don’t come in color. But at any rate, they are there. The colors are codes for the direction, from whether it is back to front or vice versa.

03:09

At any rate, what is consciousness? What is a conscious mind? And we could take a very simple view and say, well, it is that which we lose when we fall into deep sleep without dreams, or when we go under anesthesia, and it is what we regain when we recover from sleep or from anesthesia. But what is exactly that stuff that we lose under anesthesia, or when we are in deep, dreamless sleep? Well first of all, it is a mind, which is a flow of mental images. And of course consider images that can be sensory patterns, visual, such as you’re having right now in relation to the stage and me, or auditory images, as you are having now in relation to my words. That flow of mental images is mind.

04:01

But there is something else that we are all experiencing in this room. We are not passive exhibitors of visual or auditory or tactile images. We have selves. We have a Me that is automatically present in our minds right now. We own our minds. And we have a sense that it’s everyone of us that is experiencing this — not the person who is sitting next to you. So in order to have a conscious mind, you have a self within the conscious mind. So a conscious mind is a mind with a self in it. The self introduces the subjective perspective in the mind, and we are only fully conscious when self comes to mind. So what we need to know to even address this mystery is, number one, how are minds, are put together in the brain, and, number two, how selves are constructed.

04:57

Now the first part, the first problem, is relatively easy — it’s not easy at all — but it is something that has been approached gradually in neuroscience. And it’s quite clear that, in order to make minds, we need to construct neural maps. So imagine a grid, like the one I’m showing you right now, and now imagine, within that grid, that two-dimensional sheet, imagine neurons. And picture, if you will, a billboard, a digital billboard, where you have elements that can be either lit or not. And depending on how you create the pattern of lighting or not lighting, the digital elements, or, for that matter, the neurons in the sheet, you’re going to be able to construct a map. This, of course, is a visual map that I’m showing you, but this applies to any kind of map — auditory, for example, in relation to sound frequencies, or to the maps that we construct with our skin in relation to an object that we palpate.

05:56

Now to bring home the point of how close it is — the relationship between the grid of neurons and the topographical arrangement of the activity of the neurons and our mental experience — I’m going to tell you a personal story. So if I cover my left eye — I’m talking about me personally, not all of you — if I cover my left eye, I look at the grid — pretty much like the one I’m showing you. Everything is nice and fine and perpendicular. But sometime ago, I discovered that if I cover my left eye, instead what I get is this. I look at the grid and I see a warping at the edge of my central-left field.

06:37

Very odd — I’ve analyzed this for a while. But sometimes ago, through the help of an ophthalmologist colleague of mine, Carmen Puliafito, who developed a laser scanner of the retina, I found out the the following. If I scan my retina through the horizontal plane that you see there in the little corner, what I get is the following. On the right side, my retina is perfectly symmetrical. You see the going down towards the fovea where the optic nerve begins. But on my left retina there is a bump, which is marked there by the red arrow. And it corresponds to a little cyst that is located below. And that is exactly what causes the warping of my visual image.

07:21

So just think of this: you have a grid of neurons, and now you have a plane mechanical change in the position of the grid, and you get a warping of your mental experience. So this is how close your mental experience and the activity of the neurons in the retina, which is a part of the brain located in the eyeball, or, for that matter, a sheet of visual cortex. So from the retina you go onto visual cortex. And of course, the brain adds on a lot of information to what is going on in the signals that come from the retina. And in that image there, you see a variety of islands of what I call image-making regions in the brain. You have the green for example, that corresponds to tactile information, or the blue that corresponds to auditory information.

08:12

And something else that happens is that those image-making regions where you have the plotting of all these neural maps, can then provide signals to this ocean of purple that you see around, which is the association cortex, where you can make records of what went on in those islands of image-making. And the great beauty is that you can then go from memory, out of those association cortices, and produce back images in the very same regions that have perception. So think about how wonderfully convenient and lazy the brain is. So it provides certain areas for perception and image-making. And those are exactly the same that are going to be used for image-making when we recall information.

09:03

So far the mystery of the conscious mind is diminishing a little bit because we have a general sense of how we make these images. But what about the self? The self is really the elusive problem. And for a long time, people did not even want to touch it, because they’d say, “How can you have this reference point, this stability, that is required to maintain the continuity of selves day after day?” And I thought about a solution to this problem. It’s the following. We generate brain maps of the body’s interior and use them as the reference for all other maps.

09:43

So let me tell you just a little bit about how I came to this. I came to this because, if you’re going to have a reference that we know as self — the Me, the I in our own processing — we need to have something that is stable, something that does not deviate much from day to day. Well it so happens that we have a singular body. We have one body, not two, not three. And so that is a beginning. There is just one reference point, which is the body. But then, of course, the body has many parts, and things grow at different rates, and they have different sizes and different people; however, not so with the interior. The things that have to do with what is known as our internal milieu — for example, the whole management of the chemistries within our body are, in fact, extremely maintained day after day for one very good reason. If you deviate too much in the parameters that are close to the midline of that life-permitting survival range, you go into disease or death. So we have an in-built system within our own lives that ensures some kind of continuity. I like to call it an almost infinite sameness from day to day. Because if you don’t have that sameness, physiologically, you’re going to be sick or you’re going to die. So that’s one more element for this continuity.

11:08

And the final thing is that there is a very tight coupling between the regulation of our body within the brain and the body itself, unlike any other coupling. So for example, I’m making images of you, but there’s no physiological bond between the images I have of you as an audience and my brain. However, there is a close, permanently maintained bond between the body regulating parts of my brain and my own body.

11:40

So here’s how it looks. Look at the region there. There is the brain stem in between the cerebral cortex and the spinal cord. And it is within that region that I’m going to highlight now that we have this housing of all the life-regulation devices of the body. This is so specific that, for example, if you look at the part that is covered in red in the upper part of the brain stem, if you damage that as a result of a stroke, for example, what you get is coma or vegetative state, which is a state, of course, in which your mind disappears, your consciousness disappears. What happens then actually is that you lose the grounding of the self, you have no longer access to any feeling of your own existence, and, in fact, there can be images going on, being formed in the cerebral cortex, except you don’t know they’re there. You have, in effect, lost consciousness when you have damage to that red section of the brain stem.

12:44

But if you consider the green part of the brain stem, nothing like that happens. It is that specific. So in that green component of the brain stem, if you damage it, and often it happens, what you get is complete paralysis, but your conscious mind is maintained. You feel, you know, you have a fully conscious mind that you can report very indirectly. This is a horrific condition. You don’t want to see it. And people are, in fact, imprisoned within their own bodies, but they do have a mind. There was a very interesting film, one of the rare good films done about a situation like this, by Julian Schnabel some years ago about a patient that was in that condition.

13:28

So now I’m going to show you a picture. I promise not to say anything about this, except this is to frighten you. It’s just to tell you that in that red section of the brain stem, there are, to make it simple, all those little squares that correspond to modules that actually make brain maps of different aspects of our interior, different aspects of our body. They are exquisitely topographic and they are exquisitely interconnected in a recursive pattern. And it is out of this and out of this tight coupling between the brain stem and the body that I believe — and I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am — that you generate this mapping of the body that provides the grounding for the self and that comes in the form of feelings — primordial feelings, by the way.

 

So what is the picture that we get here? Look at “cerebral cortex,” look at “brain stem,” look at “body,” and you get the picture of the interconnectivity in which you have the brain stem providing the grounding for the self in a very tight interconnection with the body. And you have the cerebral cortex providing the great spectacle of our minds with the profusion of images that are, in fact, the contents of our minds and that we normally pay most attention to, as we should, because that’s really the film that is rolling in our minds. But look at the arrows. They’re not there for looks. They’re there because there’s this very close interaction. You cannot have a conscious mind if you don’t have the interaction between cerebral cortex and brain stem. You cannot have a conscious mind if you don’t have the interaction between the brain stem and the body.

 

Another thing that is interesting is that the brain stem that we have is shared with a variety of other species. So throughout vertebrates, the design of the brain stem is very similar to ours, which is one of the reasons why I think those other species have conscious minds like we do. Except that they’re not as rich as ours, because they don’t have a cerebral cortex like we do. That’s where the difference is. And I strongly disagree with the idea that consciousness should be considered as the great product of the cerebral cortex. Only the wealth of our minds is, not the very fact that we have a self that we can refer to our own existence, and that we have any sense of person.

 

Now there are three levels of self to consider — the proto, the core and the autobiographical. The first two are shared with many, many other species, and they are really coming out largely of the brain stem and whatever there is of cortex in those species. It’s the autobiographical self which some species have, I think. Cetaceans and primates have also an autobiographical self to a certain degree. And everybody’s dogs at home have an autobiographical self to a certain degree. But the novelty is here.

 

The autobiographical self is built on the basis of past memories and memories of the plans that we have made; it’s the lived past and the anticipated future. And the autobiographical self has prompted extended memory, reasoning, imagination, creativity and language. And out of that came the instruments of culture — religions, justice, trade, the arts, science, technology. And it is within that culture that we really can get — and this is the novelty — something that is not entirely set by our biology. It is developed in the cultures. It developed in collectives of human beings. And this is, of course, the culture where we have developed something that I like to call socio-cultural regulation.

 

And finally, you could rightly ask, why care about this? Why care if it is the brain stem or the cerebral cortex and how this is made? Three reasons. First, curiosity. Primates are extremely curious — and humans most of all. And if we are interested, for example, in the fact that anti-gravity is pulling galaxies away from the Earth, why should we not be interested in what is going on inside of human beings?

 

Second, understanding society and culture. We should look at how society and culture in this socio-cultural regulation are a work in progress. And finally, medicine. Let’s not forget that some of the worst diseases of humankind are diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease, drug addiction. Think of strokes that can devastate your mind or render you unconscious. You have no prayer of treating those diseases effectively and in a non-serendipitous way if you do not know how this works. So that’s a very good reason beyond curiosity to justify what we’re doing, and to justify having some interest in what is going on in our brains.

Thank you for your attention.

(Applause)

Sóc aquí per a parlar de la meravella i el misteri de la ment conscient. La meravella és sobre el fet que en despertar aquest matí recuperem sorprenentment la nostra ment conscient. Recuperem la ment sota una completa sensació de ser i una sensació d’existència pròpia, però gairebé mai ens aturem a considerar aquesta meravella. Hauríem fer-ho, en realitat, perquè sense la possibilitat d’una ment conscient, no tindríem cap coneixement sobre la nostra humanitat; no tindríem cap coneixement sobre el món. No tindríem dolors, però tampoc alegries. No accediríem a l’amor o a la capacitat de crear. I per descomptat, com va dir Scott Fitzgerald: “Qui va descobrir la consciència va cometre un pecat mortal. ” Però ell també va oblidar que sense consciència no hauria accés a la veritable felicitat, i fins i tot, a la possibilitat de transcendir.Fins aquí per la meravella, ara el misteri. Aquest és un misteri que ha estat extremadament difícil d’elucidar. Des dels començaments de la filosofia i sens dubte, al llarg de la història de la neuro-ciència, aquest ha estat un misteri que sempre s’ha resistit a l’elucidació, i ha plantejat grans controvèrsies. I fins i tot hi ha molts que pensen que no hauríem tractar-lo; hauríem deixar-ho com està, que no serà resolt. Jo no ho crec, i crec que les circumstàncies estan canviant. Seria ridícul afirmar que sabem com es crea la consciència en els nostres cervells, però per descomptat, podem començar plantejant la qüestió i començar a veure el desenvolupament d’una solució.

I una altra meravella per celebrar és que tenim tecnologies d’imatge que ens permeten entrar al cervell humà, i accedir, per exemple, al que veuen en aquest moment. Aquestes són imatges del laboratori Hanna Damasio, on es mostra la reconstrucció d’un cervell viu. I aquesta és una persona viva. Aquest no és l’estudi d’una autòpsia. I fins i tot el que els mostraré a continuació, és una cosa que pot sorprendre’ls realment, i que va per sota de la superfície cerebral, i fins i tot observant en el cervell viu, les connexions, les vies reals. De manera que aquestes línies acolorides corresponen a grups d’axons, les fibres que uneixen els cossos cel·lulars en les sinapsis. I disculpin per decebre’ls, aquestes no són de colors. Sigui com sigui, elles són allà. Els colors serveixen per indicar la direcció, si va de darrere a endavant o viceversa.

 

De tota manera, què és la consciència? Què és una ment conscient? I a primera vista, podríem dir que és allò que perdem en caure en un somni profund sense somnis, o sota anestèsia; I és allò que recobrem al despertar o després dels efectes de l’anestèsia. Però què és allò que perdem precisament sota anes-tèsia, o en estat de son profund sense somnis? Bé, en primer lloc, és una ment, el que significa que és un flux d’imatges mentals. I per descomptat considerar les imatges com a patrons sensorials. En aquest cas, les imatges són visuals, en relació a l’escenari i a mi, o imatges auditives, en relació a les meves paraules. Aquest flux d’imatges mentals és la ment.

 

Però hi ha alguna cosa més que experimentem en aquest recinte. No som exhibidors passius d’imatges visuals, auditives o tàctils. Tots tenim un si mateix. Tenim un jo que és present involuntàriament en les nostres ments en aquest moment. posseïm les nostres ments I tenim la sensació que cada un de nosaltres ho està experimentant, i no la persona asseguda al seu costat. Així que per tenir una ment conscient, tindran un si mateix dins de la ment conscient. Per tant, una ment conscient és una ment amb un si mateix en ella. El sí mateix introdueix la perspectiva subjectiva en la ment, i només som completament conscients quan el si mateix ve a la ment. Llavors el que necessitem saber per abordar aquest misteri és, en primer lloc, com la ment s’uneix al cervell i segon, com es construeix el sí mateix.

Doncs bé, el primer problema és relativament senzill, però és una cosa que s’ha abordat progressivament en neurociència. I està ben clar que per constituir la ment, és necessari construir mapes neuronals. Així, imaginin una quadrícula com la que mostro, i imaginin en aquesta quadrícula un full de dues dimensions; imaginin neurones. Una presentació, si es vol, una cartellera digital, amb elements que poden il·luminar o no. I d’acord a com es creï el patró d’il·luminació o no, els elements digitals, o en aquest cas, les neurones en el full, podran construir un mapa. Això que els mostro és, per descomptat, un mapa visual però s’aplica a tot tipus de mapa, per exemple, auditiu, en relació a les freqüències de so, o els mapes construïts amb la pell, quan es palpa un objecte.

 

 

Per entendre el prop que està la relació entre la quadrícula de neurones i la disposició topogràfica de l’activitat neuronal i la nostra experiència mental, els explicaré una experiència personal. Si cobreixo el meu ull esquerre- parlo de mi i no de cap de vostès -, si cobreixo el meu ull esquerre, i miro la quadrícula, molt similar a la que els estic mostrant; tot està bé, correcte, i perpendicular. Però fa algun temps vaig descobrir que si cobreixo el meu ull esquerre, el que veig és això. Veig una deformació a la vora de l’àrea central esquerra.

 

 

Molt estrany; l’he analitzat durant un temps. Però fa algun temps, mitjançant l’ajuda d’una col·lega oftalmòloga, Carmen Puliafito, qui va desenvolupar un escàner làser de la retina, vaig trobar el següent. Si escaneig meva retina mitjançant un pla horitzontal com el que es veu allà al racó, el que s’obté és el següent. A la part dreta, la meva retina és perfectament simètrica. Observin la baixada cap a la fòvea, que és on comença el nervi òptic. Però a la meva retina esquerra hi ha un sot, assenyalat per la fletxa vermella. Correspon a un petit quist situat per sota. I és això exactament el que causa la deformació de la meva visió.

 

 

 

Pensin en això: tenen una quadrícula de neurones, i es produeix un canvi mecànic pla en la posició de la quadrícula, i s’obté una deformació de la seva experiència mental. Mostra la proximitat que hi ha entre la seva experiència mental i l’activitat de les neurones a la retina, que és la part del cervell localitzat en el globus ocular, o en aquest cas, una capa de l’escorça visual. Llavors, va des de la retina cap a l’escorça visual. I per descomptat, el cervell afegeix molta informació respecte a els senyals que provenen de la retina. I en aquella imatge, veuen una varietat d’illes, les que anomeno regió de creació d’imatges en el cervell. L’àrea verda, per exemple, correspon a la informació tàctil, i la blava a la informació auditiva.

 

I una altra cosa que passa és que, aquella regió de creació d’imatges, on hi ha el traçat d’aquests mapes neuronals, pot proveir de senyals a aquest oceà porpra que s’observa al voltant, que és l’escorça d’associació, i és on es pot arxivar el que va succeir a les illes de creació d’imatges. I la veritable bellesa és que es pot passar de la memòria, a aquelles escorces d’associació, i reproduir imatges en les mateixes regions que tenen percepció. Pensin en quan meravellosament pràctic i mandrós és el cervell. Així, preveu àrees de percepció i de creació d’imatges. I aquelles seran exactament les que s’utilitzaran per a la creació d’imatges quan recordem informació.

 

 

Llavors, d’aquesta manera, el misteri de la ment conscient es redueix una mica, perquè tenim un coneixement general de com creem aquestes imatges Però que passà amb el Jo? El Jo és realment difícil d’aprehendre. I durant molt de temps, la gent ni volia abordar-lo, perquè plantejaven: “Com es pot tenir aquest punt de referència, que es requereix per mantenir una continuïtat dels Jo dia rere dia. ” I vaig trobar una solució a aquest problema. I és la següent. Creem mapes cerebrals de l’interior del cos i els utilitzem com a referència per als altres mapes

 

 

I permetin-me explicar com vaig arribar a això. I ho vaig aconseguir perquè, si tenim una referència que coneixem com sí mateix, el mi, el jo en el nostre processament, necessitem que sigui estable, que no presenti moltes desviacions dia a dia. Doncs passa que tenim un únic cos. Un cos sol, no dos ni tres. I aquest és el començament. El cos és justament un punt de referència. Però el cos, per descomptat, té molts membres, que creixen a ritmes diferents, tenen diferents mides i persones diferents; però, no succeeix el mateix amb l’interior. Amb aquells elements relacionats al que es coneix com el nostre medi intern. Per exemple, la gestió integral dels compostos químics interns del cos, són de fet mantinguts intensament, dia rere dia, per una molt bona raó. Si es desvien massa en els paràmetres propers a la mitjana, sobre la base del rang de supervivència que permet la vida, es produirà la malaltia o la mort. Així que tenim un sistema incorporat en les nostres vides que assegura cert tipus de continuïtat. Una cosa així com una gairebé infinita uniformitat dia rere dia. Perquè si no existeix aquesta uniformitat fisiològica, ens emmalaltim o morim. I hi ha un element més per a aquesta continuïtat.

 

 

I és que existeix un acoblament estret entre la regulació del nostre cos en el cervell i el cos en si; a diferència de qualsevol altre acoblament. Per exemple, estic creant imatges de vostès, però no hi ha cap vincle fisiològic entre les imatges de vostès com a audiència i el meu cervell. No obstant això, hi ha un vincle estret i sostingut permanentment entre el cos regulant parts del meu cervell i el meu propi cos.

 

 

Així és com es veu. Observin l’àrea. El tronc encefàlic es troba entre l’escorça cerebral i la medul·la espinal. I aquesta regió que ara els marcaré, és l’allotjament de tots els dispositius reguladors de la vida del cos. És tan específic que si, per exemple, observen l’àrea en vermell, a la part superior del tronc cerebral, es produeix un dany, com un accident cerebrovascular, el resultat és un coma o estat vegetatiu, un estat en el qual, per descomptat, la seva ment desapareix; desapareix la seva consciència. El que passa en realitat, és que es perd la base del Jo, ja no tindran accés a cap sensació de la seva existència, i de fet poden succeir imatges formades en l’escorça cerebral, però no sabran que hi són. En efecte, han perdut la consciència si s’ha danyat la secció vermella del tronc encefàlic.

 

Però si considerem la regió verda del tronc encefàlic, no passa el mateix. Això és molt específic. Així, en el segment verd del tronc encefàlic, quan es fa malbé, i passa sovint, el que es produeix és una paràlisi completa, però es manté la ment conscient. Vostès senten, que hi ha una ment completament conscient, de la qual poden donar compte molt indirectament. Aquesta és una afecció espantosa, no voldrien veure-la. I les persones estan realment empresonades dins dels seus cossos, però tenen la seva ment. Hi va haver una pel·lícula molt interessant, una de les poques ben fetes sobre un cas similar a aquest, de Julian Schnabel, sobre un pacient amb aquesta afecció.

 

Els mostraré una foto. Prometo no dir res llevat que els espanti. Només especificar que en la secció vermella del tronc encefàlic, hi ha, i per simplificar, petits quadrats que corresponen als mòduls que en realitat formen els mapes cerebrals dels diferents aspectes del nostre interior, de les diferents parts del nostre cos, Són exquisidament topogràfics i estan exquisidament interconnectats en un patró recurrent. I és gràcies a això i a aquest estret acoblament, entre el tronc encefàlic i el cos, que, podria equivocar-me, encara que no ho crec, es genera aquest mapatge corporal que proveeix de base al Jo sota la forma de sensacions, els sentiments primordials, per cert.

 

 

Aleshores, què és aquesta foto que veiem allà? Observin “l’escorça cerebral” i “el tronc encefàlic”, observin “el cos”, i obtindran la interconnexió, mitjançant la qual el tronc encefàlic proveeix de base al si mateix, en una estreta interconnexió amb el cos. I tenim l’escorça cerebral proporcionant el gran espectacle de les nostres ments amb l’exuberància d’imatges, que són en realitat, el contingut de les nostres ments, i al que normalment li prestem més atenció, i hauríem, perquè veritablement és la pel·lícula que es veu en les nostres ments. Però observin les fletxes. No estan allà per casualitat. Són allà perquè hi ha una interacció molt estreta. Vostès no tenen una ment conscient si no tenen aquesta interacció entre l’escorça cerebral i el tronc encefàlic. No tenen una ment conscient si no tenen la interacció entre el tronc encefàlic i el cos.

 

Una altra cosa interessant és que el tronc encefàlic també ho compartim amb altres espècies. És així que en els vertebrats, el disseny del cervell és molt similar al nostre, i aquest és un dels motius pel qual altres espècies tenen una ment conscient com la nostra. No tan rica com la nostra, perquè no tenen la nostra escorça cerebral. Allà rau la diferència. I estic en total desacord amb la idea que la consciència sigui considerada com el gran producte de l’escorça cerebral. És la riquesa de la nostra ment, i no el fet que tinguem un sí mateix al qual puguem referir sobre la nostra pròpia existència, i aquesta sensació de ser persona.

 

Ara, hi ha tres nivells de si mateix: el proto-jo, el jo-central i el jo-autobiogràfic. Els dos primers són compartits amb moltes espècies i són produïts en gran mesura pel tronc encefàlic i tot el que derivi de l’escorça en aquestes espècies. És el jo-autobiogràfic el que posseeixen algunes espècies, crec. Cetacis i primats posseeixen un jo-autobiogràfic fins a cert punt. I els gossos domèstics tenen en certa manera també, un jo-autobiogràfic. Però la novetat és aquí.

 

El jo-autobiogràfic es construeix sobre la base dels records del passat i dels records dels plans que hem fet; és la vida passada i el futur projectat. I el jo-autobiogràfic ha provocat la memòria ampliada, el raonament, la imaginació, la creativitat i el llenguatge. I d’ells han sortit els instruments de la cultura: la religió, la justícia, el comerç, les arts, la ciència, la tecnologia. I és dins d’aquesta cultura que podem aconseguir, i aquest és el descobriment, cosa que no està establert biològicament del tot. Està desenvolupat en les cultures. El desenvolupen els éssers humans en col · lectiu. I aquesta és, per descomptat, la cultura en què hem desenvolupat una cosa que anomeno la regulació sociocultural.

 

I finalment, podrien encertadament preguntar, Què importa això? Què importa si la primera preocupació és el tronc cerebral o l’escorça cerebral i com estan formats? Tres raons. La primera, la curiositat. Els primats són extremadament curiosos i els humans més que cap. I si ens interessa, per exemple, el fet que la antigravetat allunya galàxies de la Terra, Per què no estarem interessats en el que succeeix a l’interior dels éssers humans?

 

Segon, comprendre la societat i la cultura. Però hem de considerar com la societat i la cultura, en aquesta regulació sociocultural, és una tasca que continua. I finalment, la medicina. No oblidem que algunes de les pitjors malalties de la humanitat són la depressió, Alzheimer, i l’addicció a les drogues. Pensin en un accident cerebro-vascular que pot desbastar la ment o deixar-los inconscients. No hi ha oració que tracti aquestes malalties de manera efectiva i tampoc de manera atzarosa si no se sap com funciona. Així que és una molt bona raó, més enllà de la curiositat, per justificar el que fem i justificar el interès per saber el que passa en els nostres cervells.

Gràcies per la seva atenció.

(Aplaudiments)

Neurons & Civiliations

dissabte, 19/01/2019

 

 Transcript  Translated by Thierry Barnier
Reviewed by Stephanie Curiel
I’d like to talk to you today about the human brain, which is what we do research on at the University of California. Just think about this problem for a second. Here is a lump of flesh, about three pounds, which you can hold in the palm of your hand. But it can contemplate the vastness of interstellar space. It can contemplate the meaning of infinity; ask questions about the meaning of its own existence, about the nature of God.

00:35

And this is truly the most amazing thing in the world. It’s the greatest mystery confronting human beings: How does this all come about? Well, the brain, as you know, is made up of neurons. We’re looking at neurons here. There are 100 billion neurons in the adult human brain. And each neuron makes something like 1,000 to 10,000 contacts with other neurons in the brain. And based on this, people have calculated that the number of permutations and combinations of brain activity exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.

 

01:02

So, how do you go about studying the brain? One approach is to look at patients who had lesions in different part of the brain, and study changes in their behavior. This is what I spoke about in the last TED. Today I’ll talk about a different approach, which is to put electrodes in different parts of the brain, and actually record the activity of individual nerve cells in the brain. Sort of eavesdrop on the activity of nerve cells in the brain.

 

01:23

Now, one recent discovery that has been made by researchers in Italy, in Parma, by Giacomo Rizzolatti and his colleagues, is a group of neurons called mirror neurons, which are on the front of the brain in the frontal lobes. Now, it turns out there are neurons which are called ordinary motor command neurons in the front of the brain, which have been known for over 50 years. These neurons will fire when a person performs a specific action. For example, if I do that, and reach and grab an apple, a motor command neuron in the front of my brain will fire. If I reach out and pull an object, another neuron will fire, commanding me to pull that object. These are called motor command neurons that have been known for a long time.

 

 

02:00

But what Rizzolatti found was a subset of these neurons, maybe about 20 percent of them, will also fire when I’m looking at somebody else performing the same action. So, here is a neuron that fires when I reach and grab something, but it also fires when I watch Joe reaching and grabbing something. And this is truly astonishing. Because it’s as though this neuron is adopting the other person’s point of view. It’s almost as though it’s performing a virtual reality simulation of the other person’s action.

 

 

02:27

Now, what is the significance of these mirror neurons? For one thing they must be involved in things like imitation and emulation. Because to imitate a complex act requires my brain to adopt the other person’s point of view. So, this is important for imitation and emulation. Well, why is that important? Well, let’s take a look at the next slide. So, how do you do imitation? Why is imitation important? Mirror neurons and imitation, emulation.

 

 

02:51

Now, let’s look at culture, the phenomenon of human culture. If you go back in time about [75,000] to 100,000 years ago, let’s look at human evolution, it turns out that something very important happened around 75,000 years ago. And that is, there is a sudden emergence and rapid spread of a number of skills that are unique to human beings like tool use, the use of fire, the use of shelters, and, of course, language, and the ability to read somebody else’s mind and interpret that person’s behavior. All of that happened relatively quickly.

 

 

03:20

Even though the human brain had achieved its present size almost three or four hundred thousand years ago, 100,000 years ago all of this happened very, very quickly. And I claim that what happened was the sudden emergence of a sophisticated mirror neuron system, which allowed you to emulate and imitate other people’s actions. So that when there was a sudden accidental discovery by one member of the group, say the use of fire, or a particular type of tool, instead of dying out, this spread rapidly, horizontally across the population, or was transmitted vertically, down the generations.

 

03:50

So, this made evolution suddenly Lamarckian, instead of Darwinian. Darwinian evolution is slow; it takes hundreds of thousands of years. A polar bear, to evolve a coat, will take thousands of generations, maybe 100,000 years. A human being, a child, can just watch its parent kill another polar bear, and skin it and put the skin on its body, fur on the body, and learn it in one step. What the polar bear took 100,000 years to learn, it can learn in five minutes, maybe 10 minutes. And then once it’s learned this it spreads in geometric proportion across a population.

 

 

04:23

This is the basis. The imitation of complex skills is what we call culture and is the basis of civilization. Now there is another kind of mirror neuron, which is involved in something quite different. And that is, there are mirror neurons, just as there are mirror neurons for action, there are mirror neurons for touch. In other words, if somebody touches me, my hand, neuron in the somato-sensory cortex in the sensory region of the brain fires. But the same neuron, in some cases, will fire when I simply watch another person being touched. So, it’s empathizing the other person being touched.

 

 

04:52

So, most of them will fire when I’m touched in different locations. Different neurons for different locations. But a subset of them will fire even when I watch somebody else being touched in the same location. So, here again you have neurons which are enrolled in empathy. Now, the question then arises: If I simply watch another person being touched, why do I not get confused and literally feel that touch sensation merely by watching somebody being touched? I mean, I empathize with that person but I don’t literally feel the touch. Well, that’s because you’ve got receptors in your skin, touch and pain receptors, going back into your brain and saying “Don’t worry, you’re not being touched. So, empathize, by all means, with the other person, but do not actually experience the touch, otherwise you’ll get confused and muddled.”

 

 

05:32

Okay, so there is a feedback signal that vetoes the signal of the mirror neuron preventing you from consciously experiencing that touch. But if you remove the arm, you simply anesthetize my arm, so you put an injection into my arm, anesthetize the brachial plexus, so the arm is numb, and there is no sensations coming in, if I now watch you being touched, I literally feel it in my hand. In other words, you have dissolved the barrier between you and other human beings. So, I call them Gandhi neurons, or empathy neurons. (Laughter)

 

 

06:00

And this is not in some abstract metaphorical sense. All that’s separating you from him, from the other person, is your skin. Remove the skin; you experience that person’s touch in your mind. You’ve dissolved the barrier between you and other human beings. And this, of course, is the basis of much of Eastern philosophy, and that is there is no real independent self, aloof from other human beings, inspecting the world, inspecting other people. You are, in fact, connected not just via Facebook and Internet; you’re actually quite literally connected by your neurons. And there is whole chains of neurons around this room, talking to each other. And there is no real distinctiveness of your consciousness from somebody else’s consciousness.

 

 

06:36

And this is not mumbo-jumbo philosophy. It emerges from our understanding of basic neuroscience. So, you have a patient with a phantom limb. If the arm has been removed and you have a phantom, and you watch somebody else being touched, you feel it in your phantom. Now the astonishing thing is, if you have pain in your phantom limb, you squeeze the other person’s hand, massage the other person’s hand, that relieves the pain in your phantom hand, almost as though the neuron were obtaining relief from merely watching somebody else being massaged.

 

 

07:03

So, here you have my last slide. For the longest time people have regarded science and humanities as being distinct. C.P. Snow spoke of the two cultures: science on the one hand, humanities on the other; never the twain shall meet. So, I’m saying the mirror neuron system underlies the interface allowing you to rethink about issues like consciousness, representation of self, what separates you from other human beings, what allows you to empathize with other human beings, and also even things like the emergence of culture and civilization, which is unique to human beings. Thank you.

(Applause)

Aujourd’hui, je voudrais vous parler du cerveau humain, qui est ce sur quoi nous faisons des recherches à l’Université de Californie. Réfléchissez au problème l’espace d’un instant. Voici un morceau de chair, d’environ 1,5kg, que vous pouvez tenir dans la paume de votre main. Mais qui peut appréhender l’immensité de l’espace interstellaire. Il peut apprécier la notion d’infini, poser des questions sur la signification de sa propre existence, et la nature de Dieu.

00:35

Et c’est véritablement la chose la plus étonnante au monde. Le plus grand mystère pour l’Homme : Comment cela est-il arrivé? Comme vous le savez, le cerveau est composé de neurones. Ici, nous voyons des neurones. Il y a 100 milliards de neurones dans un cerveau adulte. Et chaque neurone établit entre 1.000 et 10.000 connexions avec d’autres neurones dans le cerveau. Et sur cette base, on a calculé que le nombre de permutations et de combinaisons d’activité cérébrale excède le nombre de particules élémentaires dans l’univers.

 

01:02

Donc, par où commencer l’étude du cerveau? Une approche est d’observer les personnes atteintes de lésions dans différentes parties du cerveau, et d’étudier les changements dans leur comportement. C’est de ceci dont j’ai parlé lors du TED précédent. Aujourd’hui, je vais vous parler d’une approche différente qui est de placer des électrodes dans différentes parties du cerveau, et d’enregistrer l’activité de cellules nerveuses individuelles dans le cerveau. Comme si l’on plaçait une cellule nerveuse sur table d’écoute.

 

01:23

Une découverte récente has été faite par une équipe de chercheurs italiens de Parme, dirigée par Giacomo Rizzolatti et ses collègues, ce sont un groupe de neurones appelés “neurones miroirs”, qui sont situés à l’avant du cerveau dans les lobes fronteaux. Il s’avère qu’il y a des neurones appelés “neurones de commande moteurs ordinaires” à l’avant du cerveau, qui ont été identifiés depuis plus de 50 ans. Ces neurones vont s’activer lorsqu’une personne accomplit une action spécifique. Par exemple, si je fais ceci et saisit d’une pomme, un neurone moteur à l’avant de mon cerveau va s’activer. Si j’étends le bras, et amène un objet vers moi, un autre neurone va s’activer, m’ordonnant d’amener cet objet. Ce sont les neurones de commande moteurs qui sont connus depuis longtemps.

 

 

02:00

Mais ce que Rizzolatti a découvert était qu’une partie de ces neurones, peut-être environ 20%, vont aussi s’activer quand j’observe quelqu’un d’autre effectuer cette même action. Voici un neurone qui s’active quand je saisis quelque chose, mais qui s’active également quand je regarde Joe saisir quelque chose. Cela est réellement renversant. Car c’est comme si ce neurone adoptait le point de vue d’une autre personne. C’est presque comme s’il réalisait une simulation de la réalité virtuelle de l’action d’une autre personne.

 

 

02:27

Maintenant, quelle est la signification de ces neurones miroirs? Pour commencer, elles doivent être impliquées dans les processus d’émulation et d’imitation Car imiter une action complexe demande au cerveau d’adopter le point de vue de l’autre personne. Donc, cela est important pour l’imitation et l’émulation. Pourquoi cela est-il important? Passons à l’étude de la diapositive suivante Donc, comment imitez-vous? Pourquoi la faculté d’imitation est-elle importante? Les neurones miroir et l’imitation, l’émulation.

 

 

02:51

Maintenant, observons la culture, le phénomène de la culture humaine. Si vous remontez entre 75.000 et 100.000 ans en arrière, observez l’évolution des humains, il apparait que quelque chose de très important apparût il y a environ 75.000 ans. Qu’il y eu l’émergence soudaine, et le développement rapide d’un nombre de compétences unique aux humains comme l’utilisation d’outils, la maitrise du feu, d’abris et bien sûr, du langage, et la capacité de comprendre ce qu’il y a dans la tête de l’autre et d’interpréter les comportements de cette personne. Tout cela est arrivé dans un temps relativement court.

 

 

03:20

Bien que la taille du cerveau humain ait atteint sa taille actuelle depuis presque 300.000 ou 400.000 ans, il y a 100.000 ans, tout ceci est arrivé très très vite. Et je pense que ce qui arriva fut l’émergence soudaine d’un système de neurones miroirs sophistiqué, qui nous a permis d’émuler et d’imiter les actions d’autres personnes. Et qu’ainsi lors d’une découverte soudaine accidentelle par un membre du groupe, comme l’usage du feu, ou d’un type particulier d’outil, au lieu de disparaître cette découverte s’est répandue rapidement horizontalement dans la population, ou s’est transmise verticalement entre les générations.

 

 

03:50

Cela a soudain rendu l’évolution Lamarckienne, au lieu de Darwinienne. L’évolution Darwinienne est lente ; elle prend des centaines de milliers d’années. Un ours polaire, pour se doter de sa fourrure, a mis des milliers de générations, peut-être 100.000 ans. Un être humain, un enfant, peut seulement regarder ses parents tuer un ours polaire le dépecer, se faire un manteau avec la fourrure, et apprendre en un coup. Ce que l’ours polaire a mis 100.000 ans à apprendre, il peut l’apprendre en 5 minutes, peut être 10 minutes. Une fois cette compétence acquise, elle se diffuse en proportion géométrique dans la population.

 

 

04:23

C’est le mécanisme de base. L’imitation de compétences complexes est ce que nous appelons culture et est à l’origine de toute civilisation. Il existe un autre type de neurones miroirs, qui est impliqué dans un processus assez différent. Ce sont des neurones miroirs, comme il existe des neurones pour les actes, il y a des neurones pour les contacts physiques. En d’autres termes, si quelqu’un me touche, touche ma main, les neurones du cortex somato-sensoriel dans la région sensorielle du cerveau, s’activent. Mais le même neurone, va dans certains cas également s’activer quand je regarde une autre personne être touchée. Donc, je ressens de l’empathie pour la personne touchée.

 

 

04:52

La plupart vont s’activer quand on me touche à différents endroits. Différents neurones pour différents endroits. Mais une partie va s’activer quand je regarde quelqu’un d’autre se faire toucher au même endroit. Donc, ici aussi, nous avons des neurones qui participent au processus d’empathie. Maintenant, une question apparait : si je regarde une personne se faire toucher, pourquoi je ne m’y perds pas en ressentant moi-même le contact simplement en regardent quelqu’un se faire toucher? Je veux dire, j’ai de l’empathie pour cette personne, mais je ne ressens pas littéralement le contact. C’est parce que vous avez des récepteurs dans la peau, des récepteurs du toucher et de la douleur, connectés à votre cerveau, qui disent “Pas d’inquiétude, tu n’es pas en train d’être touché. Ressens toute l’empathie que tu souhaites pour l’autre personne, mais ne ressens pas physiquement le contact autrement tu seras perdu et embrouillé.”

 

 

05:32

Donc, il y a un signal en retour qui bloque le signal du neurone miroir vous empêchant de ressentir consciemment ce contact. Mais si vous déconnectez votre bras, vous anesthésiez simplement mon bras, avec une injection dans mon bras, qui anesthésie le plexus brachial, pour insensibiliser mon bras, et il n’y a aucune sensation qui rentre, si maintenant je vous regarde en train de vous faire toucher, je vais littéralement le sentir dans ma main. En d’autres mots, vous avez aboli la barrière entre vous et les autres êtres humains. Pour cette raison, je les appelle les neurones Gandhi, ou neurones d’empathie. (Rires)

 

 

06:00

Et ce n’est un sens métaphorique abstrait, tout ce qui vous sépare de l’autre, est votre peau. Enlevez votre peau, et vous ressentirez le toucher de cette personne dans votre esprit. Vous avez aboli la barrière entre vous et les autres êtres humains. Et cela est la base de la plupart des philosophies orientales. Il n’y a pas de personnalités entièrement autonomes, déconnectée des autres être humais, inspectant le monde, inspectant les autres personnes. Vous êtes en fait, connectés, pas uniquement via Facebook et internet, vous êtes en réalité littéralement connectés par vos neurones. Et il y a une chaine entière de neurones dans cette pièce, qui parlent entre eux. Et il n’y a pas de réelle distinction entre votre conscience et celle d’autrui.

 

 

06:36

Et ceci n’est pas du charabia philosophique. C’est le résultat de notre compréhension de la neuroscience de base. Donc, si vous avez un patient avec un membre fantôme. Si son bras a été enlevé et que vous avez un fantôme, et que vous regardez quelqu’un d’autre se faire toucher, vous le ressentirez dans votre fantôme. Maintenant la chose surprenante est, si vous avez une douleur dans votre membre fantôme, vous serrez la main de quelqu’un d’autre, vous massez la main de cette autre personne, cela atténuera la douleur dans votre main fantôme, comme si les neurones étaient soulagés seulement en regardant quelqu’un d’autre se faire masser.

 

 

07:03

Voici la dernière page de ma présentation. Depuis toujours, les hommes ont considéré la science et les humanités comme distinctes. C.P. Snow parle de deux cultures : la science d’un côté, les humanités de l’autre ; bien campées sur leurs positions. Je pense que le système de neurones moteurs est une base à l’interface vous permettant de reconsidérer des concepts comme l’état de conscience, la perception de soi, ce qui vous sépare des autres êtres humains, ce qui vous permet de ressentir de l’empathie, et aussi d’autre chose comme l’apparition de la culture et de la civilisation qui est unique aux être humains.

Merci.

(Applaudissements)

Levelland, Texas (Reconstitution)

dimecres, 16/01/2019

The Levelland UFO Case occurred on November 2–3, 1957 in and around the small town of Levelland, Texas. Levelland, which in 1957 had a population of about 10,000, is located west of Lubbock on the flat prairie of the Texas panhandle. The case is considered by ufologists to be one of the most impressive in UFO history, mainly because of the large number of witnesses involved over a relatively short period of time.

The incident began late on the evening of November 2 when two immigrant farm workers, Pedro Saucedo and Joe Salaz, called the Levelland police department to report a UFO sighting. Saucedo told police officer A.J. Fowler, who was working the night desk at the police station, that they had been driving four miles west of Levelland when they saw a blue flash of light near the road. They claimed their truck’s engine died, and a rocket-shaped object rose up and approached the truck. According to Saucedo, “I jumped out of the truck and hit the dirt because I was afraid. I called to Joe but he didn’t get out. The thing passed directly over my truck with a great sound and rush of wind. It sounded like thunder and my truck rocked from the flash…I felt a lot of heat.” As the object moved away the truck’s engine restarted and worked normally. Believing the story to be a joke, Fowler ignored it. An hour later, motorist Jim Wheeler reported a “brilliantly lit, egg-shaped object, about 200 feet long” was sitting in the road, four miles east of Levelland, blocking his path. He claimed his vehicle died and as he got out of his car the object took off and its lights went out. As it moved away, Wheeler’s car restarted and worked normally.

Newspaper

At 10:55 pm a married couple driving northeast of Levelland reported that they saw a bright flash of light moving across the sky and their headlights and radio died for three seconds. Five minutes later Jose Alvarez claimed he met the strange object sitting on the road 11 miles north of Levelland, and his vehicle’s engine died until the object departed. At 12:05 am (November 3), a Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) student named Newell Wright was surprised when, driving 10 miles east of Levelland, his “car engine began to sputter, the ammeter on the dash jumped to discharge and then back to normal, and the motor started cutting out like it was out of gas…the car rolled to a stop; then the headlights dimmed and several seconds later went out.” When he got out to check on the problem, he saw a “100-foot-long” egg-shaped object sitting in the road. It took off, and his engine started running again. At 12:15 am Officer Fowler received another call, this time from a farmer named Frank Williams who claimed he had encountered a brightly glowing object sitting in the road, and “as his car approached it, its lights went out and its motor stopped.” The object flew away, and his car’s lights and motor started working again. Other callers were Ronald Martin at 12:45 am and James Long at 1:15 am, and they both reported seeing a brightly lit object sitting in the road in front of them, and they also claimed that their engines and headlights died until the object flew away.

Blue Book

By this time, several Levelland police officers were actively investigating the incident. Among them was Sheriff Weir Clem, who saw a brilliant red object moving across the sky at 1:30 am. At 1:45 am Levelland’s Fire Chief, Ray Jones, also saw the object and his vehicle’s lights and engine sputtered. The sightings apparently ended soon after this incident. During the night of November 2–3, the Levelland police department received a total of 15 phone calls concerning the strange object, and Officer Fowler noted that “everybody who called was very excited.”

Report on the Levelland Incident by KDFW Television’s Richard Ray:

Dallas News |

The Levelland sightings received national publicity, and were soon investigated by Project Blue Book. Started in 1947 as Project Sign, Project Blue Book was the official US Air Force research group assigned to investigate UFO reports. An Air Force sergeant was sent to Levelland, and spent seven hours in the city investigating the incident. After interviewing three of the eyewitnesses – Saucedo, Wheeler, and Wright – and after learning that thunderstorms were present in the area earlier in the day, the Air Force investigator concluded that a severe electrical storm – most probably ball lightning or St. Elmo’s fire – was the major cause for the sightings and reported auto failures. According to UFO historian Curtis Peebles, “the Air Force found only three persons who had witnessed the ‘blue light’…there was no uniform description of the object.” Additionally, Project Blue Book believed that “Saucedo’s account could not be relied upon – he had only a grade school education and had no concept of direction and was conflicting in his answers…in view of the stormy weather conditions, an electrical phenomenon such as ball lightning or St. Elmo’s fire seemed to be the most probable cause.” The engine failures mentioned by the eyewitnesses were blamed on “wet electrical circuits.” Dr. Donald H. Menzel, a professor of astronomy at Harvard University and a prominent UFO researcher of that era, agreed with the Air Force explanation: “members of civilian saucer groups complained that, since [the Air Force investigator] had spent only seven hours in the area, he had obviously not taken the problem seriously and could not have found the correct solution. Even seventy hours of labor, however, could not have produced a clearer picture…the evidence leads to an overwhelming probability: the fiery unknown at Levelland was ball lightning.” Dr. Menzel argued that “in Levelland on the night of November 2 conditions were ideal for the formation of ball lightning. For several days the area had been experiencing freak weather, and on the night in question had been visited by rain, thunderstorms and lightning.” Menzel admitted that “since ball lightning is short-lived and cannot be preserved as tangible evidence, its appearance on the night of November 2 can never be absolutely proved.” However, he also argued that “only the saucer proponents could have converted so trivial a series of events – a few stalled automobiles, balls of flame in the sky at the end of the thunderstorm – into a national mystery.”

However, not everyone agreed with the Air Force explanation. Critics of the Air Force explanation pointed out that the Air Force investigator did not interview nine of the fifteen witnesses, nor were they mentioned in Blue Book’s final report on the incident. In later years two prominent UFO researchers – Dr. James E. McDonald, a physicist at the University of Arizona, and Dr. J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer at Northwestern University and, at the time, a top scientific consultant to Project Blue Book, would also dispute the Air Force ball lightning/electrical storm explanation. Both men argued that there was no electrical storm in the area when the sightings occurred. Dr. Hynek wrote that “as the person responsible for the tracking of the new Soviet satellite Sputnik, I was on a virtual around-the-clock duty and was unable to give it any attention whatever. I am not proud today that I hastily concurred in [the Air Force’s] evaluation as “ball lightning” on the basis of information that an electrical storm had been in progress in the Levelland area at the time. This was shown not to be the case. Observers reported overcast and mist but no lightning.” Hynek also noted that “had I given it any thought whatsoever, I would soon have recognized the absence of any evidence that ball lightning can stop cars and put out headlights.” In 1999 UFO researcher Antonio Rullan published a detailed analysis of the Levelland sightings. After examining various weather records and the competing claims of the Air Force, Dr. McDonald, and others, he concluded that “there was no severe thunderstorm in Levelland during the time of the sightings…there could have been a few clouds with light rain in Levelland despite no rain being reported at the [nearby] Lubbock weather station.” Rullan also added that “conditions for scattered lightning, however, cannot be discounted…lightning conditions did exist” and that “data sheets from the US Weather Bureau show that thunder and lightning were observed in [nearby] Lubbock one hour after the sightings ended.”

To read Dr. J. Allen Hynek’s report on the Levelland case, click here.

In March 2002, Dallas-based television station KDFW aired a report about the Levelland UFO case. Reporter Richard Ray’s piece recounts how at least 15 people, including Sheriff Weir Clem, claimed to have seen the strange object. Ray spoke to Weir’s widow and friends, who believe that the lawman definitely saw something unusual. The story also detailed the investigation and controversial conclusion issued by the Air Force – that weather phenomena known as ball lightning was to blame.

 




The aim of this blog is to present to the public a ‘non-personal’ -and nonetheless suggestive, information that has already been released.

 

Levelland, Texas, 1957

dimecres, 16/01/2019

Footage of interviews about Levelland Texas UFO sighting. Witness describes UFO. Footage of Dr. Werhnher von Braun at symposium discussing expeditions into outer space, voyages to the moon.

“Autres dimensions”, Jacques Vallée

dimarts , 15/01/2019

La tonteria… a TV3

dijous, 10/01/2019

Antena 3, 1992

dimecres, 9/01/2019

Programa: “Tan contentos”. Antena 3.
Fecha de emisión: 1992.

Entrevista realizada por Consuelo Berlanga a Enrique de Vicente, Rafael Peralta y Próspera Muñoz. Enrique nos explica los tipos de encuentros con OVNIs, refiriéndose a la clasificación del Dr. Hynek.
El rejoneador Rafael Peralta describe su encuentro con un OVNI y un humanoide ocurrido cerca de Punta Umbria (Huelva) en julio de 1982. Y Próspera narra su experiencia de abducción en Jumilla (Murcia), en 1947. Según Enrique, en los casos de observación de humanoides, encontramos analogía en cuanto al tipo de cabeza y a las vestiduras. También suelen tener cuatro dedos. Considera que lo sorprendente de estos casos, son las coincidencias que hay entre algunos. “Esto nos llevaría a pensar que estaríamos siendo visitados por grupos muy distintos, obedeciendo a algún tipo de plan que ignoramos“.

A TVE, 1992

dimecres, 9/01/2019

 




The aim of this site is to present to the public a ‘non-personal’ -and nonetheless suggestive, information that has already been released.