How Our Consciousness Stays Elusive: ‘Crazy Things Happen During Experiments’

Are we our mind? We are more than that, says Jacob Goleg in Incredible podcast. He is extremely fascinated by human consciousness. Through his experiences, he faces one surprise after another.

As a researcher he is very fascinated by the subject. “The subject of psychology, the human mind, is very elusive and difficult. The only thing you cannot measure is consciousness.”


This is how it happens that people can predict something without literally seeing anything. “The interesting thing about all these experiments is that things happen that are quite statistically abnormal, and at a certain point you say: There’s something going on here that we can’t quite understand.”

He describes a fascinating study conducted by one student, in which participants were able to predict what would happen next. “We peeled the program down to the bottom. And in the end, when we stripped everything out, 1% was still unexplained. That’s the minimum, but it was still there. And then you end up asking questions: What does this mean and what does this mean?” this?”

Golig says that the feeling of existence consists of sensations and is essentially an experience. “The amazing thing about it is that there are circumstances in which this sense of ‘I’ disappears. There are actually people who merge with the environment for a moment. So this awareness is more fundamental than the sense of ‘I’.”

Close to yourself

Golig says that research into consciousness is receiving increasing attention. So it’s a topic close to yourself: “Because something very strange happens. You go to sleep at night, don’t stay there for a while and in the morning you come back. This is very wonderful and very strange.”

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We know very well how the brain works. “We can measure processes in your brain down to the cellular level. But some of these processes lead to consciousness.”

However, this awareness is not visible in scans. “You see brain activity that you can relate to what a research participant is doing or reporting. But it’s not the conscious experience itself. You can’t measure it, it remains elusive.”

Are we our mind?

And here lies the crux, he says: “A lot of scientists say: If we can’t find it, why are we more than our brain? It’s a philosophical assumption that the brain is made up only of matter and that consciousness is a consequence of that.” Who is that? Who is he?

But if we are our brains, and our consciousness adheres precisely to all the rules of physics we know, then devices should also be able to adhere precisely to the laws of nature, Gollig says. “Then nothing crazy shouldn’t happen.”

This explains his great fascination: “If you can show that crazy things happen in experiments, it’s a moment to think about other explanations.”

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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