The Source of Consciousness - with Mark Solms

  • Published on: 04 March 2021
  • Mark Solms discusses his new theory of consciousness that returns emotions to the centre of mental life.
    Mark's book "The Hidden Spring" is available now:
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    Understanding why we feel a subjective sense of self and how it arises in the brain seems like an impossible task. Mark explores the subjective experiences of hundreds of neurological patients, many of whom he treated. Their uncanny conversations help to expose the brain’s obscure reaches.

    Mark Solms has spent his entire career investigating the mysteries of consciousness. Best known for identifying the brain mechanisms of dreaming and for bringing psychoanalytic insights into modern neuroscience, he is director of neuropsychology in the Neuroscience Institute of the University of Cape Town, honorary lecturer in neurosurgery at the Royal London Hospital School of Medicine, and an honorary fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists.

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    This talk was livestreamed by the Ri on 28 January 2021.

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  • Runtime : 1:4:2
  • Ri Royal Institution mark solms consciousness brain neuroscience identity mind psychology behaviour change


  • Marc Lepage
    Marc Lepage   12 hours ago

    Thank you Mark, I will put your book on The List.

  • Marc Lepage
    Marc Lepage   13 hours ago

    Don't these conversations with Patient W and Patient B suffer (potentially) from the Chinese Room quandary? That is, the patient could be acting precisely as if there was a self there, a thing that it is something like to be, but without the actual qualia, the actual experience? Basically, these patients may pass the Turing Test without having a consciousness? How can we dismiss that possibility and know that the self was NOT removed with those underlying brain parts?

  • Marc Lepage
    Marc Lepage   13 hours ago

    I can imagine Patient W counting a different number of legs: 4+4+2+2 = 12 (including himself) 2+2+2 = 6 (if you consider dogs to have a pair of legs and a pair of arms)

  • Mark Davis
    Mark Davis   1 days ago

    So, is there an agreed upon definition of consciousness. How do you have serious discussion about a subject that has no consensus on its definition?

  • stiffybrian
    stiffybrian   2 days ago

    At around 57:00 explains air polution C02, Covid and radio activity etc where there is no discernable effect but it kills us, so we're prone to doing nothing about it, and often reject relevant information that confirms it.

  • lucy diamonds
    lucy diamonds   5 days ago

    Plz leave alone the animals, they r not here for us to take advantage of

  • Tim Baralis
    Tim Baralis   1 weeks ago

    An underlying problem with this approach is the assumption/hypothesis that matter is objective, that it exists independently of mind and is, in fact the origin of mind. Allow me to define mind as "the possibility of experiencing". The question to ask then, which in my opinion solves this difficulty, is simply: "Without awareness (i.e. mind), what is there?" Treat this question as the "Koan of Awareness". The answer is simple, available to anyone, and the answer is obvious: NOTHING. Again, many, if not most, people consider mind to be an epiphenomenon of matter. If this is so, then that implies there was a "time" when there was only matter, and mind arose after matter’s origin. This is the same as saying that matter organized itself in some way to produce mind and the possibility of experiencing. Wouldn’t this “organizing”, however, require an ordering agent/intention? If you accept mind as ordering agent and source of intention, then you are, in fact, assigning to matter an attribute of mind, which implies mind and matter are the same. Can we say this? If we go to the "Koan of Awareness", we must conclude there is no matter without mind. Mind is, and must be, prior to matter.This presents, however, a difficulty which appears to be insoluble: Assuming mind is prior to matter, and is itself not material, is it possible for matter come from mind? It seems not: You can't get light from darkness, and you can't get darkness from light! This dilemma is resolved, however, by examining the assumed duality of Brahman/Maya. Brahman is the word the Advaita School uses to describe the Ultimate Reality. Maya is the set of all possible experiences available to sentience/mind. Brahman is defined as the All, the One and only Reality. Since Brahman is the All, and there can be no and is no "not-All"; there can be no and is no "not-Brahman". Hence Maya is Brahman and Brahman is Maya! And we must also conclude that Brahman is Mind.I realize I may be stepping on some theistic toes here, but the concept of "the All" is the "Universal Axiom". It is not provable, nor can it be disproved. It is Self-evident. Some will say this is "Pantheism". Call it what you will, but I'm sure you will not be able to say there is no such thing as All/Ultimate Reality/Brahman and, as Brahman is All, you will not be able to affirm the possibility of "not-All/not-Brahman". If you can, please let me know!Mind/Consciousness is the ultimate holodeck! Tim B.

  • Joey Jones
    Joey Jones   1 weeks ago

    In the brain, a physiobiological occurrence responsible for consciousness in the same way that the stomach's responsible for digestion.

  • Jayanta Kundu
    Jayanta Kundu   1 weeks ago

    You have given explanations of few observable correlative effects that are noticed by our limited instruments of knowledge, but did not or rather could not talk about their causes. You are mistaking correlation as causation. Consciousness is not a product of material interactions, unless one firm oneself in baseless assumptions. The sense of “I” and “is-ness” is not just grossly in the brain only, rather it’s field is experientially much wider and vast.

  • Lisa Gouldson
    Lisa Gouldson   1 weeks ago

    what a man for understanding & the truth always comes out & thank you for sharing your truth much appreciated 💜🤗

  • Lisa Gouldson
    Lisa Gouldson   1 weeks ago

    Thoughts 💭 feeling emotions life experience conditioning & also i healed myself from negative patterns & still learning ty👏✨❤️

  • Lisa Gouldson
    Lisa Gouldson   1 weeks ago

    i found my source thank you for this real life taught me🙌✨❤️

  • C.
    C.   2 weeks ago

    Advanced materialism most interesting.

  • Super Strada
    Super Strada   2 weeks ago

    Wow. I will never look at myself nor anyone else the same again.

  • Mj Fryer
    Mj Fryer   2 weeks ago

    My experience has shown me that all living things are conscious, but not all living things have "presence".Humans unlike others have the ability to harness their bodies, minds,hearts, and souls... If all aspects are held in balance humans are said to have "presence".Despite our flaws we can still achieve "presence"For me since consciousness is a given it seems to me this the question for humans is how do we forge "presence"?

  • John B
    John B   2 weeks ago

    Consciousness is NOT fundamental... It is a 'Function' , consisting of TWO Components; 1/. An analytical Process, and 2/. AWARENESS, which is Non-Dimensional, and NOT a human Component ! Your Universe including the human species, is just a 'Holographic Simulation', from Program-Books, stored in the Libraries, of "The Processing System of LIFE", displayed in a Display Register... The brain is just an 'Interface', apart from having other functions....

  • Salik Sayyar
    Salik Sayyar   2 weeks ago

    Brainstem neurons are like power. generators of activation of the content of consciousness in the hemispheres and determine the level of consciousness, not its content. He is attributing a switch to the light. Above the brainstem like the deep subcortical nuclei, thalamus, basal ganglia etc. They determine unconscious motor and other such activities.

  • Salik Sayyar
    Salik Sayyar   2 weeks ago

    Cortex is compressed? Need to know more about the pathology

  • Al Milligan
    Al Milligan   2 weeks ago

    If all our knowledge is subjective, how do we know that? And if we do know that, then not all knowledge is subjective. The Dao is not subjective. The question is how is consciousness possible?

  • Michele Briere
    Michele Briere   2 weeks ago

    For someone with angst for time constraints, he rambles a lot.

  • Ron Hooft
    Ron Hooft   2 weeks ago

    Consciousness is easy. It's origin is auto response. Atoms/particles have auto responses to interaction depending on their nature. Those responses are triggered by interactions with different particles/atoms. They either push each other away, try to destroy each other, or merge. Why do they do this? Every atom has to try to maintain or get back to their lowest energy levels. It's a law of thermodynamics. It's the basis of entropy. Interaction raises energy levels. Mergers find new lowest possible energy levels, a new order, and a new substance. So it's a need atoms have. Do they feel their needs? perhaps, in some way, perhaps not. But that's not important. It fulfills it's need with auto response. Bacteria have auto responses too. We know they have needs and can adapt. We also know they are aware of their environment. Yet they have no brain. All biology has awareness and uses experience to adapt by altering auto response. Even plants are aware. Things with brains are even more aware. A dog has emotions like a human. It lives in what we call the sub conscious, which s their consciousness. Humans have an advantage: Complex language. You think in language. You think in complex concepts created by words. But you still run on auto response. learn a new skill. At first you need to think/deliberate a lot. the better you get, the less you need to think. You just know. It gets shifted to auto response. You live .85 seconds in the past. That's how long it takes for info to get from your senses trough your subconscious to get processed and sent to your consciousness. The lymbic system uses your experience/memory to send you emotions and auto responses. If you have time you think about those auto responses, or just accept them. If a ball is coming at your face you have no time to think. You just respond.So to me consciousness is easy: Auto response to awareness to more and more complex awareness to human style language based consciousness. All based on needs and auto responses.

  • badjonatan
    badjonatan   3 weeks ago

    46:44 Saying the source is there is like saying for a bottle of wine the source is the liquid store. It would've been more correct to say that it descends or manifests at that particular place in the brain, but you have no evidence suggesting it actually originates there.

  • Giannis Sp Papagiannopoulos

    I haven't ever heard a person use these highly annoying eh-eh-eh-eh more frequently than Mark Solms. A fine scientist who is unable to teach properly. What a shame.

  • Sergio Garcia
    Sergio Garcia   3 weeks ago

    Otra cosa.. entiendo lo de tu hermano como una experiencia traumante.. pero eso no resume oa consciencia al cerebro.. te pregunto.. si te fracturas un brazo gravemente.. luego que los huesos peguen .. el brazo funciomara igual? No verdad.. de igual manera su cerebro su parte biologica no va a funcionar igual.. por eso no vas a resumir todo el mundo intangible de la consciencia al cerebro... estas personalizando el problema

  • Sergio Garcia
    Sergio Garcia   3 weeks ago

    La consciecia no se encuentra en el cerebro.. acaso la consciencia no experimente la existencia del amor? Esa experienvoa compleja se encuentra en la corteza del cerebro? Jajajaja saludos

  • Nigel Coulson
    Nigel Coulson   3 weeks ago

    So, from watching another RI lecture on dreams, isn't this the same brain area responsible for generating dreaming? Also to do with dopamine release?

  • Quantum Cat
    Quantum Cat   3 weeks ago

    If only the lecturer had done his "homework", he would have verify that artificial neural network with memristors, can reproduce the so called "higher functions" of the human brain and consciousness arise as an emergent phenomena of sufficiently complex arrays of neural nets. His ignorance of those facts in his analysis only show his remarkable lack of scientific wisdom. I'm a senior engineer specialized in artificial intelligence and neural networks and I'm stating that this person should know better!

  • Susan Lafayette
    Susan Lafayette   3 weeks ago

    When you go to a restaurant, it's a rest that you want. Restaurant

  • Susan Lafayette
    Susan Lafayette   3 weeks ago

    Hippos another angle something hip might happen to us all

  • Susan Lafayette
    Susan Lafayette   3 weeks ago

    I had cantaloupe for dessert tonight ,can't elope have to marry

  • Safetytrousers
    Safetytrousers   4 weeks ago

    Does a house fly evading a swat in order to survive have feelings associated with that?

  • andrew aldrin
    andrew aldrin   4 weeks ago

    Frequent recent opinions in the discussion about the essence of consciousness refer to phenomena occurring outside (above) the brain. Usually an unresolved so-called “hard problem” is mentioned. It is true that the experience of qualia is difficult to explain by processes of the described neural networks. So I believe that an effective theory of consciousness should be based on the integration of several known theories of consciousness. In particular, the theory of neural circuits realizingimagery should be integrated with the "conscious electromagnetic information field theory (cemi)". One of the theories included in an effective explanation of the essence of consciousness should also be one of the theories linking the experience of qualia with the physics (fine structure)of the Universe. We published recently an article [ Neural Circuits, Microtubule Processing, Brain's Electromagnetic Field — Components of Self-Awareness. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 984. ] which shows how to integrate the explanations of the essential components of consciousness.

  • Steven Burnand
    Steven Burnand   1 months ago

    We are not a machine and the mind goes ways beyond the brain. There is stacks of evidence on this. Thank you for sharing and I hope you will continue your research 'outside' of the body. I fill the issue with your brother, is a 'confusion' between the two brain hemispheres.

  • Whoever The Person
    Whoever The Person   1 months ago

    The idea that pleasure & fear are extensions of our homeostatic biology lacks all credibility: you imply that fear and pain etc are actually evolutionary indicators that you're kinda dying, and pleasure that you're moving toward life: how many pleasures, historic and contemporary, have endangered us historically, and how many forms of suffering strengthen the body, increase muscle mass (a predictor of longevity) and objectively increase health. It's a surprisingly rudimentary and unscientific view - you are clutching at straws, sir. I wish you would read Western and contenntal philosophers like Theodore Adorno, ponder discussions of the subject in Nietzsche's writings, and compare with the adventurers of consciousness found cross culturally - those who use meditation and the observation of the phenomenon of consciousness as a primary means of investigating that which CAN ONLY BE DETECTED subjectively - just as the objective world can only be detected (or constructed or invented) subjectively, only the objective world is actually merely a cognitive world of theories and assumptions, the most subjective of ll worlds, just as the subjective world is the only world we will ever know and touch, and therefore the most objective, actual world there is. Wake up sir - you are inside out, as are most of humanity. The body is a mechanical process not different from the the world or the universe: reality is actually individisble. Thought just happens: feelings just happens: my intention just happens: thmy decision to move my arm just happens. Everything just happens - there is no subject in the objective world, but we are not the objective world - we are our consciousness of it, and that is all there is Freedom is in consciousness, not physicality - and your brother was that consciousness, not it's content or material cognitive and other processes. Those processes changed but he didn't - only he cannot speak: awareness is silent. The speaker and the thinker is the material world-movement, which is found only in the one subject that is - wareness as such, not yours or mine. All divisions are merely conceptual, invented, as you know - it is a derivative of feeling, yet you try to understand the most fundamental, universal, true thing through it's most recent, delicate evolutionary expholiations which are still clearly in development and have in no way completed the process they represent (memory, division, ossification, accumulation, assimilation, absorption, unification). I know what I mean.