World as a Controlled Hallucination

Karolina Kluza, Poland


What would be your reaction if I told you that the world around you is just a complex, simultaneous, processed hallucination controlled by your brain? At first, you will probably think that it is a jocular deceit or maybe a test of your knowledge. “How could it be possible” you will wonder, “that what I see may not be compatible with what the world can actually be like?”


The “sense- data” theory of perception is the most commonly known, although nowadays it is believed to be rather ‘naive’. It assumes that the way of our observation comes directly from a hierarchical system, similar to one in electronic devices like cameras. Its trail starts when light reaches our eyes, then it is converted into electrical signals, due to the cells of the retina, which encode the image. The image is sent along the optic nerve to the neural cortex which is responsible for reconstruction of visual elements. Parts of the completed image are delivered to the mind as a whole picture. Lastly,  the conscious mind tries to interpret the image.

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The problem with the ‘naive’ perceptional system is simple to explain. Normally, when you see something, it is already categorized as a ‘ready to see object’ which must have been previously interpreted. So, it means that a ‘normal’ perception is an act of interpretation of our world, an attempt to figure out what the object is or is not by oueselves. The conclusion is that perception is just a process of best-guessing or inference.


Given these facts, the next step to get closer to understanding this problem is to take into consideration the direction of perception. Does it come from inside out or outside in, or maybe both answers are true? Anil Seth and Andy Clark, the authors of the newest perceptional theory, claim that perception happens as much from the “inside out” as the “outside in.” The human brain does not try to neutrally analyze sensory data; it checks if the data matches its expectations in order to develop a picture that slots in its already created world. “Your brain tries to guess what’s out there,” said Clark, and “to the extent that the guess matches or…explains away the evolving sensory data, you get to perceive the world.”

Seth and Clark validate their theory by referring to several experiments and neurological studies. The simplest ones are based on “what we hear, see and feel”. In the link below you can check them yourself:

https://theweekenduniversity.com/blog/3-experiments-from-neuroscience-which-prove-reality-is-a-hallucination/

For example, during his speech, Clark played a short audio file of a woman’s voice, which had been deliberately garbled through sine-wave distortion to make it difficult to understand. Then, the audience heard the original recording and once again the disturbed one, which they perfectly understood this time. That short experiment shows that the process of how the human brain can actively match its expectation with sensory data.


A fresh, modern and changed look at our perception has the potential to bring the world many opportunities for more profound comprehension of problems that are our everyday struggles. Many diseases such as schizophrenia or depression can be better understood and treated when people start to think differently.

Furthermore, if you give this idea a try, you will see yourself not as a single entity of consciousness, but realize that in our world there is much more than only one possible way of being and perceiving.


“We’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it “reality”.”
— Anil Seth

 

 

 

 

 

Dogs for People with Challenges

By Luca Wislsperger, Germany

For many years people had to go through difficulties and had to struggle with doing certain tasks or activities by their own, but now they can have a support dog.

Emotional support dogs are dogs that provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship for an individual suffering from various mental and emotional conditions. An emotional support dog is not required to perform any specific tasks for a disability like service dogs are. They are meant only for emotional stability and unconditional love.

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There are 2 different types of support dogs:

One kind is the emotional support dog which can assist with various kinds of mental and emotional conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder/mood disorder, panic attacks, fear/phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts/tendencies.

The Therapy dog which provides affection and comforts to individuals in hospitals and nursing homes. It is also used, as you can guess, for therapies so the clients have certain lessons together with these dogs to cure different types of diseases.

The second one is the service dog that is helpful for people which are limited by their disabilities so they function as an assistant for performing a normal life.

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Have you thought of making your dog a service, therapy or emotional dog?

Some people say that the dog is the humans’ best friend. Whether or not this is true, it is certainly a fact that dogs can provide a lot of help and companionship for those with disabilities. If you have been wondering how to make your dog a service dog, an emotional support dog, or a therapy dog, there a lot of companies like “USA Service Dogs” that help you to train your dog to these kind of assistant.

Here is a link to a website where you can train your own dog: https://zoomroom.me/portal/own-your-own-zoom-room/?utm_campaign=1045189562&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=247365016752&utm_term=%2Bown%20%2Bdog%20%2Btraining&adgroupid=58184426624

How much does a service dog cost?

The price range for a service dog can be anywhere from $3,000 to train it personally to as much as $35,000 if you use a popular and expensive organization.

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It generally takes 1–2 years to train a service dog. The dog must be trained to mitigate your disability and must behave appropriately in public to avoid being removed. This means there are two main facets of service dog training: first of all public access behaviors and secondly disability-related work and tasks.

Rescue Dogs:

There is also another type of support dog. It is used for environmental catastrophes like the heavy mud slides in Montecito the previous month.

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For this disaster the firefighters use highly trained search dogs, most of them were schooled by the “National Disaster Search Dog Foundation”, located in Santa Paula.

It’s a private non-profit organization where the dogs are trained for about 8-10 months. Afterwards they can tell you if a body is either still alive or dead. Furthermore, they can differ between a live body and fresh clothes. The dogs which are only trained to detect dead bodies are called “cadaver dogs” or “HR” which stands for human remains dogs.

Action-Control / Self-Control 

By Selim Gautschi, Switzerland

How free are our thoughts and actions really?

Isn’t it interesting and fascinating to understand one’s actions and intensions? I think this topic is important in today’s life because everyone has goals and desires and has to struggle with discipline. The origin of our actions often comes from unconscious decisions we make in everyday life. Our emotions are a big part in this process of deciding and thinking.

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The term “Action-control” was invented in the early 1980s by Julius Kuhl, a German professor in differential psychology. The term includes processes where intensions are protected from neurological distractions. Everyone who has tried to stop smoking or lose weight knows how hard it is to control their actions. Whether we execute discipline or not depends a lot on our ability to control our emotions. Studies show that people who can control their emotions tend to live a happier, healthier and wealthier life.

 

Having willpower in your childhood years determines your willpower for adulthood, especially when it comes to emotional situations. Probably the best known experiment in the 3history of psychology shows what impact willpower has on our personality. In the 60s, Walter Mischel, a personality psychologist, did 4the marshmallow-test with 4 year old kids. In this popular test, several kids wrestle with waiting to eat a marshmallow in hopes of a bigger prize. This video is a good illustration of temptation and the hope of future rewards. Video: Marshmallow Test

The good news is that we can train and use different techniques to execute and stay disciplined and determined about our goals.
There are five strategies to a more conscious way of acting:  5

  • Attention-control
  • Motivation-control
  • Emotional-control
  • Environmental control
  • Economy of information processing