Information processing in the brain projects the experience of mind
What is the brain? Ultimately, the brain is the main information processing organ. Brains receive
informational input from the body and transforms that information into qualitative impressions such
as experience, vision, sound, texture and temperature. Brains can use information to extrapolate new
meaning, connect patterns, devise solutions and construct intentions.
The brain is physical, but the information processing it performs has a non-physical quality called consciousness or the mind. Broadly speaking, consciousness is the subject of experiences and impressions. For example, when
the brain remembers something, it is merely generating and manipulating electrical currents; but the
mind contains the conscious subject, who relives some qualities of that experience or thing that is
being remembered. The brain and body are not actually being subjected to the experience a second
time, but the mind is simulating the experience in an immaterial, subjective realm. All states which
appear in consciousness- from sense perceptions to self-awareness- are merely simulations of
Consciousness Is A Hallucination
Consciousness is a therefore type of hallucination which I am calling a “fabrication”. The entire phenomenon of
mind is fabricated because it is consistent purely of mental appearances created by the human brain
and nervous system- and thus is a mere projection of the brain/body system. More specifically, fabrication is
the non-material simulation of experiences that actualizes subjectivity and felt inner qualities.
We have in our heads an entire domain, teaming with memories, impressions, and intentions which are
not part of our physical reality; they are entirely non-physical. Though they are caused by physical
processes in the brain and body, the contents of consciousness are not reducible to brain states, I.e.
neural activity. If the mind is immaterially existent, then it is a mental production and thus, a
fabrication which can not (presently) be explained in terms by the physical properties of the brain alone.
The Contents of Consciousness Are Not Physically Substantiated
Fabrications are simulations of impressions and experiences (in consciousness) that are produced by the brain, but appear in the mind. This is the dimension of consciousness: how experiences feel and seem. This experiential data that constitutes the mind is not identical to neural processes in the brain. No electrical transmissions between
neurons in the brain illustrate the qualitative detail which is expressed in the mind.
As an exercise: Think about the last meal you ate. Can you remember the arrangement of the food
on your plate? Can you recall a smell or taste? What about the stream of thoughts and impulses that
raced through your mind while you munched? All those details- and many more- make up your
experience during the meal. But where can the qualitative details of this experience be found? A
materialist might answer that the experience is in the brain, perhaps stored in an electric current
zipping through some particular quadrant of neurons.
Sure, physical processes which bring about the experience are found in the brain- but the experience itself seems like more than a set of electrical currents. If your brain were dissected, and the appropriate neural currents were properly extracted, the innumerable details of your last meal would not be found. Instead, all one would find is encoded currents of information. If by chance, the encoded electric currents from your neurons were uploaded into
another mind, or a compatible information processor, could the experience be relived? Possibly. But
experiential data is still not explicable in terms of the neural currents alone. The information
processor, or the new subject of the last-meal-data, still undergoes the experience in an immaterial
simulation rather than in physical reality. The catalog of qualia, perceptions, and abstract thoughts have no material presence; therefore, decoding neural currents would not give us colors, smells or the feeling of “self”, which were likely all present during your last meal. There are no smells in raw neural currents, an experience of that sort is a virtual or mental simulation transcribed in neural currents. The simulation of mind is phantasmal.
Though nervous systems and sense organs feed the brain perceptual information about the physical
world, this information is manufactured in the body. Sense organs, ears, tongues, eyes, react to physical phenomena by interpreting information, fabricating currents of energy which can represent the physical stimulus and be apprehended by the brain. Take for instance a person who uses their hand to feel the jagged surface of a stone. As their hands are dragged across the stone, sensitive nerve endings on exterior layers of the skin are pricked.
The stimulation of nerve endings has an automated response inside the body: internal nerve receptors generate electrical currents. These internal receptors are formally known as transducers. Transducers
inside the hand translate physical phenomena into electrical currents. These electrical currents serve
as an encoded representation of the rocks surface, which travels from the hands’ interior nerve
receptors to the brain. Encoded electrical signals are fed to the brain as sensory input and are
simulated in the mind. The texture of the stone is detected by the skin, but the actual surface (or
information) from the stone’s surface remains exterior to the hand. Transducers inside the hand
use a superficial impression detected by the skin to cipher a message for the brain.
Likewise, transducers in the eye convert incoming photons into electrical signals, the self-produced signal is
then relayed to the brain. The encoded message that the brain receives is not the original data from
the external world, it is concocted by our bodies as a rough reproduction of physical properties. Our
minds do not receive direct stimuli from the physical world, all stimuli are physiologically generated
interpretations of physical phenomena. When we feel and see, we are indeed fabricating those
Like the physical bodies of organisms, the mind is organized by the demands of evolution by
natural selection. The mind has been shaped by evolutionary influences. Any animal species that experiences the sensation of sound, for example, is likely better at detecting distant threats or discerning a plea for
help from fellow species member. Those sounds do not exist outside of the mind of an animal;
physically, these sounds are merely disturbances in a local medium. Vibrations through air are
revealed by sensory organs like ears and are interpreted as sounds in the mind. Likewise, colors do
not exist objectively, but animals capable fabricating a spectrum of colors will most likely be better at
recognizing a ripe lemon from an unripe one, and thus the experience of color procures some
consistent benefit for those animals. Because consciousness is a product of evolution, it has been
fashioned to increase the survival of the species which houses it.
Therefore, the mind is strictly bound to proffer a limited range of experiences: primarily those which concern survival. Unlike physical bodies, however, minds can have their fixed evolutionary programming interrupted. The
use of psychedelic substances, namely psilocybin, dimethyltryptamine and even lysergic acid
diethylamide, disclose the minds internal landscape of colors, geometries, emotions and experiences.
By asserting neuro-chemical changes in the brain, psychedelics expand the minds capacity to
fabricate. Properties, such as memory, intention, color, form, and emotion, are ordinarily predictable
experiences, but in the presence of psychedelics, these properties become experienced in a novel
way. These novel perceptions and experiences are the result of the mind being freed from some of
its evolutionary conditioning. Though minds have been gradually shaped by physical processes, they
have properties which are not at all physical. Therefore, the mind may behave in a quasi-hyperdimensional fashion in the presence of psychedelics. Contents of the mind can be represented contemporaneously, forming a singular experience or sensation because of the dramatic neural interconnectivity caused by psychedelic compounds. Often, psychedelic users report synesthesia, meaning that separate sense stimuli become fused or interchanged.
In the mind, time is not necessarily linear, and experiences are not necessarily felt from the first-person
perspective. Because the mind is a fabrication; hallucinogens enhance the minds ability to imagine
and abstract. Properties like empathy and introspection increase in the presence of psychedelics
because the imagination is relentlessly unleashed onto notions of “self” and “others”. Often
psychedelic users report critical analysis of their own life, or even suddenly unearthing past traumas.
This may be the reason why psychedelics allow individuals to conquer substance abuse and
addiction: psychedelics allow the mind to comprehend the source of compulsive behavior.
Psychedelics typically compel users to think or feel more empathically. This deepened selflessness may also be
attributed to psychedelics expansion of the imagination. The list of effects includes psychedelics
cause decreased default mode network activity, hallucinations and novel insight in the mind.