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    #293 – Donald Hoffman: Reality is an Illusion – How Evolution Hid the Truth

    Math helps us understand the world, but our perception has limitations. Infinity is a mathematical concept, not observable in real life. Objects in the world are not inherently real, but data structures we create to achieve goals.

    enJune 12, 2022

    About this Episode

    Donald Hoffman is a cognitive scientist at UC Irvine and author of The Case Against Reality. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - Calm: https://calm.com/lex to get 40% off - LMNT: https://drinkLMNT.com/lex to get free sample pack - InsideTracker: https://insidetracker.com/lex to get 20% off - MasterClass: https://masterclass.com/lex to get 15% off - Indeed: https://indeed.com/lex to get $75 credit EPISODE LINKS: Donald's Twitter: https://twitter.com/donalddhoffman Donald's Website: http://cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/ Documents & Articles: 1. Could a Neuroscientist Understand a Microprocessor?: https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005268 2. Conscious Agent Networks: https://chrisfieldsresearch.com/CA-circuits-CSR-rev2.pdf 3. The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Argument in Quantum Theory: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-epr/ Books: 1. The Case Against Reality: https://amzn.to/3MhW4Wt 2. Vision: https://amzn.to/3Q4ibTm PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (08:04) - Case against reality (19:33) - Spacetime (43:57) - Reductionism (1:04:23) - Evolutionary game theory (1:32:46) - Consciousness (2:28:06) - Visualizing reality (2:43:23) - Ephemerality of life (2:51:48) - Simulation theory (2:57:30) - Difficult ideas (3:12:32) - Love (3:16:07) - Advice for young people (3:18:26) - Meaning of life

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Evolution has shaped our perception of reality to guide adaptive behavior, not to accurately reflect objective reality. We see what we need to survive and reproduce, not what is objectively true.
    • Our perceptions guide our behavior, but they are not comprehensive enough to reveal the truth. Our experiences are limited and we only perceive a small fragment of reality.
    • Physicists have found that space-time is not fundamental and new mathematical structures are being explored to understand the universe at a deeper level, revealing hidden symmetries beyond space-time.
    • While current scientific methods hold value in understanding reality, scientists must develop a deeper theory that is rigorously tested, as there is always a deeper level of understanding beyond what we currently know.
    • Mathematical frameworks are limited in their ability to comprehend reality, as assumptions and starting points are necessary in theories. Even our best theories cannot fully reveal objective reality, leaving room for mystery and contradictions.
    • As Axiom systems develop, scientists can gain deeper understanding of what is testable. However, understanding beyond space-time and consciousness will be complex, requiring reverse engineering of perceptions and creation of models to develop a theory of consciousness.
    • Current methods of understanding the universe are limited by outdated ideas of space-time. To make new scientific breakthroughs, we need to explore new data structures beyond space-time and let go of reductionism.
    • It's important to have a top-down approach when studying the brain or reverse engineering computer systems, and to recognize the limitations of evolution in answering deeper questions. Each theory will give its own answer -- it's up to us to build intuition about deeper truths.
    • Scientists and spiritual traditions have different perspectives on the true nature of consciousness and the universe, but the pursuit of knowledge is a never-ending exploration that is critical for scientific progress. As understanding deepens, scientists may shift their focus to new areas of study.
    • By challenging the idea of space-time as fundamental, new technologies and insights can be explored beyond our current understanding. Understanding the importance of consciousness can lead to remarkable discoveries and advancements.
    • Even though truth-seeking organisms may be less fit, game theory is still a valuable tool to understand how organisms evolve and adapt. Scientists should approach theories with humility as knowledge constantly evolves.
    • Math helps us understand the world, but our perception has limitations. Infinity is a mathematical concept, not observable in real life. Objects in the world are not inherently real, but data structures we create to achieve goals.
    • Our current understanding of living and non-living organisms is limited by our interface, and a deeper theory is needed to truly understand the origins of life and the dynamics of fitness functions. Cooperation may play a key role in this theory.
    • Quantum physics research suggests that our consciousness is intertwined with the outside world. Symbols act as a portal to access the deeper reality of thoughts and dreams, and physicists are uncovering big structures possibly related to consciousness.
    • Scientists are still exploring the relationship between physical reality and consciousness, with various theories proposing different properties that lead to consciousness. Some scientists even suggest that consciousness may be unrelated to physical reality altogether.
    • Space-time is just a tool and not the final say in our understanding of the world. Reductionism is not the way forward, and understanding diverse elements is key to deeper comprehension. Size doesn't matter. Keep an open mind.
    • Consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality, existing as a primitive like space and time. Constructing a model of consciousness requires minimal assumptions, and consciousness is not exclusive to humans.
    • Conscious experiences can trigger other experiences in a network of conscious agents. The hard problem of consciousness is approached differently, and building memory and learning is achievable through conscious agent networks.
    • Consciousness is fundamental and creates the physical world. There is an infinite variety of consciousness experiences and we may encounter alien forms of consciousness. All conscious agents are part of a bigger conscious agent.
    • Conscious experiences and agents are more fundamental than space and time. The theory of conscious agents attempts to explain how space, time, and brains are created by a network of non-spatial and non-temporal conscious agents. Understanding consciousness could lead to new technologies beyond our current limits.
    • Consciousness remains a profound mystery that can't be fully explained by any one theory. While new theories will likely evolve over time, the fundamental question of how formless ideas create tangible experiences will continue to baffle scientists. Clear language and ongoing refinement of theories are essential to making progress in understanding consciousness.
    • Entropic time is present in consciousness projection, leading to natural selection and competition. The notion of self is an artifact of conscious agents interacting, but the theory cannot currently explain how formless gives rise to experience.
    • The speaker questions the idea that consciousness can be explained by simply breaking it down to its physical components. Rather, they propose that consciousness may stem from a deeper, timeless self, which could have interesting implications for spiritual traditions.
    • Despite decades of research, the nature of consciousness still baffles experts. Theories suggesting that it arises from brain complexity fall short, and alternatives like brute consciousness or conscious realism require further study.
    • While we may not be able to fully visualize reality using our limited brains, advancements in science and the exploration of consciousness through drugs and human interaction provide potential portals for understanding. As we continue to discover more about the universe, our understanding will evolve.
    • Every person brings a new version of consciousness to the world, and we may be able to access deeper levels of our consciousness through creating new portals. Understanding consciousness's fundamental structures may not rely on the concept of time.
    • Our perception of nature is subjective, and conscious realism suggests that material possessions hold less significance than enhancing our sense of self through other means.
    • Our consciousness is the fundamental aspect of our existence and physical objects are just a product of it. This belief suggests that we are the authors of time and space, and may change how we think about possessions, identity, and survival after death.
    • Our perception can easily be tricked in immersive experiences, whether virtual or real, leading to the idea that we could be living in a simulation. While intriguing, it is not a profound scientific issue but rather an engineering challenge.
    • Our perception of reality is limited, and material possessions are part of a virtual game. Living in the present moment requires detaching from thoughts and understanding the bigger picture.
    • Our reality may just be an interface created by consciousness, challenging us to let go of our attachment to the physical world and embrace the liberating potential of this theory.
    • Facing mortality can inspire a search for deeper understanding of love and spirituality, and science and spiritual traditions can complement each other in this quest.
    • God is not a being, but the very essence of existence. By recognizing our interconnectedness with all things, we can reduce conflicts and embrace our potential for discovery and growth in life.
    • Understanding what we are not can provide deep insight into who we truly are. This process can be difficult, but it can lead to personal growth and strength. Time and space are modes of thinking, not living conditions.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Illusion of Reality as Explained by Donald Hoffman

    Donald Hoffman, a professor of cognitive sciences at UC Irvine, claims in his book "The Case Against Reality" that the world we see with our eyes is not real or an abstraction of objective reality. He argues that the evolutionary process does not maximize for truth but for fitness, which means that what we see is what we need to see to survive long enough to reproduce. Hoffman's team found that the probability is precisely zero that natural selection has shaped any sensory system of any organism to see any aspect of objective reality, except for one kind of structure. In other words, we see what we need to guide adaptive behavior, which means that evolution had the truth from our eyes.

    The Limitations of Our Perceptions

    Evolution has given us perceptions that guide adaptive behavior, but they do not necessarily show us the truth. Our scientific theories have limits and are not comprehensive enough to tell us what reality truly is. Physicists have already recognized that space-time is not fundamental and particles cannot be fundamental either. Therefore, what we see with our eyes is not just a limited window into reality but likely completely detached from reality. The truth is too complicated for us to handle, so we are given perceptions that are adaptive and hide the truth while giving us eye candy. Our perceptions are real, but they do not necessarily show us the truth.

    The End of Reductionism: Moving Beyond Space-Time

    Physicists have recently discovered that space-time, as we currently understand it, is not fundamental and is therefore "doomed." This means that the reductionism approach to understanding the world and universe that has been used for centuries is over, and it's time to explore newer, deeper structures beyond space-time. The scientists have already found new mathematical structures that go beyond Einstein's four-dimensional space-time and are making progress in understanding how the universe functions at a deeper level. While they don't know what this world is all about, they are making informed guesses and are exploring deep structures beyond space-time that reveal symmetries that isn't visible in space-time.

    Revising the Ontology of Space-time and Redefining Scientific Understanding

    In modern science, two pillars of quantum field theory and evolution by natural selection have challenged the current ontology of space-time and methodology of reductionism. The evolution of our understanding of space-time from Newtonian to Einsteinian formulation is just an interface for our perceptual understanding of reality. The formulation objectively predicting certain aspects of our reality in experiments still holds great value in scientific understanding. However, the reductionist approach has limitations, and scientists believe that there is always something beyond our current understanding of reality. Scientists need to create a deeper theory that projects precisely into space-time and is rigorously empirically tested. Ultimately, science will never achieve a theory of everything, but the journey towards it will increase our understanding of the universe.

    The Limitations of Mathematical Theories in Understanding Reality

    Donald Hoffman, a cognitive psychologist, discusses the limitations of mathematical theories and the incompleteness of reality. Even with sophisticated mathematical frameworks, there will always be statements that are true but cannot be proven or deduced within those frameworks. Additionally, assumptions and starting points for explanations are necessary in theories, and reality will always transcend any conceptual theory we come up with. Despite this, we can still test our theories through experiments, but our best theories tell us that even the pointers we rely on for making judgments are not the objective reality. Ultimately, there will always be mystery and contradictions in our understanding of reality.

    Developing concept of final, complete theory of Everything

    In this conversation, Donald Hoffman discusses the idea that as scientists develop new Axiom systems, they will better understand what is testable and what goes within that system. This means that, while there will always be work for scientists to do, they can obtain a conceptual understanding and a theory of everything that is final and complete. However, the study of neuroscience will become more complex and challenging as scientists try to understand what is beyond space-time and how it relates to consciousness. Neuroscience will need to reverse engineer perceptions and build models that allow for the creation and garbage collection of perceptions that occur in real-time. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a theory of consciousness that will give rise to the geometry that is being found beyond space-time.

    Rethinking Our Ontology of Space-Time

    Our current understanding of the world and our fundamental ontology of space-time may be flawed. Reductionism, which is the methodology of finding fundamental laws by going to smaller scales in space-time, was useful for centuries but is now dead as a space-time ontology. However, scientific explanation, which involves deep principles and assumptions, is not the same as reductionism. Our best theories suggest that we need to think outside of space-time and explore new data structures. Although we will still continue to use space-time for practical purposes, we need to let go of it to find the next breakthrough in understanding the universe.

    Understanding the Deeper Reality of Our World

    The conversation explores the challenges of understanding the deeper reality of our world, whether through neuroscience or physics. It highlights the importance of having a top-down model of what is being computed and why when studying the brain and the need for a similar understanding when reverse engineering computer systems. It also touches on the limitations of evolution by natural selection in providing answers to deeper questions, emphasizing that each theory we propose will give its own answer to the question of whether our understanding of reality helps us build intuition about deeper truths.

    The Pursuit of Truth: A Conversation with Donald Hoffman and Lex Fridman

    In a conversation between Donald Hoffman and Lex Fridman, they discuss the never-ending pursuit of understanding the deepest truth of consciousness and the universe. While some spiritual traditions suggest that space and time are illusions and that there is a deep ground of being beyond conceptual thought, scientists cannot fully understand themselves all the way down to the bottom. However, Hoffman believes that this never-ending exploration is an important, fundamental fact about consciousness that is critical for scientific pursuit. Fridman pushes back on the idea of job security for scientists, suggesting that as understanding deepens, the pursuit may become less fruitful, and scientists may shift their focus to the here and now.

    The Fundamental Limits of Space-Time Perception

    Theorist Donald Hoffman challenges the idea that space-time is fundamental by suggesting it is just a data structure in our perceptions. This opens up the possibility of exploring and creating new technologies and insights beyond space-time. With the understanding that consciousness is important and fundamental, scientists can use both the non-conceptual and conceptual realms to make remarkable discoveries. Hoffman's advisor at MIT suggests that human sensory systems estimate the true shapes and distances to objects more realistically than lower creatures. Evolutionary game theory shows that as organisms become more complex, they can compute the truth or at least the parts of the truth that they need.

    The Value and Limits of Game Theory in Evolutionary Science

    Evolutionary game theory suggests that truth-seeking organisms are less fit than those tracking their fitness payoffs. While there may be special cases where truth can evolve, it is still probability zero. As a scientist, it is crucial to use the best tools available to study the latest ideas and understand their implications. As with any theory, it is essential to approach it with humility and understand that a century from now, scientists will likely laugh at what we didn't know. While there may be limits to game theory, it is still a valuable tool in understanding how organisms evolve and adapt.

    The Limitations of Perception and the Tools of Mathematics

    In a conversation about the nature of reality, mathematicians Lex Fridman and Donald Hoffman discuss the limitations of human perception and the tools of mathematics in understanding the world. The concept of infinity is brought up, and while it is a mathematical construct, it is not something that humans can observe in real life. The debate between intuitionist and real numbers in mathematics is also discussed, with interesting implications for quantum theory. The conversation ultimately delves into the idea that objects in the world are not inherently real, but rather are data structures created by organisms to navigate fitness functions and achieve goals.

    The Illusion of Life and the Need for a Deeper Theory

    In this conversation between Lex Fridman and Donald Hoffman, they discuss the origins of fitness functions and the distinction between living and non-living organisms. Hoffman argues that the concept of living and non-living is an artifact of our interface and not a fundamental distinction, suggesting that a deeper theory is needed to truly understand where evolution comes from. He posits that the appearance of nature red in tooth and claw is a result of projection and that cooperation may be at the core of the dynamics of the deeper theory. Our understanding of reality is limited by our interface, and a deeper theory is needed to truly understand where fitness functions come from and the origins of life.

    Exploring the Connection between Quantum Physics and Consciousness

    In quantum physics, there is research being done on how the dynamics within states are trying to estimate the properties of the outside world, in order to keep an organism alive. When we look at someone, all we see is their physical appearance, but there is a much deeper reality involving their thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Symbols are created to represent these aspects, and act as a portal into consciousness. As complexity increases, so does the ability to create better portals. However, our interfaces can only go so far, and behind the data structure, there may be a deeper reality involving consciousness. Physicists are uncovering big structures that could be related to consciousness, and interacting with them may involve consciousness.

    The Role of Physical Reality in Consciousness

    The majority of scientists believe that consciousness arises from complex systems of matter with the right functional properties. However, there are different theories about what those properties are, including the orchestrated collapse of quantum states, integrated information theory, panpsychism, and others. Regardless of the specific theory, they all assume that space and time are fundamental, and physical processes in space and time give rise to consciousness. However, this notion may not be true, as some scientists believe that consciousness may be unrelated to physical reality and more like a portal to what's behind space and time.

    Rethinking the Fundamentals of Reality and Science

    The belief that space-time is fundamental to our understanding of reality is proving to be incorrect according to the latest scientific theories. Instead, space-time is a useful tool, but not the final say in our comprehension of the world. Scientists are discovering deeper data structures that exist beyond it, but still project back into space-time. Reductionism, the idea that everything can be broken down into its smallest parts, is also proving to be a flawed approach. Understanding the various elements that make up the world, such as silicon or iron, is key to deepening our understanding. Ultimately, size doesn't matter and it's important to keep an open mind as we continue to explore the universe.

    The Data Structure of Reality and Consciousness

    According to Donald Hoffman, getting to the most fundamental nature of reality leads to the recognition that one has simply arrived at the irreducible representations of a data structure, rather than some deeper understanding beyond space-time. To construct a model of consciousness, scientists need to choose minimal assumptions that enable a comprehensive theory. Conscious experiences, such as feeling a headache or smelling garlic, are a primitive that exists just like space and time, as opposed to being derived from physics or functional properties of particles. Consciousness is not exclusive to human beings, but rather exists in an infinite variety of consciousnesses beyond humans.

    The Probabilistic Relationship Between Conscious Experiences

    Conscious experiences can trigger other conscious experiences and there is a probabilistic relationship between them. There is no notion of self or agent, only experiences and relationships. To build a network of conscious agents, we need to assume as little as possible and everything we assume is a miracle in the theory. Networks of conscious agents are computational universal, meaning anything that can be done with neural networks or automata can also be done with conscious agent networks. Building memory and learning can be achieved through conscious agent networks, but there is still the possibility of non-computable interactions between conscious agents. The hard problem of consciousness is approached differently, as space, time, and particles are not assumed to explain conscious experiences.

    Donald Hoffman's theory of consciousness and the universe

    Donald Hoffman argues that consciousness is fundamental and that the physical world is something that consciousness creates, rather than something that the brain generates. He suggests that consciousness is not limited to human beings, but rather it is a universal property of the universe. In this framework, there is an infinite variety of data structures and consciousness experiences. Hoffman posits that as we explore beyond our space-time bubble, we may encounter utterly alien forms of consciousness that we may not comprehend. He suggests that all conscious agents are part of a single big conscious agent and that the subjective experiences that each conscious agent has can be seen as a single conversation.

    The Fundamental Concept of Consciousness as a Reality

    Donald Hoffman proposes the idea that consciousness is a more fundamental aspect of reality than space and time, and that conscious experiences are fundamental as well. His theory of conscious agents aims to show how space, time, and brains emerge from a network of conscious agents outside of space and time. While there are still unresolved issues, such as how consciousness arises in the first place, solving this problem may lead to new technologies beyond our current understanding. Overall, the theory of conscious agents offers a unique perspective on the hard problem of consciousness and the nature of reality.

    The Uncertainty of Consciousness and the Universe

    Donald Hoffman believes that there is no ultimate Theory of Everything to explain consciousness and the universe. While his team's conversation theory is a good start, he thinks it will continue to evolve as new theories arise, with conscious agents numbering in the trillions. However, the question of how the formless gives birth to form, such as the taste of chocolate, will likely always remain unanswered. Hoffman is cautious when discussing conscious agents, noting that the notions of self and agency are not fundamental in his theory but can be used to build models. Language is critical when discussing consciousness because the term is loaded with ambiguity and shrouded in mystery. It will require continued refinement in theories and language to make progress.

    Understanding Entropic Time and the Artifact of Consciousness Projection.

    In this section, Donald Hoffman discusses how any projection or view of consciousness will have the artifact of entropic time, even if the fundamental dynamics of consciousness do not have any limits on resources. This limited resource, including time, can lead to competition and evolution by natural selection as an artifact of a deeper system in which those are not fundamental. The theory also suggests that the notion of self can be an artifact of the projection of one conscious agent, as anytime conscious agents interact, they form a new conscious agent. However, the theory cannot currently explain how the formless gives rise to the experience of things like chocolate.

    Challenging the Physicalist Framework: Can Consciousness be Explained Scientifically?

    The speaker suggests that consciousness cannot be explained by starting with unconscious ingredients and booting up consciousness. This challenges the physicalist framework, which takes space-time and objects as ontologically fundamental. The challenge is to give one specific conscious experience that can be accounted for with a physical system. The speaker believes that consciousness may be a projection of a deeper self, which is timeless and precludes any particular conscious experience. This notion of self can have interesting implications for spiritual traditions that emphasize letting go of the finite self that competes for money and prestige.

    The Unresolved Mystery of Consciousness

    The hard problem of consciousness is still unsolved, and despite decades of research, no theory has been able to give a specific conscious experience based on physical dynamics or structure. While physicalists argue that consciousness arises from the complexity of the brain, this concept of complexity is ill-defined when grounded in space-time. Many intelligent theorists have spent years working on this problem, but no solution has been forthcoming. Some suggest the need to stipulate consciousness as a brute fact, while others are exploring the conscious realist perspective that stipulates consciousness without the physical stuff. Ultimately, more research is needed to solve this challenging philosophical problem.

    The Limits of Human Perception in Understanding Reality

    The conversation explores whether it's possible for humans with limited brains to visually understand reality as we delve deeper into it. While it may not be possible to visualize it in the same way we visualize the 3D world, incremental advancements in science may allow us to visualize reality using mathematics and technology. Furthermore, we can get hints of consciousness' potential through psychedelic drugs or by creating new portals of consciousness, such as having children. Each person's body and consciousness is a potential portal for us to interact with. Ultimately, as we continue to uncover the secrets of the universe, our understanding of consciousness and reality will continue to evolve.

    Unique Personalities and New Portals in Consciousness

    In this conversation between Lex Fridman and Donald Hoffman, they discuss the idea that every consciousness has a unique personality or character, and that each new person born brings in a version of consciousness that we've never seen before. They talk about the possibility of creating new portals in our consciousness, which could lead to new windows in our deeper consciousness, and how psychedelics may play a role in this process. They also discuss the concept of space-time and how there may be deeper structures beyond it that are fundamental to understanding consciousness, intelligence, emotion, memory, and other mechanisms. Ultimately, they hope to find a new, deeper theory of consciousness that explains the whole story of our evolution, without relying on the concept of time.

    The Illusion of Nature and Conscious Realism

    According to Donald Hoffman, philosopher Emmanuel Kant and he share an agreement in the belief that humans do not see nature as it is, but rather impose a structure on it. However, Hoffman does not refer to himself as an idealist, but rather a conscious realist to avoid being identified with anti-science and anti-realism. He believes that space and time are forms of our perceptions and that all possessions and objects are ephemeral as they only exist when we create them in the present moment, rather than being pre-existing in space and time. The practical implication of conscious realism is that humans should focus on what is deeper than material possessions and enhance their sense of self and importance in other ways.

    The Radical Restructuring of Our Perception of Reality

    Donald Hoffman discusses how our perception of reality is not what it seems. In fact, our consciousness is the fundamental aspect of our existence, and physical objects are just a product of our consciousness. He believes that our consciousness is not confined to our body, but rather we are the authors of time and space. Spiritual traditions have talked about similar concepts but not in mathematical terms like Hoffman has. The recent discovery of permutation matrices in physics suggests that it may be possible to map the dynamics of conscious agents onto space-time. Overall, this perspective is a radical restructuring of how we think about possessions, identity, and survival after death.

    The Immersive Reality of Living in a Simulation

    The idea that we are living in a simulation is not necessarily about the physical space, but rather how efficiently we can create convincing interfaces for all entities in the simulation. Researchers are studying how to create immersion experiences in virtual reality and it does not take much to trick our perception. We can even be tricked by our own experiences, like the fact that there is nothing behind us when we close our eyes and pay attention. This shows how we are fully immersed in the simulation and can be fully tricked by it. However, it is an interesting engineering problem rather than a deep scientific problem.

    Letting go of thoughts to live in the present moment

    Donald Hoffman, a cognitive psychologist, shares that his research on reality has been difficult for him as it challenges everything he thought he knew. He struggled to integrate these new ideas into his personal life, but found that studying spiritual traditions helped him understand that his theories were not so far-fetched. He realized that everything that he thought was important, like his house, car, and reputation, is just part of the virtual reality game that humans are playing. The only reality is the present moment, and he suggests that letting go of thoughts altogether can help humans detach from the virtual reality and live in the present moment.

    Consciousness as the Fundamental Fabric of the Universe

    In this discussion between Donald Hoffman and Lex Fridman, they explore the idea that our reality is just an interface created by consciousness. This means that consciousness is the fundamental fabric of the universe and that everything we perceive is based on data structures created by consciousness. While this theory is supported by modern science, it can be scary to acknowledge because we are so attached to the things we perceive in the world. Hoffman admits that this theory challenges his core beliefs, and that he spends time meditating on it. Ultimately, accepting this theory means letting go of our attachment to our physical existence, which can be scary, but also liberating.

    Facing Death and Exploring Spirituality and Love with Donald Hoffman

    In this section, Donald Hoffman, a philosopher and cognitive scientist, discusses how facing the reality of death has changed his perspective on spirituality and love. He explains how he has turned to spiritual traditions to gain insight on these topics and compares them to scientific theories. He also reflects on the deeper sense of love beyond sexual attraction and how it relates to the idea of union with others. Additionally, he discusses the concept of God and how it pertains to the search for common ground in spiritual traditions. Facing our mortality can inspire us to seek understanding of deeper concepts like love and spirituality, and that science and spiritual traditions can complement each other in this quest.

    Understanding God as the Ground of Being Itself

    The speaker believes that God is not a being, but rather the very ground of being itself. The word God has often caused conflict because people have different views of what God is. However, if we think of God as just being, and if we believe that all things are part of that one being, then there is no reason for conflict. The speaker encourages young people to realize that they are special and interesting, and that they are capable of contributing to new discoveries and writing new textbooks. As for the meaning of life, the speaker suggests that it may have something to do with exploring the infinite variety of structures for consciousness that exist.

    Consciousness and Understanding What It's Not

    Consciousness wakes up to itself by knowing what it's not. It immerses itself fully into a particular reality, but to escape that reality and wake up, it needs to understand what it is not. By understanding what it is not, it gains a deeper understanding of what it truly is. This process is powerful and enlightening. Despite going through a difficult time, we can use these experiences to grow and become better versions of ourselves. We should appreciate and honor those who have gone through these experiences and come out on the other side stronger. Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live.

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    #428 – Sean Carroll: General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Black Holes & Aliens

    #428 – Sean Carroll: General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Black Holes & Aliens
    Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist, author, and host of Mindscape podcast. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - HiddenLayer: https://hiddenlayer.com/lex - Cloaked: https://cloaked.com/lex and use code LexPod to get 25% off - Notion: https://notion.com/lex - Shopify: https://shopify.com/lex to get $1 per month trial - NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/lex to get free product tour Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/sean-carroll-3-transcript EPISODE LINKS: Sean's Website: https://preposterousuniverse.com Mindscape Podcast: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/ Sean's YouTube: https://youtube.com/@seancarroll Sean's Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/seanmcarroll Sean's Twitter: https://twitter.com/seanmcarroll Sean's Instagram: https://instagram.com/seanmcarroll Sean's Papers: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Lfifrv8AAAAJ Sean's Books: https://amzn.to/3W7yT9N PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (11:03) - General relativity (23:22) - Black holes (28:11) - Hawking radiation (32:19) - Aliens (41:15) - Holographic principle (1:05:38) - Dark energy (1:11:38) - Dark matter (1:20:34) - Quantum mechanics (1:41:56) - Simulation (1:44:18) - AGI (1:58:42) - Complexity (2:11:25) - Consciousness (2:20:32) - Naturalism (2:24:49) - Limits of science (2:29:34) - Mindscape podcast (2:39:29) - Einstein

    #427 – Neil Adams: Judo, Olympics, Winning, Losing, and the Champion Mindset

    #427 – Neil Adams: Judo, Olympics, Winning, Losing, and the Champion Mindset
    Neil Adams is a judo world champion, 2-time Olympic silver medalist, 5-time European champion, and often referred to as the Voice of Judo. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - ZipRecruiter: https://ziprecruiter.com/lex - Eight Sleep: https://eightsleep.com/lex to get special savings - MasterClass: https://masterclass.com/lexpod to get 15% off - LMNT: https://drinkLMNT.com/lex to get free sample pack - NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/lex to get free product tour Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/neil-adams-transcript EPISODE LINKS: Neil's Instagram: https://instagram.com/naefighting Neil's YouTube: https://youtube.com/NAEffectiveFighting Neil's TikTok: https://tiktok.com/@neiladamsmbe Neil's Facebook: https://facebook.com/NeilAdamsJudo Neil's X: https://x.com/NeilAdamsJudo Neil's Website: https://naeffectivefighting.com Neil's Podcast: https://naeffectivefighting.com/podcasts/the-dojo-collective-podcast A Life in Judo (book): https://amzn.to/4d3DtfB A Game of Throws (audiobook): https://amzn.to/4aA2WeJ PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (09:13) - 1980 Olympics (26:35) - Judo explained (34:40) - Winning (52:54) - 1984 Olympics (1:01:55) - Lessons from losing (1:17:37) - Teddy Riner (1:37:12) - Training in Japan (1:52:51) - Jiu jitsu (2:03:59) - Training (2:27:18) - Advice for beginners

    #426 – Edward Gibson: Human Language, Psycholinguistics, Syntax, Grammar & LLMs

    #426 – Edward Gibson: Human Language, Psycholinguistics, Syntax, Grammar & LLMs
    Edward Gibson is a psycholinguistics professor at MIT and heads the MIT Language Lab. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - Yahoo Finance: https://yahoofinance.com - Listening: https://listening.com/lex and use code LEX to get one month free - Policygenius: https://policygenius.com/lex - Shopify: https://shopify.com/lex to get $1 per month trial - Eight Sleep: https://eightsleep.com/lex to get special savings Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/edward-gibson-transcript EPISODE LINKS: Edward's X: https://x.com/LanguageMIT TedLab: https://tedlab.mit.edu/ Edward's Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=4FsWE64AAAAJ TedLab's YouTube: https://youtube.com/@Tedlab-MIT PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (10:53) - Human language (14:59) - Generalizations in language (20:46) - Dependency grammar (30:45) - Morphology (39:20) - Evolution of languages (42:40) - Noam Chomsky (1:26:46) - Thinking and language (1:40:16) - LLMs (1:53:14) - Center embedding (2:19:42) - Learning a new language (2:23:34) - Nature vs nurture (2:30:10) - Culture and language (2:44:38) - Universal language (2:49:01) - Language translation (2:52:16) - Animal communication

    #425 – Andrew Callaghan: Channel 5, Gonzo, QAnon, O-Block, Politics & Alex Jones

    #425 – Andrew Callaghan: Channel 5, Gonzo, QAnon, O-Block, Politics & Alex Jones
    Andrew Callaghan is the host of Channel 5 on YouTube, where he does street interviews with fascinating humans at the edges of society, the so-called vagrants, vagabonds, runaways, outlaws, from QAnon adherents to Phish heads to O Block residents and much more. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - ShipStation: https://shipstation.com/lex and use code LEX to get 60-day free trial - BetterHelp: https://betterhelp.com/lex to get 10% off - LMNT: https://drinkLMNT.com/lex to get free sample pack - MasterClass: https://masterclass.com/lexpod to get 15% off - AG1: https://drinkag1.com/lex to get 1 month supply of fish oil Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/andrew-callaghan-transcript EPISODE LINKS: Channel 5 with Andrew Callaghan: https://www.youtube.com/channel5YouTube Andrew's Instagram: https://instagram.com/andreww.me Andrew's Website: https://andrew-callaghan.com/ Andrew's Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/channel5 This Place Rules: https://www.hbo.com/movies/this-place-rules Books Mentioned: On the Road: https://amzn.to/4aLPLHi Siddhartha: https://amzn.to/49rthKz PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (08:53) - Walmart (10:24) - Early life (29:14) - Hitchhiking (40:49) - Couch surfing (49:50) - Quarter Confessions (1:07:33) - Burning Man (1:22:44) - Protests (1:28:17) - Jon Stewart (1:31:13) - Fame (1:44:31) - Jan 6 (1:48:15) - QAnon (1:54:00) - Alex Jones (2:10:52) - Politics (2:20:29) - Response to allegations (2:37:28) - Channel 5 (2:43:04) - Rap (2:44:51) - O Block (2:48:47) - Crip Mac (2:51:59) - Aliens

    #424 – Bassem Youssef: Israel-Palestine, Gaza, Hamas, Middle East, Satire & Fame

    #424 – Bassem Youssef: Israel-Palestine, Gaza, Hamas, Middle East, Satire & Fame
    Bassem Youssef is an Egyptian-American comedian & satirist, referred to as the Jon Stewart of the Arab World. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - AG1: https://drinkag1.com/lex to get 1 month supply of fish oil - Shopify: https://shopify.com/lex to get $1 per month trial - Eight Sleep: https://eightsleep.com/lex to get special savings - LMNT: https://drinkLMNT.com/lex to get free sample pack Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/bassem-youssef-transcript EPISODE LINKS: Bassem's X: https://x.com/Byoussef Bassem's Instagram: https://instagram.com/bassem Bassem's Facebook: https://facebook.com/bassemyousseftv Bassem's Website: https://bassemyoussef.xyz PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (06:30) - Oct 7 (36:59) - Two-state solution (52:37) - Holocaust (1:00:24) - 1948 (1:09:17) - Egypt (1:23:39) - Jon Stewart (1:25:51) - Going viral during the Arab Spring (1:49:55) - Arabic vs English (2:02:18) - Sam Harris and Jihad (2:07:25) - Religion (2:26:37) - TikTok (2:31:10) - Joe Rogan (2:33:07) - Joe Biden (2:37:33) - Putin (2:39:21) - War (2:44:17) - Hope

    #423 – Tulsi Gabbard: War, Politics, and the Military Industrial Complex

    #423 – Tulsi Gabbard: War, Politics, and the Military Industrial Complex
    Tulsi Gabbard is a politician, veteran, and author of For Love of Country. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - Riverside: https://creators.riverside.fm/LEX and use code LEX to get 30% off - ExpressVPN: https://expressvpn.com/lexpod to get 3 months free - NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/lex to get free product tour - Notion: https://notion.com/lex Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/tulsi-gabbard-transcript EPISODE LINKS: For Love of Country (book): https://amzn.to/3VLlofM Tulsi's X: https://x.com/tulsigabbard Tulsi's YouTube: https://youtube.com/@TulsiGabbard Tulsi's Podcast: https://youtube.com/@TheTulsiGabbardShow Tulsi's Instagram: https://instagram.com/tulsigabbard Tulsi's Facebook: https://facebook.com/TulsiGabbard Tulsi's Website: https://tulsigabbard.com/ PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (07:14) - War in Iraq (15:00) - Battle injuries and PTSD (22:10) - War on terrorism (30:51) - War in Gaza (34:52) - War in Ukraine (38:38) - Syria (46:20) - Warmongers (55:40) - Nuclear war (1:11:08) - TikTok ban (1:23:13) - Bernie Sanders (1:28:08) - Politics (1:46:59) - Personal attacks (1:49:07) - God

    #422 – Mark Cuban: Shark Tank, DEI & Wokeism Debate, Elon Musk, Politics & Drugs

    #422 – Mark Cuban: Shark Tank, DEI & Wokeism Debate, Elon Musk, Politics & Drugs
    Mark Cuban is a businessman, investor, star of TV series Shark Tank, long-time principal owner of Dallas Mavericks, and founder of Cost Plus Drugs. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - Listening: https://listening.com/lex and use code LEX to get one month free - Cloaked: https://cloaked.com/lex and use code LexPod to get 25% off - Notion: https://notion.com/lex - Eight Sleep: https://eightsleep.com/lex to get special savings - Shopify: https://shopify.com/lex to get $1 per month trial Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/mark-cuban-transcript EPISODE LINKS: Mark's X: https://twitter.com/mcuban Mark's Instagram: https://instagram.com/mcuban Cost Plus Drugs: https://costplusdrugs.com Shark Tank: https://abc.com/shows/shark-tank Dallas Mavericks: https://www.mavs.com PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (11:10) - Entrepreneurship (26:03) - Shark Tank (36:29) - How Mark made first billion (1:02:39) - Dallas Mavericks (1:08:05) - DEI debate (1:43:58) - Trump vs Biden (1:46:20) - Immigration (1:55:53) - Drugs and Big Pharma (2:11:53) - AI (2:16:05) - Advice for young people

    #421 – Dana White: UFC, Fighting, Khabib, Conor, Tyson, Ali, Rogan, Elon & Zuck

    #421 – Dana White: UFC, Fighting, Khabib, Conor, Tyson, Ali, Rogan, Elon & Zuck
    Dana White is the CEO and president of the UFC. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - LMNT: https://drinkLMNT.com/lex to get free sample pack - Notion: https://notion.com/lex - AG1: https://drinkag1.com/lex to get 1 month supply of fish oil - InsideTracker: https://insidetracker.com/lex to get 20% off Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/dana-white-transcript EPISODE LINKS: Dana's X: https://x.com/danawhite Dana's Instagram: https://instagram.com/danawhite Dana's Facebook: https://facebook.com/danawhite UFC's YouTube: https://youtube.com/@UFC UFC's Website: https://ufc.com/ PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (06:31) - Mike Tyson and early days of fighting (17:10) - Jiu jitsu (23:14) - Origin of UFC (37:25) - Joe Rogan (43:31) - Lorenzo Fertitta (45:58) - Great fighters (49:55) - Khabib vs Conor (53:01) - Jon Jones (56:03) - Conor McGregor (1:01:05) - Trump (1:06:44) - Elon vs Zuck (1:08:04) - Mike Tyson vs Jake Paul (1:10:52) - Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar (1:18:06) - Gambling (1:33:08) - Mortality

    #420 – Annie Jacobsen: Nuclear War, CIA, KGB, Aliens, Area 51, Roswell & Secrecy

    #420 – Annie Jacobsen: Nuclear War, CIA, KGB, Aliens, Area 51, Roswell & Secrecy
    Annie Jacobsen is an investigative journalist and author of "Nuclear War: A Scenario" and many other books on war, weapons, government secrecy, and national security. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors: - HiddenLayer: https://hiddenlayer.com/lex - BetterHelp: https://betterhelp.com/lex to get 10% off - Policygenius: https://policygenius.com/lex - NetSuite: http://netsuite.com/lex to get free product tour Transcript: https://lexfridman.com/annie-jacobsen-transcript EPISODE LINKS: Nuclear War: A Scenario (book): https://amzn.to/3THZHfr Annie's Twitter: https://twitter.com/anniejacobsen Annie's Website: https://anniejacobsen.com/ Annie's Books: https://amzn.to/3TGWyMJ Annie's Books (audio): https://adbl.co/49ZnI7c PODCAST INFO: Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8 RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/ YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips SUPPORT & CONNECT: - Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast - Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman - Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman - Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman OUTLINE: Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time. (00:00) - Introduction (07:37) - Nuclear war (12:21) - Launch procedure (18:00) - Deterrence (21:34) - Tactical nukes (30:59) - Nuclear submarines (33:59) - Nuclear missiles (41:10) - Nuclear football (50:17) - Missile interceptor system (54:34) - North Korea (1:01:10) - Nuclear war scenarios (1:10:02) - Warmongers (1:14:31) - President's cognitive ability (1:20:43) - Refusing orders (1:28:41) - Russia and Putin (1:33:48) - Cyberattack (1:35:09) - Ground zero of nuclear war (1:39:48) - Surviving nuclear war (1:44:06) - Nuclear winter (1:54:29) - Alien civilizations (2:00:04) - Extrasensory perception (2:13:50) - Area 51 (2:17:48) - UFOs and aliens (2:28:15) - Roswell incident (2:34:55) - CIA assassinations (2:53:47) - Navalny (2:56:12) - KGB (3:02:48) - Hitler and the atomic bomb (3:06:52) - War and human nature (3:10:17) - Hope