How much of what we experience of the world is actually ‘reality’? That’s a question we’ve pondered before in regards to the tiny slice of ‘reality’ that we actually perceive – but in a new TED talk (embedded below) neuroscientist Anil Seth points out that even what we *do* perceive is as much an overlay from our mind as it is input from the outside world.
Illustrating his point with some optical and audio illusions, Seth shows how the brain uses its prior expectations to change raw perceptual information into models that agree with our expectations and past experience. Which means, in short, that we are all hallucinating to some degree, all the time.
If hallucination is a kind of uncontrolled perception, then perception is a kind of hallucination. In fact, we’re hallucinating all the time, including right now. It’s just that when we agree about our hallucinations…we call that reality.