Zombies in Your Head, Not Mind, Control Daily Life
2011 07 15

By Zinta Lundborg | Bloomberg.com


You may feel in control, but you’re actually driven by neural “zombie systems” you’ll never even be aware of.

David Eagleman’s “Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain,” strips away the primacy of our conscious mind, exploring the underlying forces actually determining our choices.

Directing the Laboratory for Perception and Action at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Eagleman studies time, synesthesia and neurolaw.
But he’s no ordinary neuroscientist. “Sum,” his book of short stories about various afterlives, is an international best-seller, translated into 23 languages. It led to a collaboration with Brian Eno; composer Max Richter will debut a full-length work based on “Sum” next year atLondon’s Royal Opera House; and the screen rights have just been sold.

We spoke at Bloomberg world headquarters in Manhattan.

Lundborg: How is consciousness like a “tiny stowaway on a transatlantic steamship?”

Eagleman: The conscious mind is the smallest bit of what’s transpiring in the brain.

Even though we feel like we’re the ones navigating our lives, there is quite a bit about our desires, our motivations, our attractions, our hopes and our beliefs that is generated by parts of our brain that we don’t have access to and we’re not even acquainted with.
The brain is essentially this massive computational device that runs all of its operations under the hood.


Ed Note: "The brain is essentially this massive computational device that runs all of its operations under the hood." We’re automatons behaving at the whim of a fleshy blob of protein?
Robotic shells with no capacity for free will? ~E

Lundborg: So many implications -- for example, you say men find women with dilated eyes more attractive without knowing why.

Eagleman: Yes. When men were shown photographs of women’s faces, the men uniformly found the women with dilated eyes more attractive.
None of the men were able to say “Oh, I noticed her pupils were a millimeter larger in this photo.” And none of the men knew consciously that dilated eyes are a sign of sexual readiness in women.
Nonetheless, their brains knew that. They have all kinds of information that their brains are picking up at a deeper level, and it drives them toward that behavior.

Lundborg: Men want full lips, full buttocks, and a narrow waist, while women a full jaw, stubble, and a broad chest.

Eagleman: These are signs that broadcast one signal: “I am fertile.” It’s not that we’re really making a choice about what we find beautiful; we have millions of years of evolution driving us towards having that conscious summary.

Lundborg: What happens to romance?

Eagleman: We feel love, but it all has to do with securing a mate and reproduction and so on, which is not to say that we can’t enjoy every bit of it. But it’s not there without purpose.


Getty Images

Lundborg: Do the “zombie systems” running things without any input from the conscious mind mean free will is an illusion?

Eagleman: Some scientists think so, but what I conclude is that we might have free will but it’s probably going to be a bit player in the operations of the brain.
Consciousness does seem to be useful for setting the long- term goals of the system exactly the same way that a CEO does.

Lundborg: You say we’re nearing a time when stock market data could be plugged directly into the brain. How would that work?

Eagleman: This is the subject of my next book on brain plasticity, called “Live Wired.”
The brain is this alien kind of computational device that can wrap itself around whatever inputs it has. So there’s nothing special about eyes and ears and nose. Those are just essentially peripheral plug and play devices that can send data fibers into the brain, and the brain figures out what to do with it.
You should be able to plug anything, any data cables, into the brain and it will learn how to interpret those and it will actually have perception.

Lundborg: How exactly do we plug those in?

Eagleman: Electrodes directly into the cortex, but it’s not safe yet.

Lundborg: How can science address larger business issues?

Eagleman: Your brain operates as a team of rivals. You are made up of all these competing neural networks that we can image now, these networks that are all battling it out under the hood.
This gives us a new and nuanced way of understanding how people make decisions. When we look at things like financial markets, the future of economics is agent-based modeling, where people look at how individual humans make decisions and interact with one another, combined with the diversity of human beings.
The future of economics is going to be simulating giant populations of people interacting and trading with one another, and that’s something I’m interested in doing in the future.

Read the full article at: bloomberg.com



Also tune into:

Lindy Cowling - Heart Energy & Changes in Mass Consciousness

Lindy Cowling - Ascension, Thought Forms, Fear & Love

Penney Peirce - Frequency, Intuition, Time & Dreams

Anthony Peake & Tom Campbell - Consciousness Creates Reality

Nassim Haramein - The Schwarzschild Proton

George Kavassilas - Ascension and Beyond

Sonia Barrett - The Cosmic Game in 3D

Tom Campbell - The Big TOE (Theory of Everything), Consciousness & Reality

Peter Russell - The Primacy of Consciousness







Related Articles
Do You Choose to Believe in Free Will?
Neuroscience: You’re Just a Machine & There’s No Free Will
Think You’re Operating on Free Will? Think Again
Possible site of free will found in brain
Free Will: Now You Have It, Now You Don’t
"Gender-Neutral" Pre-School in Sweden Accused of Mind Control
Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?
Homeland security deploys mind-reading hardware
Scientists warn that drugs of the future will be designed specifically to control the human mind
Dr. Nick Begich: Electronic, Psychotronic Mind Control (Video)
Robots with a hotline


Latest News from our Front Page

Illegal Aliens Cleared For U.S. Military Service
2014 10 18
The Pentagon announced a new policy allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to enlist in the armed forces, Thursday. USA Today reports that the new recruitment policies will focus on people with "high-demand skills" like foreign language acumen and health care training: "For the first time, the program — known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will ...
Bronze Age Sundial-Moondial Discovered in Russia
2014 10 16
A strange slab of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age, a new study finds. The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle, and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises. The sundial might be "evidence of ...
Humans may only survive 68 days on Mars
2014 10 15
Space enthusiasts planning a move to Mars may have to wait to relocate: conditions on the Red Planet are such that humans would likely begin dying within 68 days, a new study says. Oxygen levels would start to deplete after about two months and scientists said new technologies are required before humans can permanently settle on Mars, according to the study ...
Tom Sunic’s letter to the US Ambassador to Hungary
2014 10 14
October 11, 2014 Mr. André Goodfriend Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of the United States of America Szabadság tér 12 H-1054 Budapest Dear Mr. Goodfriend, As an American citizen I would hereby like to express my concern over the recent decision by the Hungarian government to ban the National Policy Institute (NPI) conference which had been scheduled to take place in Budapest from October 3 to October 5, 2014. ...
"Vampire grave" found in Bulgaria
2014 10 14
A "vampire grave" containing a skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been unearthed by a man known as "Bulgaria’s Indiana Jones". Professor Nikolai Ovcharov – a crusading archaeologist who has dedicated his life to unearthing mysteries of ancient civilisations – said that he had made the discovery while excavating the ruins of Perperikon, an ancient Thracian city ...
More News »