Mark Solms: The Source of Consciousness, Brainstem & Affect, Homeostasis & Variational Free Energy


Professor Mark Solms has spent his entire career investigating the mysteries of consciousness. Best known for identifying the brain mechanisms of dreaming and for bringing psychoanalytic insights into modern neuroscience, he is director of Neuropsychology in the Neuroscience Institute of the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital (Departments of Psychology and Neurology), an Honorary Lecturer in Neurosurgery at the Royal London Hospital School of Medicine, an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists, and the President of the South African Psychoanalytical Association.

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(0:00) - Introduction
(0:20) - Why is it "something it is like" to be me?
(10:07) - Mark's theory of consciousness (Affect & Feelings)
(16:19) - The Hard Problem
(26:30) - The difference between consciousness & intelligence
(30:35) - Why the "ancient brain" is a better place to start regarding understanding consciousness (brainstem vs cortex)
(42:14) - The brainstem is the source of consciousness
(46:44) - More evidence for non-cortical consciousness theories
(54:11) - The "level of consciousness" vs "contents of consciousness" dichotomy
(1:02:39) - How Mark's work on homeostasis links with Karl Friston's minimising free energy principle to help formulate a theory of consciousness
(1:11:21) - Mark's views on other theories of consciousness (e.g. Pansychism, Idealism etc.)
(1:30:16) - What do we do with the limited information we have about matter and reality?
(1:37:40) - Why do we keep searching for "Truth" in a Universe that may never provide us with an answer?
(1:43:11) - Mark's religious/spiritual beliefs and how he approaches the "deeper questions"
(1:49:57) - Conclusion