Professor Sautoy's journey into the reality of our consciousness brought him to consider the relationship between our biological situation and the apparently separate notion of 'self'. This led him to the work of Professor Ehrsson. According to Ehrsson, the idea of an 'I' is an illusion produced by the brain; consciousness is merely the outcome of the brain's procedures for determining where and what it is. To show how this is the case, he gave Sautoy a special piece of headgear which put his field of vision directly behind him, so that his eyes relayed different information for his bodily location than his other senses. Ehrsson then held two different colored pens, thrusting one at the camera (which was now Sautoy's field of vision) and the other at Sautoy's chest. This confused Sautoy and he had trouble identifying which color pen was actually hitting him on the chest. When Ehrsson swung a hammer at the camera, Sautoy actually flinched back in his seat. What Ehrsson did was effectively separate Sautoy's sense of 'I' from his body, only because Sautoy's displaced field of vision conveyed to him an incorrect sense of bodily location. This seems to show that consciousness can be manipulated by physical stimuli, thus disproving that the body and mind are distinct. I am not sure how valid we can consider this demonstration, simply because Sautoy was aware of Ehrsson's work before he came to him, and his behavior could have been influenced accordingly. Nonetheless, the idea that a sense of self is inseparable from brain and bodily functions is convincing. When our sensory data is cleverly configured, our sense of self can become hugely inaccurate. Ehrsson's demonstration, if valid, shows that our idea or sense of ourselves fundamentally comes from the brain's processing of sensory information, not from an intangible entity. However, I am perplexed when I try to fit a sense of self that involves complex emotion or abstract thought into the context of Ehrsson's work.
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