Interview with Hares Youssef
— Despite continuous scientific discoveries over centuries, humanity still works on a key mystery of the universe - the brain. Our understanding of the brain (and, for that matter, consciousness) remains imperfect, and we are still a long way from gaining even a basic knowledge of it. For decades, the brain-is-a-computer metaphor has dominated neuroscience. But, of course, there have been exceptions among scientists. For example, pioneer of neuroscience Carl Lashley strongly opposed machine metaphors concerning the brain in the middle of the last century. Miguel Nicolelis insisted that the brain is not computable and cannot be modelled.
Today these issues are discussed not only by scientists but also by religious figures who are open to dialogue with the scientific community. So what is the brain, and could machine metaphors apply to it?
— Biology is a world that came about due to the favourable thermal and chemical conditions on our planet. The brain is the control centre of all biology because the entire history of biological evolution is stored on this mysterious 'server'. Alternatively, this 'server' is a powerful computer that reproduces reality.
Each brain connects to a single network. The brain has been around for a long time. It has created for itself a kind of protective 'shell' in the form of the skull, as well as "limbs" that allow it to move around on the surface of our planet. The brain can be proud of its creation, which we call consciousness. On the one hand, we use consciousness, and on the other hand, consciousness uses us. We are a tool for creating a reality for it. Consciousness is an ultra-intelligent and powerful program that transforms reality into a holistic picture of the game in which we live. In this game, time and life play with us, and we, in turn, must perceive ourselves as players.
The brain is a mysterious force that drives a person throughout their entire existence to find and comprehend this force as the source of the origin of everything. Therefore, we strive to familiarise ourselves with this power that has manifested itself in the process of our entire evolution in the form of religions.
— So you could say that, in some sense, the brain is God?
— The brain is a creator. If we asked ourselves where all the information about our evolution is stored, wherein our being there can be a repository of information about everything, the answer would be that the brain is this repository of information - and not just the human brain but the brain as a whole. Everyone's brain is merely a neuron of the universal planetary brain, whose mission is evolution. The mysterious secret of the gospel truth 'God is one lies in the fact that a brain is a single unit. I'd be pleasantly surprised if science were to conclude that there is a lump of quantum matter inside our skull. When we try to establish observation of it, this quantum matter takes the familiar form that we see in the brain's images. The true state of the brain is not something that can be detected or observed.
— Often, in the modern world, the concepts of 'consciousness' and 'mind' are understood almost as synonyms, which creates colossal confusion. You make a clear distinction between them.
— Consciousness, reason and mind must not be confused. The brain's function is to enhance consciousness by processing the data that appears due to the mind's activity, enriching its 'server' with continuously updated information. This updating is needed to raise the level of consciousness, not only in other living organisms but in all life. In turn, this constant upgrading is the primary function of the brain. The brain never stops reproducing two things - time and being. Through time it constantly enhances being, and through being, it enriches time.
— In GAIIA, you write that the brain has a unique evolutionary plan that we must fulfil.
— Humo has the perfect device for communication with us. It's the brain. We can't talk about 'our brain' because the brain is the factory that creates us. It lives as us and is located in our bodies. It organises life processes in them and performs many functions that are still unknown to us. The brain is not just a repository of evolutionary memory; it is the fruit of evolution. It means that it is the brain that generates life matter. Moreover, it forms organisms out of this matter, with very advanced algorithms for controlling the set of functions of internal organs, to simultaneously carry out all life process tasks and adapt them to the external world, which is another responsibility of the brain. The brain is a weaving mill of reality, and all the physical laws of the world that surround us are programs written by brain algorithms. The brain is God, whose path we have been seeking throughout human history. The brain is hidden from us in the skull. It seeks protection there from our ignorance. Through pain and need, feelings of comfort, and desires, the brain directs us to fulfil its evolutionary plan. Happiness is nothing more than the brain's feedback on the successful execution of its goals. Therefore, the pursuit of happiness is the path from ignorance to wisdom.
A mind that does not bring its owner happiness is tainted. The mind is like a sail whose task is to make your life journey an enjoyable experience. But quite often, with this sail, we make waves - we create difficulties for our mind. Our emotions are the sea and waves, and our thoughts are the winds. And you create the conditions for your mind to work. If you want it to work great and give you the best results, please watch the wind and waves. Be a sail yourself. This metaphor - sailor mind - is the centre of gravity. Here, the mind is the source of the 'me' on whose behalf you speak. The mind is the world we live in. Make it your kingdom and be king of it.
Like everything else, morality also has two vectors - private and collective. The set of vectors of personal morality constitutes the vector of collective morality. No matter what a person knows and wherever they are, they act according to two morality vectors - private and collective. And the greater the conflict between these two vectors, the bigger the mental and spiritual gap in this person. Morality is something with which the mind is in constant agreement when it makes an assessment, a decision, a choice. We are always in the process of evaluating, making choices, and shaping values.
— You write that language is the perfect natural tool for understanding the soul and highlight, in particular, Al-Fusha, the Arabic language, the structure of explaining even quantum phenomena. Tell us about the relationship between language and mind.
— It's interesting to reflect on how the word mind sounds in Russian (um) and what associations it triggers: 'ability, 'competence'… You get the feeling that the mind is an 'apparatus of capability'. In Ukrainian, mind is rozum. Rozumet means to understand. That is, the mind is an 'apparatus of understanding', a conceptual apparatus. In Arabic, the mind is a different kind of apparatus. It's responsible for associations. We need to associate to understand and to be capable. A word's meaning prompts associations. This process is the primary function of the mind. That is, the mind is an integral part of the language. You could even say that the mind is the character of language, or language is the mind's function. In this case, the association is precisely forming an identity, which gives rise to the concept of 'me'. And language is the process of creating the personality of this 'me.'
A person has two worlds; internal and external. When we understand the mind's functionality, we immediately recognise our own functionality; i.e., what we are here for, why we're doing something. And when we know this, many things may lose their purpose for us due to their dissimilarity to the human mind's primary function. That is, the function of association, which is the basis for functions such as capability or understanding. Naturally, once we establish the correct association process, the effect of capability and understanding arises automatically. Self-association is the task of the species. It's how our species evolves. Each member of the species should be associated with its own species since the species is the quality that separates everyone from the quantity. That is, the mind is an apparatus for identifying the quality of the human species. I am convinced that in each language, the mind is a different apparatus, and all minds collectively form the mind of Humo. And Humo's mind, in turn, is the quality that should prevail in each mind. And only in this way will we find a way out of our long-standing ignorance.