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Pic of The Gray Area with Sean Illing

Your identity is a story you tell yourself

November 17, 2022

The Gray Area with Sean Illing


Sean Illing talks with neuroscientist Gregory Berns, author of The Self Delusion. Berns claims that the idea of a unified, persistent self is a kind of illusion, and that we are better understood as multiple selves at different moments in time, tied together by a story — which is what we call our identity. Sean and Greg also talk about whether the brain is a computer, how perception works, the limits of thinking too much about thinking, and what psychedelics can do to disrupt and change the stories we tell about ourselves. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Gregory Berns (@gberns), author; professor of psychology and distinguished professor of neuroeconomics, Emory University References:  The Self Delusion: The New Neuroscience of How We Invent — and Reinvent — Our Identities by Gregory Berns (Basic; 2022) More on the "Ship of Theseus" by Noah Levin "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness" by David Chalmers (Journal of Consciousness Studies 2; 1995) More on "The Hard Problem of Consciousness" by Josh Weisberg (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) "The extraordinary therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs, explained" by Sean Illing (Vox; Mar. 8, 2019)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit