Losing Ourselves: Active Inference, Depersonalization and Enlightenment Mark Miller (Informatics, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom) PL7
Disruptions in the ordinary sense of selfhood underpin both pathological and 'enlightened' states of consciousness. For example, people suffering from depersonalization disorder can experience the loss of a sense of self as devastating, often accompanied by intense feelings of alienation, fear and hopelessness. However, for meditative contemplatives from various traditions selfless experiences are highly sought after, being associated with enduring peace and joy. Little is understood about how these contrasting dysphoric and euphoric experiences should be conceptualised. In this talk, I will propose a possible unifying account of these selfless experiences within the active inference framework. I will discuss how by beginning from an active inference account of selfhood we have available to us a new way of conceptualizing the striking experiential similarities and important differences between these selfless experiences within a unifying theoretical framework.