In the Deep Forest of Alaska / CREATE / Yukon River from source to Grayling Alaska




Float a kayak on the Yukon River and paddle deep into the Alaskan wilderness alone / Sharpened sensations and cognition beyond perception / What is human creativity?

Alaska is one of the few farthest places where still exist the wilderness and is about to be erased from Earth. The only way to travel through that pristine land is the Yukon River, where you have to paddle kayak for months. What you will experience there is a world of a different dimension that is far from urban life. It is a world where the senses of sharp animals sleeping in the depths of human beings awake, and it is a world where the concept of time and space, relative senses, and relative consciousness are questioned. It is pondering about creation as a job required to humankind.

▶︎Chapter list

Opening movie

【Chapter 1: Yukon River in the Wilderness】

1-1) Introduction

1-2) Location of the Yukon River

1-3) Comparing the areas of Alaska and Japan

1-4) Trajectory moved by kayaking

1-5) Compare Alaskan wilderness with Japanese natural forests

1-6) Lake Bennett / Headwaters of the Yukon River

1-7) Yukon Flat / Midstream of the Yukon River

1-6) Flight view of the Yukon River

1-8) The world is surrounded only by the horizon

1-9) The river is flowing through the river

【Chapter 2: Inputs and Outputs】

2-1) Experience creates creativity

2-2) Animal brain and human brain

【Chapter 3: A world unknown to you and your body】

3-1) Your body and your brain are still alive in the wilderness

3-2) A delicate sensation that revives

3-3) Experience in the wilderness

3-4) A delicate sensation that everyone has

3-5) Think and experience within the framework of science

【Chapter 4: Cognition beyond perception】

4-1) Far enlarged brain tissue / prefrontal cortex

4-2) A world without a day

4-3) A world with only the horizon

4-4) A world where the concept of space-time is lost

4-5) Relative sensations, relative consciousness

4-6) Discover the wonders hidden in the world of common sense

4-7) Creation, the work that humanity is requested to do

End roll

▶︎English subtitles

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As the first chapter, the story continues under the theme of "wilderness of the Yukon River".

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From British Columbia, Canada, across the border to Alaska, there is a river that runs through the vast wilderness.

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The Yukon River.

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I kayaked alone 2,700 kilometers on it from the headwaters of the river to Grayling near the mouth of the river.

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This story progresses around the experience in such a wilderness.

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I will explain the position of the Yukon River.

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This is Japan.

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Across the Pacific Ocean, it is located on the West Coast of North America.

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The source of the Yukon River is in British Columbia, Canada.  And it flows into the Yukon Territory, Canada, crosses the border into Alaska, United States.

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Let's compare the area of ​​Alaska and Japan.

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If you put Japan on Alaska, it will be like this.

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You can see that the area of ​​Alaska is larger.

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The area of ​​Alaska is four times the area of ​​Japan.

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This red line is the actual trajectory I moved by kayaking.

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I rowed 2,700 kilometers over three months.

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If you stretch the trajectory in Japan to see the sense of distance, you will reach Miyako Island from Cape Soya.

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What is the wilderness mentioned here?

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Let's compare Japan and Alaska from the sky at the same altitude and speed to see what the wilderness of Alaska looks like.

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First of all, it’s over Japan.

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Altitude 77,000 meters.

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It’s about eight times the height that a passenger plane flies.

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Now pass over Kyushu.

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You can see Fukuoka in the lower left.

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Pay attention to the area occupied by cities and fields.

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Natural forests such as cedar and cypress that are not plantations are covered with pink.

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You can see that it is divided into small pieces.

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You can see Osaka ahead.

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And you see Nagoya ahead.

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Shizuoka prefecture can be seen on the right side.

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And you see Tokyo ahead.

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The vast Kanto plain has come into view.

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Most of them are filled with cities and fields.

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Enter Tohoku.

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Pass over Aizu and Sendai.

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Pass over Morioka now.

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Cross Aomori and cross the Tsugaru Strait.

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And landed in Hokkaido.

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Now pass over Sapporo.

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Please note that even in Hokkaido, the area of ​​cities and fields occupies a large part.

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Let's pass over Alaska at the same altitude and speed.

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Enter from the Bering Sea side.

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Natural forests are not color coded, but over 99% of this vast area is wilderness.

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Now I can see the Yukon River.

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You can see that it meanders greatly in the vast marsh.

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I can't find any cities or fields.

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Also I can't find any roads, railroads, or forest roads like Japan.

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I finally saw a small town in front of me on my right.

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It's Fairbanks with a population of 60,000.

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Let's compare the area occupied by untouched nature without human intervention in Japan and Alaska.

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The total area of ​​Alaska is about 1.5 million square kilometers.

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The total area of ​​Japan is about 380 thousand square kilometers.

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The size is adjusted so that the area on the map and the area on the graph are the same.

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Area of ​​towns and fields occupying Alaska is less than 1%.

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Some materials say it is less than 0.1%.

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The remaining 99% is untouched wilderness.

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Since there are extremely few roads and railroads, it is one large undivided wilderness where animals and plants can move freely.

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How about japan?

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Towns and fields occupy for 34%.

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The remaining 66% is forest.

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How did you think, it was abundant or scarce?

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46% of the forest is artificial forest such as cedar and cypress for timber production.

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The remaining 54% are natural forests, including second-growth forests.

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Then, that natural forest is divided as you can see in the previous video, and the movement of animals and plants is hindered by towns and roads.

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Where is the largest undivided mass of natural forest?

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Probably it's Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido.

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Its area is 1.6% of natural forest.

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Uninvolved and undivided land is essential for biodiversity.

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If you compare the area as the size of a circle between Japan and Alaska, you can see the difference in scale.

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The source of the Yukon River is a lake filled with glacier water.

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My journey started from there.

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Like prayer beads, many lakes are connected by narrow waterways.

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Because the lakes are so large, it took more than two weeks to finally reach a "water flowing" river through the four lakes.

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Let's take a look at the location of Lake Bennett, the starting point of it.

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First of all, over Japan.

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And cross the Pacific to Canada.

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And head to Lake Bennett.

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The green tent marks are where I camped.

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The red line is the trajectory which I actually paddled.

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The distant mountains are covered with white glaciers.

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You can see that the glaciers are melting to form a lake.

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The size of this Lake Bennett is difficult to grasp, so let's compare it with the Kanto Plain, Japan.

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You can see how big the lake is by stacking the Kanto plains on it.

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Let's see the actual place in the video I shot.

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It's nice morning.

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June 2, 6:00 am.

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Can you hear this sound?

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There is an area called Yukon Flat in the middle reaches of the Yukon River.

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As the name suggests, it is a flat place.

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A plain formed by the accumulation of soil carried by the river in a depression surrounded by mountains.

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In Japan, it's like the Kofu basin in Yamanashi prefecture.

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That place is here.

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Expressing the strength of the slope with color, you can see a flat place with no slope at all.

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That is Yukon Flat.

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It can be said that it is a basin similar to the Kofu basin, but its scale is very different.

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The area is 100 times larger than the Kofu basin.

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The surrounding mountains are hidden behind the horizon and cannot be seen.

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It takes two weeks to traverse with a kayak.

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Let's compare.

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I will overlay the Kofu basin on the Yukon Flat.

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Then, not only the Kofu basin, Yukon Flat covers the area from the Kanto plain to Nagoya.

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Yukon Flat extends about 290 km from east to west and about 190 km from north to south.

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Fly over the Yukon River which creates Yukon Flat and runs through its center.

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The green tent marks are where I camped.

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In the vast plains of the Yukon Flat, you can see that the Yukon River creates a complex stream like a net.

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The width of the river is as wide as 2 kilometers.

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It is difficult to understand the scale, so let's compare it with the Kanto Plain, Japan at the same altitude and the same angle.

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Since it was difficult to determine where the main stream is from the viewpoint of kayak on the water because of complicated flow, it was tough work preventing to get lost and strand in a tributary with a shallow flow.

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You can see that the scale of the Yukon River is incomparably larger than that of the Japanese rivers.

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Compare its size with the Arakawa River.

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Can you see countless oxbow lakes in the marshes on both sides of the river as remains after the river flowed in the past?

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This is the true nature of the river that flows in natural form.

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Forever flat ground, Yukon Flat, continues.

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Let's see the video which I actually shot as paddling.

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It's the leg of July 23.

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This red track is the route I actually paddled.

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It is the entrance of Yukon Flat.

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In this video, the kayak is intentionally circled by paddling only on the right side in order to shoot 360 degrees around.

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No undulations such as mountains and hills can be seen, and the world is surrounded only by the horizon.

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July 25, two days later.

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It's been 3 days since I entered Yukon Flat, but I haven't found any undulations such as mountains and hills yet.

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There are no private houses, roads or fields, and only the plain wilderness spreads out.

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This world with only horizon will continue as long as for two weeks.

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Fine silt is floating in the water of the river, and you can't see even 1 cm below.

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As an ocean current meanders in the wide sea like a river, the river as the main stream meanders in the vast river.

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But since it's not something you can see, you have to trust your intuition coming from experience.

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If you miss the main stream and get lost in a shallow tributary, you will not be able to escape from it, and the kayak will be stranded and crushed by the water pressure.

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Carefully and slowly pass by the fallen tree that has climbed into the shallow water, looking closely at the surrounding area.

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As the second chapter, we will proceed with the theme of "input and output".

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There is input, and then it generates the output, that's what a machine is.

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The operation as an output is determined according to the input from the sensor.

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The same is true for simple insects, etc.

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In response to the input that an antenna discovers the smell of food to the right, the output of taking a course to the right is produced.

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The basics are the same even for far more complex humans.

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The input as the experience received from parents, friends, society, and schools gives rise to the individuality of the person, the outputs of what kind of thoughts and activities to take will be produced by it as a result.

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From that perspective, if you want to be creative, if you want to produce rich output, what kind of input you give yourself, that is, what kind of experience you give yourself, is very important that you notice.

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You might think, "That is nothing special," but if you want to dig deeper into that area, find out what scientists are currently thinking about free will.

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If you want to produce rich output, you need to step outside the familiar environment you are in, and see, hear, feel and think about a new world you never imagined.

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But isn't it possible to produce rich creativity and rich output only in the mind without experiencing the outside world, that is, without the need for input?

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If you have the talent you were born with, you probably don't need experience or learning?

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I don't think so.

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For example, even if you are born with talents that surpass ordinary people in specific calculations, sketches, spatial grasps, etc., I think that, those are certainly wonderful but those are as part of outstanding basic abilities inherited from your ancestors as animals, and higher creativity is that the human-specific brain learns beyond those.

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Mankind is changing.

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In terms of environmental destruction, the change seems to be degenerate so far, but in terms of rapidly deepening our understanding of the world and oneself, it can be said to be evolution.

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Brain science, which allows us to understand what we are, has developed rapidly in recent years, and is now deeply affecting not only medical treatment but also society.

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Therefore, let's take a look at the discussion of the importance of input, focusing on brain science.

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The brain of Homo sapiens can be roughly divided into two.

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One of those is the part that inherited from ancestral animals and produces most of our actions and emotions and forms the basis of life.

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It is a common part with reptiles and other mammals.

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And the part that produces self-awareness, self-control, logical thinking, and etc., that only humans have greatly enlarged.

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It is the prefrontal cortex behind the forehead.

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Both of them are you, and you cannot focus on one or the other.

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You need to enrich both.

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So what kind of input is required for each?

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First, in the next Chapter 3, we will focus on the brain inherited from ancestral animals, and in Chapter 4, we will focus on the human-specific brain.

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As the third chapter, we will proceed with the theme of "a world that you and your body do not know".

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Let's look back on the history of Homo sapiens.

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Its birth is said to be about 200,000 years ago.

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Since then, we had lived a hunter-gatherer life in the wilderness for a long time, and even after the beginning of farming we had lived in an environment with the wilderness.

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It was 250 years ago that the Industrial Revolution began and urban life isolated from the wilderness began.

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In contrast that we had lived with the wilderness for 200,000 years, we have lived in the city for only 250 years.

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Considering its history, it is still a momentary event.

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In modern times, the "wilderness" has become a term that refers to a special environment, but in the history of Homo sapiens, the "wilderness" is more common than the "city."

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Human beings, that are our bodies and brains, have evolved for 200,000 years, or even 200 million years in terms of mammals, while adapting to life in the wilderness.

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We can't change that in just 250 years.

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In the meantime, in just 12 generations, there are no genetic changes that can be called evolution.

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Our bodies and brains are still designed to live in the wilderness.

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The event that seems to symbolize it is the problem of obesity.

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Animals and hunter-gatherers have no guarantee when they can have a next meal.

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Your body and brain can't afford to miss the chance to get valuable calories to survive in the wilderness.

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When you find food that is high in calories and full of delicious fat and sugar, your brain commands you to dive in and fill your mouth before being taken by someone else.

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It doesn't matter if it leads to illness and shortens life in the future.

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The brain and body are not adapted to the modern society where those foods are easily available.

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Similarly, the sharp and delicate sensory organs that were essential for survival in the wilderness should remain intact.

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Because the 250-year period is too short for them to degenerate.

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Delicate and abundant information that is not found in the city fulling of great stimulation, is overflowing in the wilderness, in Mother Nature.

00:33:38,143 --> 00:33:50,427

If you go there, the delicate sensations which are unrecognized by even yourself in your body, will wake up from sleep and receive them.

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Do not you think so?

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What happens to your output if you receive that rich input?

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Unfortunately, the destruction of nature is progressing.

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Even if you want to experience it, it's very difficult because the wilderness doesn't exist nearby.

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But even if you can't experience it first hand, it's very important to know.

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A migratory bird that crosses the ocean and moves from continent to continent without a landmark.

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You know that animal sensations are so good like that.

00:34:38,584 --> 00:34:42,000

And humans are the same animals.

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First of all, why not see the mysteries of animals directly and be impressed?

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There are millions of animals in the world.

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We will have this kind of experience in the wilderness.

00:35:01,870 --> 00:35:08,002

I went down the river with my friend together and rowed separate canoes.

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My friend were hundreds of meters away unintentionally and I could only see him as dots.

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"Wait a minute, land after that."

00:35:20,922 --> 00:35:28,514

Surprisingly, I was able to have a conversation with a normal voice volume at such a distance.

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I also had this experience.

00:35:34,140 --> 00:35:37,196

It was when I was paddling in Canada.

00:35:37,197 --> 00:35:43,236

I heard a jet fighter roar while sleeping in a tent.

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Maybe the Canadian Air Force is doing exercises.

00:35:47,226 --> 00:35:50,313

I slept as it was without worrying too much.

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But I was surprised to get up the next morning.

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Because the final village was approaching, there was a road on a hill many kilometers away that looked like just a thin line, and only one car was running on it.

00:36:07,125 --> 00:36:11,828

It’s not a truck, it’s a regular car.

00:36:11,829 --> 00:36:18,800

It was the sound of those tire rolling on the asphalt.

00:36:24,642 --> 00:36:30,246

Nothing is special about my ears.

00:36:30,247 --> 00:36:36,162

If you spend your time alone in the wilderness, you will notice your changes.

00:36:36,163 --> 00:36:40,214

Though my experience shows that it takes three days.

00:36:40,215 --> 00:36:49,004

The human ear probably has a much wider dynamic range than you think.

00:36:49,004 --> 00:37:03,726

We might just don't realize that because our ears are the same as those of animals we can even feel the much more delicate vibrations of the air.

00:37:03,727 --> 00:37:10,884

Our modern life is buried in loud and exciting sounds and information.

00:37:10,885 --> 00:37:19,596

Because that world has been normal since we were born, we even feel anxious about the world without sound and information.

00:37:19,597 --> 00:37:26,351

I see some people walking in the park but keeping the radio on.

00:37:26,352 --> 00:37:37,611

We imagine that it is scared and boring that spending days in a quiet, monotonous wilderness with nothing.

00:37:37,612 --> 00:37:48,871

However, the wilderness is full of delicate and rich information that changes without getting tired of it.

00:37:48,871 --> 00:37:59,384

Once you know it, you feel bored on the city that is just a monotonous repetition.

00:37:59,385 --> 00:38:20,523

That is, just as we can never understand the worldview of birds that feel the earth's magnetic field, the worldview, which this world of sound in the wilderness brings, is also difficult to understand unless you experience it, I think.

00:38:20,524 --> 00:38:32,802

By the way, have you ever experienced the feeling of space seen by sound? What is it like?

00:38:37,368 --> 00:38:44,712

By the way, there is one thing that I want to keep in mind when talking, and also you should keep in mind.

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It’s about thinking and experiencing within the framework of science.

00:38:50,318 --> 00:39:00,000

It should not be confused with the existence of something supernatural, the extrasensory perception of something, or the kind of hallucinations created by drugs.

00:39:00,001 --> 00:39:06,320

If you mistakenly pursue them, you won't be able to do true creative work.

00:39:06,320 --> 00:39:20,561

However, sensation is a subjective experience, and it is difficult to measure it with a measuring device and treat it as science, so you must think logically and be careful enough.

00:39:25,701 --> 00:39:35,033

As the fourth chapter, we will proceed with the theme of "recognition beyond perception".

00:39:35,034 --> 00:39:46,914

In the previous chapter, I told you that humans are almost the same as other animals, and that humans have the same sensations as other animals.

00:39:46,915 --> 00:39:55,178

But at the same time, human is completely different from other animals.

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It has a much larger prefrontal cortex, a brain tissue.

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Here are various human-like functions.

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One of them is the ability of thinking about things logically.

00:40:17,439 --> 00:40:22,371

Alaska is partly in the Arctic Circle.

00:40:22,819 --> 00:40:37,057

The Arctic Circle is a perfect circular area centered on the North Pole, where the sun does not set at all in the summer and the sun does not rise at all in the winter.

00:40:38,236 --> 00:40:41,343

Now, look at the equator.

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Go north to Alaska.

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A part of Alaska is in the Arctic Circle.

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The following footage was taken by me in Canada in June, almost midnight sun.

00:41:13,025 --> 00:41:19,423

The Yukon River runs through part of the Arctic Circle and just below it.

00:41:19,424 --> 00:41:28,007

We can kayak for three months in spring, summer and autumn when the river ice is melting.

00:41:28,007 --> 00:41:34,735

In June and July, the days of almost white nights without a night sky continue.

00:41:34,736 --> 00:41:45,204

It's bright even in the middle of the night, so you can act whenever you want, whenever it's convenient, regardless of day or night.

00:41:45,205 --> 00:41:57,469

In addition to life in a camp every day without a clock, the border between day and night has disappeared, so it doesn't make sense a day, 24 hours.

00:41:57,470 --> 00:42:04,228

A world without a day that lasts for two months.

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It's eleven thirty at night.

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Never see the starry sky.

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Uninterrupted sunset and sunrise.

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Yukon Flat has only the horizon.

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There are no people, towns, fields, ranches, railroads, roads.

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Of course, I can't connect to my smartphone.

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The sky in the upper hemisphere, water in the lower hemisphere, and the horizon of thin layers of forest surrounding 360 degrees, that's all.

00:44:23,729 --> 00:44:30,127

There is no targets for comparison because there are only lines in the world.

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Is the river long or short.

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Am I big or small.

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That doesn't make sense because there's no one to compare.

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A world with only a horizon that lasts for two weeks.

00:45:14,712 --> 00:45:17,178

Rowing Alaska

00:45:17,178 --> 00:45:20,523

Rowing Yukon

00:45:20,523 --> 00:45:25,186

Rowing a world without a day in the midnight sun

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There is a world where the concept of time is lost

00:45:30,000 --> 00:45:35,172

Rowing a world unobstructed and with only a horizon

00:45:35,173 --> 00:45:40,345

There is a world where the concept of space is lost

00:45:40,346 --> 00:45:44,261

Rowing a world where the concept of space-time is lost

00:45:44,262 --> 00:45:50,391

What do you see and feel there?

00:45:52,936 --> 00:46:02,955

Actually, the feeling of how long I was paddling this river changed, and it was as if I had been paddling for a thousand years.

00:46:02,955 --> 00:46:17,193

It seems that human sense of time is not solid in the first place, as when involved in an accident the world becomes slow motion, or as time changes with drugs.

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What is time, or in the first place is it a just illusion?

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Only water, sky and horizon, there are.

00:46:41,708 --> 00:47:02,529

I remember that, targets for comparison which defines my size, targets for comparison which defines my place, probably because that kind of the relative measure of time and space are lost, in fact the sense of my existence in the world changes.

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And It made me critically think. Possibly, the self-consciousness of me cannot be born without the presence of others and the existence of society.

00:47:22,981 --> 00:47:31,205

However, the physical time and space are not actually changing there at all.

00:47:31,205 --> 00:47:35,688

The laws of physics are universal everywhere in the universe.

00:47:35,689 --> 00:47:42,596

Exactly the same space-time as Tokyo also exists in Alaska.

00:47:42,596 --> 00:47:48,456

What had changed was how I perceived it.

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Then, is such an experience meaningless?

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Have you ever wondered about the universe when you look at the Milky Way in the night sky?

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Have you ever wondered about time and space in the wilderness?

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Even in the present age when science has unraveled many things, this universe is still a mysterious place.

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Full of endless mysteries, scientists are still chasing.

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It is the evolved prefrontal cortex of humankind that is interested in, pursues, and does creative work on those mystery.

00:48:36,001 --> 00:48:45,990

It is the wonderfulness of human beings to discover the wonders hidden in the depths of the world that we take for granted.

00:48:45,991 --> 00:48:56,190

Around 500 BC, human beings realized the concept of space and invented a painting technique called perspective.

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It's now commonplace and everyone understands, but at that time it would have been a major change in concept.

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In the early 20th century, Einstein discovered the theory of relativity.

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That theory says that this world is a place where space-time is twisted, but it is a concept that human beings can no longer intuitively understand, and it has changed the world significantly.

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Although it's now commonplace, and without this theory, we cannot make even one mobile phone.

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Fully activate the prefrontal cortex and ponder the wonders of the world.

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How will that lead to our future activities?

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How will it help society in the future?

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No one knows it.

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Nobody teach you because nobody know.

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You have to pursue it yourself.

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It ’s a lonely task.

00:50:15,101 --> 00:50:18,148

There is no guarantee.

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But that is the work being requested to humankind as creation, and that is why it is even praised.

00:50:28,319 --> 00:50:35,376

And it’s interesting because no one knows.

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Let's go out into the wilderness to realize the wonder.

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