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A Neuroscientist’s Theory of Everything

http://nautil.us/issue/86/energy/a-neuroscientists-theory-of-everything

nautil.us

A Neuroscientist’s Theory of Everything
Karl Friston wanted me to know he had plenty of time. That wasn’t quite true. He just didn’t want our conversation—about his…

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The Neuroscientist Karl Friston

The Neuroscientist Karl Friston
  • Karl Friston, a neuroscientist, published a radical theory called the ‘Free Energy Principle’ that has the neuroscience field in a tizzy. His papers, published in various journals, are heavily cited and discussed.
  • Friston also invented statistical parameter mapping, a brain-scanning technique that allows neuroscientists, for the first time in history, to access specific brain regions in detail.
  • Friston is like a rock star in his profession, having insights in stimulating topics like consciousness, quantum physics and psychedelics.

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The Free Energy Principle

It states that the world is uncertain and full of surprises. Our brain, through perception, beliefs and action are trying to remain stable by minimizing the spikes, triggers and surprises.

We live inside our brains, and each of us has a unique perception of the outside world. Anything we say or document is just our way to explain the world we have lived. It has nothing to do with reality.

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The Beautiful Mind

  • Our mind is programmed to sample the world so that the immediate future can be predictable, as a way to survive it with minimum surprises and disruptions, and as a way to conserve energy.
  • Free energy, outside the mind, maybe incomprehensible and even impossible to grasp fully, but our mind filters and curates much of the information and presents it to us in palpable format.
  • Our mind, when seen neurologically, is infinitely vast, much like the universe, which it even resembles visually.

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Belief-Updating

Our self-beliefs keep updating after seeing new data presented to us by the world we live in. If we are able to assimilate all data and update/revise our mind, then ‘belief-updating’ happens.

If the mind does not get input, there is no belief updating, even if the event/data is there in the world, it will remain invisible to us, as our mind hasn’t processed it and revised itself.

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Outside The Matrix

Self-realization, or knowing the self, makes one of heightened awareness, including qualia (phenomenally conscious). This makes philosophers, spiritual gurus and Zen masters take on the world with an upgraded version of the mind.

Their self-awareness is what puts them at ease with change and disruption, and this is the closest science can get towards the concept of enlightenment.

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