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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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.

  • 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.

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.

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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RELATED IDEAS

Improvised art forms, such as music, acting, or comedy is an example of a flow state. Improvisation is a highly complex form of creative behaviour. The ability to improvise requires cognitive flexibility, divergent thinking and discipline-specific skills.

During musical improvisation, there is an increase in the area of the brain involved in intentional self-expression and the pursuit of goal-oriented behaviours and a decrease in the brain areas involved in conscious self-monitoring, focused attention, and evaluation of planned actions.

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IDEAS

Some of the essential nutrients can be acquired from supplements. However, nutrients such as taurine are easily overlooked. Others are so obscure that vegans are unlikely to have even heard of them.

  • There are small amounts of taurine in some dairy products, but the primary dietary sources are meat and seafood. Vegetables do not contain taurine.
  • Choline is found in eggs, beef and seafood. People who consume eggs tend to have almost double the choline levels and enjoy a lasting cognitive edge.
  • Creatine supplies our cells with energy. Vegans and vegetarians have deficient levels in their bodies.

This means you repeat the same information across increasing intervals. The harder it feels to recall it, the stronger the effect.

Why it works: It makes your brain work harder to retrieve your knowledge, which actually helps you learn more effectively.

How to apply it: Revisit your summaries and test yourself on what you remember. What were the action points? Did you apply them? If not, what hindered you?

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