The brain abhors discrepancies.
The minute you succumb to outside pressure, you cease to be creative.
Remember that politics, colonialism, imperialism and war also originate in the human brain.
Our ability to perceive the world around us seems so effortless that we tend to take it for granted.
The adage that fact is stranger than fiction seems to be especially true for the workings of the brain.
Your conscious life is an elaborate after-the-fact rationalization of things you really do for other reasons.
Great art allows you to transcend your mortal frame and to reach for the stars. I think great science does the same thing.
Curiosity illuminates the correct path to anything in life. If you're not curious, that's when your brain is starting to die.
What the neurology tells us is that the self consists of many components, and the notion of one unitary self may well be an illusion.
With the arrival of humans, it has been said, the universe has suddenly become conscious of itself. This, truly, it the greatest mystery of all.
The boundary between neurology and psychiatry is becoming increasingly blurred, and its only a matter of time before psychiatry becomes just another branch of neurology.
People often ask how I got interested in the brain; my rethorical answer is: 'How can anyone NOT be interested in it?' Everything you call 'human nature' and consciousness arises from it.
Here is a neuron that fires when I reach and grab something, but it also fires when I watch Joe reaching and grabbing something. ... It's as though this neuron is adopting the other person's point of view.
The visual system of the brain has the organization, computational profile, and architecture it has in order to facilitate the organism's thriving at the four Fs: feeding fleeing, fighting, and reproduction.
There is no real independent self, aloof from other human beings, inspecting the world, inspecting other people. You are, in fact, connected not just via Facebook and Internet, you're actually quite literally connected by your neurons.
Lofty questions about the mind are fascinating to ask, philosophers have been asking them for three millennia both in India where I am from and here in the West - but it is only in the brain that we can eventually hope to find the answers.
What the artist tries to do (either consciously or unconsciously) is to not only capture the essence of something but also to amplify it in order to more powerfully activate the same neural mechanisms that would be activated by the original object.
Indeed, the line between perceiving and hallucinating is not as crisp as we like to think. In a sense, when we look at the world, we are hallucinating all the time. One could almost regard perception as the act of choosing the one hallucination that best fits the incoming data.
What do we mean by "knowledge" or "understanding"? And how do billions of neurons achieve them? These are complete mysteries. Admittedly, cognitive neuroscientists are still very vague about the exact meaning of words like "understand," "think," and indeed the word "meaning" itself.
Self-awareness is a trait that not only makes us human but also paradoxically makes us want to be more than merely human. As I said in my BBC Reith Lectures, “Science tells us we are merely beasts, but we don’t feel like that. We feel like angels trapped inside the bodies of beasts, forever craving transcendence.
There are 100 billion neurons in the adult human brain, and each neuron makes something like 1,000 to 10,000 contacts with other neurons in the brain. Based on this, people have calculated that the number of permutations and combinations of brain activity exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.
In the fetus, or a really young child, all the different brain areas are connected to each other, diffusely. And as the brain develops, the excess connections are turned off, so you get very specialized areas. So most people have really specialized talents. What happens in creative people is this pooling doesn't take place.
Even though its common knowledge these days, it never ceases to amaze me that all the richness of our mental life - all our feelings, our emotions, our thoughts, our ambitions, our love life, our religious sentiments and even what each of us regards us his own intimate private self - is simply the activity of these little specks of jelly in your head, in your brain. There is nothing else.