A brain is a software time machine

There is only one goal in evolution: to develop time resilient beings. The brain appears to be the culmination of that goal.

The brain’s sole mission is to make predictions about the future. But its not the future you’d think. Brain’s predictions are not the lottery numbers. These predictions are about the degree of novelty that will infuse the present state.

It does this by employing two constant actions or functions:

  1. log — keeping an internal stream of everything that occurred: the internal dialog
  2. choose — making a permanent choice between good and bad

This reduction is based on two apparent facts:

  1. the hardest thing in spiritual evolution is to silence the mind
  2. there is instant interior feedback as opinion or feeling about anything happening.

It doesn’t matter if the day is the most boring in history, we hear ourselves. We’re constantly wondering and pondering. It doesn’t matter if we know much about a subject, we feel. We are instantly positioned somehow about any subject.

The brain didn’t just spawn into existence, it evolved. Like all evolution there are simple underlying rules. Upon these rules iterations built the complexity on top. The basic log and choose functions are the primary brain roles. They evolved into a complex centralized evaluation of the present.

You can imagine these two actions like two infinitely recursive functions. They keep going and going, always having all the previous results as the input for the next cycle.

The experience of life is a continuous process of discovery and interpretation.

Any sane brain has these two main components. All psychological pathology arises from one of them being missing or broken. One component answers to “What happens?” and the other to “Who am I?”. Missing one of these answers (or having a broken answer) makes lucid thinking hard.

Lucidity is the accuracy of perceiving the present.

In the brain’s activity consequences are not the point. Consequences have social structure in them, they depend on some morals involved. The point of the brain’s activity is the probability of events.

Thinking is assessing the degree of exposure to possibilities.

It is hard to distinguish between the future and consequences. It is also hard to distinguish between the past and memories. The complexity of the distinction comes from the lack of awareness. Awareness requires effort because it has no immediate use for conserving entropy.

Awareness is an artificial side effect not an embedded property.

The lack of awareness creates tradition. Tradition is about fixing events in time. Tradition regulates behavior through rules. It allows following through preset rules for the entire lives of society’s members. The lack of lucidity creates religion. Religion minimizes uncertainty about the farthest future possible: death. Tradition and religion were the human response to low awareness and low lucid thinking in the human population.

Most of tradition is concerned with explaining the immediate, like the natural cycles celebrations. Most of religion is concerned explaining the obvious like the 613 commandments in the old testament.

The self, made of building blocks

Using the basic reduction of log and choose, knowing thyself is hard because the brain uses these functions in a recursive way. At each moment in life you are enveloped in shells and shells of execution cycles. Both the internal dialog and the permanent choice run referencing their own output. The outer wall becomes so think that it is hard to untangle the input. Knowing one’s self is knowing both the answers to “what happens?” and to “who am I?”.

A deep understanding of the world is needed for authentic self realization.

From the internal dialog rises communication.

Cognitive dissonance is when something is both true and false into the internal log. Cognitive dissonance produces anger.

From the permanent choice rises the ego.

Ambivalence is when something is both good and bad into the internal choice system. Ambivalence produces angst.

All pain relates to instability of what we hold as the representation of the present. Pain is all about time: physical and emotional. Acceptance, tolerance, openness are all effects of high intelligence.

Intelligence helps moderating the uncertainty superior perspectives impose on humans.

Anger + Angst + Pain = Panic

Angst and anger are the basic inner perceptions and pain is the basic outer perception. We interpret them as we gain experience. Then we evolve each into various new forms but everything is at the base: angst, anger and pain.

Panic invalidates everything hence it is the launchpad of stupidity. Stupidity is just a constant stream of bad predictions. Bad predictions happen because of low abstraction or unlogged environment updates.

A communicating ego is life’s solution to the complexity of the universe.

We use everyone else as silos of data about the present. The main component of isolation is psychosis for this simple reason. The average human looses track of time’s flow in isolation.

Cataclysmic events are integral changes of the present. As they are a possibility, cataclysmic events have some probability associated with them. We evolved intelligence as a means to handle cataclysmic events.

Intelligence, inference and deduction.

Abstraction is the ability to perceive non physical events as physical events. Because of abstraction the inner dialog gains density. That is why for example gesturing is so important in expressing eloquent thinking.

The differences in intelligence between life forms are controlled by these two main functions. The density of the log and the abstraction of the choice. Intelligence is based on memory for inference, but depends heavily on abstraction for deduction. Some animals kick the bar of memory, but fail at the abstraction part.

Intelligence is the perception of time.

We perceive touch by feeling heat, cold, soft, hard. Chemistry by bitter, sour or sweet. Light by bright or colored. In the same way we perceive the presence of time by inference and deduction.

The internal dialog contains the procedure of inference. The permanent choice contains the procedure of deduction.

When, to the Moment then, I say: ‘Ah, stay a while! You are so lovely!

What we are most concerned about is stability. We want the present to remain the same for as long as possible.

We like the music we can predict. Each following note is a variation that flows logically and we expect it. If it is what we expect, we like it. Looks like Debussy was right about music being the silence between the notes.

We are story driven because it gives us tools to ease the log keeping.

The internal log is not like a tape machine keeping sequential records. It is an internal dialog. This means that data is only available as enclosed into the current scope. Memory is the global environment. That is a get and set environment but the inner dialog is a permanent discussion of the self with the self.

The permanent choice between good and bad is not the moral right and wrong. It is only concerned with the preservation of stability and the feedback from predictions.

Good is stability and certainty and bad is instability and uncertainty.

Right and wrong are interpretative and custom to every system. Good and bad are common to how all brains work.

Choosing from new options is the most expensive operation the brain does. Choosing, not decision. The decision is the easy part but choice creates new input. When new input is available all logged choices get reevaluated.

The mind is when you are still.

The brain is not the same thing with the mind. That old joke that the brain named itself is false. The mind named the brain. The brain is the machine, and all the machine does is to execute. The mind is the execution state. The mind mirrors the internal representation of the present. It also is the only thing that experiences only the present, the continuous present.

The mind is exactly as it feels, in the middle of the big, global memory space. The mind is a transitory state that is fully described by the local scope. The brain executes the same things recursively. Thus the local scope is stable about names, changing only in values. This gives the mind continuity.

The mind has four components: thoughts, sentiments, emotions and sensations.

Memory is the global environment. It has the best possible representation of all the experience. It also gets used extensively for new predictions.

Perhaps sleep is just our automatic garbage collector.


This is not a scientific affirmation, but a philosophical stance. Yet, it does have some practical meaning. What does this mean? It means that we can be aware of what is and maybe, just maybe,

nothing is.