Natural. Unnatural. How natural…

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To find out which sights specific neurons in monkeys ‘like’ best, researchers designed an algorithm, called XDREAM, that generated images that made neurons fire more than any natural images the researchers tested. As the images evolved, they started to look like distorted versions of real-world stimuli. (1)

Round and round we go. Trying to understand where we are by getting away from where we are. Can you find anything not made by wood inside a forest?

See the unnatural. It will catch your attention.

Not because it is unnatural.

But because of how natural it looks!

That is the greatest secret nature taught us. A secret we once knew. A secret we chose to forget. Look at the great mysteries of life. Behold the great occurrences of randomness inside a cosmos governed by change…

There is nothing natural… nature whispers in the night.

But we do not trust the night anymore. We worship the sun.

We opened our eyes to see. And we saw a different cosmos.

Stable. Full of patterns. Laws. Order.

We like that cosmos now. Too afraid to let it go.

But one day, we will sleep tired.

Floating on the silvery moon light…

One day we will dream again…

Knowing that light only creates shadows…

One day we will stand in the midst of nature.

One day, nature will look so unnatural…

Yawning…

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By studying the phenomenon of contagious yawning, the researchers learned that people’s reactions in virtual reality (VR) can be quite different from what they are in actual reality. They found that contagious yawning happens in VR, but people’s tendency to suppress yawns when they have company or feel they’re being watched don’t apply in the VR environment. Further, when people immersed in VR are aware of an actual person in the room, they do stifle their yawns. Actual reality supersedes virtual reality. (1)

Reality…

What an overrated word.

We grow up worshiping it.

But without knowing why.

What is real?

What is not?

Fundamental questions we fail to answer.

And yet we are driven by them every day.

Reality…

It is not the cosmos calling us.

It is us calling at the cosmos…

In an empty world…

The only thing we worship without knowing why.

And, because of that, the only thing worth worshiping…

Reality…

It is…

Yawn…

Unsocial brain…

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Columbia scientists have identified a brain region that helps tell an animal when to attack an intruder and when to accept it into its home. This brain area, called CA2, is part of the hippocampus, a larger brain structure known to be critical for our memory of people, places, things and events.

CA2 was already known to specialize in social memory, the ability to remember encounters with others. Surprisingly, today’s findings reveal that a single brain region can control both higher-order cognition, like social memory, and an innate, instinctual behavior like social aggression. And because CA2 dysfunction has been implicated in psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, these results provide further support that altered CA2 function may contribute to abnormal social behaviors associated with such illnesses. (1)

I know you.

Thus, I kill you.

I love you.

Thus, I die for you.

I don’t care.

So at the end, we both die.

Why does always someone have to die in this scenario, as StarLord eloquently asked once upon a time? Well, the answer is simple. Because the moment you start looking into someone else you start questioning yourself. The moment you look into yourself, you start having doubt about you. At the end, the moment you (thought you) walked out of that cave, you started doubting its existence.

But the cave is there.

It is real.

And no, you don’t walk out of it.

You entered right into it…

Hey Plato!

Nice to know you.

You are dead…

Virtual real reality…

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Future therapy patients may spend a lot more time exploring virtual environments than sitting on sofas. In a clinical trial of a new virtual reality treatment for fear of heights, participants reported being much less afraid after using the program for just two weeks. Unlike other VR therapies, which required that a real-life therapist guide patients through treatment, the new system uses an animated avatar to coach patients through ascending a virtual high-rise. This kind of fully automated counseling system, described online July 11 in the Lancet Psychiatry, may make psychological treatments for phobias and other disorders far more accessible. (1)

Fearing reality. Based on imaginary fears.

Being healed. Based on an imaginary reality.

Look at the essence of the cosmos.

And you will see that there is nothing to see…

Except the things that you see…

Sensing… Not sensing… Being…

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Photo by Rohan Shahi from Pexels

Engineers have created an electronic ‘skin’ in an effort to restore a real sense of touch for amputees using prosthetics. (1)

We have senses.

We lose senses.

We improve senses.

We regain senses.

And at no point do we ever stop to wander.

That what can so easily change.

Cannot truly exist after all…

In the blistering Sun.

Or in the deep-freezing cold.

In the raging winds of a storm.

Or in the peace of noon siesta.

The abyss stands still.

A beggar seeks help…

Give him a hand.

He is you.