Every Journey starts with an Act of Imagination

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Everyone has a journey

Inside

Everyone IS a journey

Maddalena De Bernardi

Every Journey starts with an Act of Imagination

Why we need to relax… and get lost

Tim Palmer, Research Professor at the University of Oxford, writes about the power of unconscious mind and how the noise in the brain enables us to make extraordinary leaps of imagination (and it could transform the power of computers, too).

His interest is trying to construct a more accurate climate model without consuming more energy. “Noise is usually seen as a nuisance – something to be minimised wherever possible. In telecommunications, we speak about trying to maximise the “signal-to-noise ratio” by boosting the signal or reducing the background noise as much as possible. However, in nonlinear systems, noise can be your friend and actually contribute to boosting a signal”.

Perhaps, serendipitously, evolutionary mutations that further increased neuron numbers and reduced axon sizes, keeping overall energy consumption the same, made the brain’s neurons more susceptible to noise. And there is mounting evidence that this had another remarkable effect: it encouraged in humans the ability to solve problems that required leaps in imagination and creativity.
Perhaps we only truly became Homo Sapiens when significant noise began to appear in our brains?

Tim Palmer

Some of his words sound to be a good reflection for the field of conscioussness and education, too. Tim Palmer remembers: “Does this imply that a noisy computer can be creative? Alan Turing, pioneer of the general-purpose computing machine, believed this was possible, suggesting that “if a machine is expected to be infallible then it cannot also be intelligent”. That is to say, if we want the machine to be intelligent then it had better be capable of making mistakes“.

How can we reduce the background noise as much as possible? We can go through two directions and we can call these two levels conscious and unconscious, surfaced and submerged: under control or not. May we can consider another question: shall we reduce or not the backround noise as much as possible?

Silence in meditation is not something related to absolut silence, but, is the result of a capacity: the ability of… surfing noises. Maybe it’s a better definition of meditation. For sure, we do not pretend to eliminate that noise in the background of our conscioussness that is constantly whispering like a rumor into the vacuum of heart and ears. We’d just be happy to see (and feel, listen… ) thoughts floating away.

Let thoughts float away

While in the East people are used to meditation, in the West people are used to contemplation. Both means that we are in contact with sky: a touchable union with that bue outside and our inner infinite sky. Breathe. Be here and con-centration on this present moment. Where is my mind? Breathe is the focus, or not? We say “mind” and we mean “attention”, or better, “conscious attention”. Breathing is

Eureka moment: the concept of Flow

“Eureka moment” happens when we let our unconscious mind wander: this is why take a break is so important, during work but even in our daily life, especially in the moment of important choices. Eureka moment happens in the moment of real relaxation.

When you reach a real impasse, then routine mathematical thinking is of no use to you. Leading up to that kind of new idea, there has to be a long period of tremendous focus on the problem without any distraction. You have to really think about nothing but that problem – just concentrate on it. And then you stop. [At this point] there seems to be a period of relaxation during which the subconscious appears to take over – and it’s during this time that some new insight comes.
Andrew Wiles, mathematician

We Have our Journey, Inside

Maddalena De Bernardi

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