« Our brains don't see reality as it is, but as it's predicted to be | Main | How the brain makes predictions come true »

June 01, 2023


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

As Andy Clark says: - “Predictions of pain or impairment become highly overweighted, and those predictions overwhelm the actual sensory evidence, forcing experience to conform to our own hidden but misplaced expectations”. Although he is here talking about pain, particularly in psychiatry and neurology, our brain can make some awful prediction errors.

Feldman-Barrett describes a soldier who was in the Rhodesian army in Southern Africa in the 1970s to defeat guerrilla fighters. He was deep in the forest one morning, conducting a practice exercise, when he saw movement ahead: a long line of guerrilla fighters with machine guns. He raised his rifle, flicked off the safety, and was about to shoot his AK47. Suddenly a hand grabbed his shoulder – ‘don’t shoot, it’s just a boy’ whispered one of his colleagues. It turns out it was just a boy leading a herd of cattle and the AK-47 – just a herding stick.

It was just the brain predicting a scenario from the terrified man’s experiences that would best serve his survival. I guess we all do that (in less dramatic circumstances) most of the time. It seems that it is not that our reality is not real, it’s just that our brains habitually (and necessarily) do the deciding as to what is best for our organism. Interestingly, it describes how there is no essential me or self that decides or acts.

Thank you. If this guy is the most eloquent and lucid author of neuroscience books, then bypassing that genre altogether has been an excellent decision.

If you focus on pain, the perception of pain will grow.
If you focus on peace, peace will grow.
If you simply withdraw your attention from pain, peace and love will grow. They are already there, too.

Where you place your attention, where you persist in placing your attention, you become that.
Your only wealth, your only resource is your attention.
Take care not to waste it.

And where you leave your attention, where you allow your attention to go reactively, habitually, you become that also.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.