“Where does a thought go when it’s forgotten?” —Sigmund Freud
“You could double the number of synaptic connections in a very simple neurocircuit as a result of experience and learning. The reason for that was that long-term memory alters the expression of genes in nerve cells, which is the cause of the growth of new synaptic connections. When you see that at the cellular level, you realize that the brain can change because of experience. It gives you a different feeling about how nature and nurture interact. They are not separate processes.” —
Eric R. Kandel, Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist.
“No, we weren’t lovers, but in a way we had opened ourselves to each other even more deeply than lovers do. The thought caused me a good deal of grief. What a terrible thing it is to wound someone you really care for - and to do it so unconsciously.” —H.M.
“Most of the time, we think we are our thoughts. We forget that there’s an aspect of our mind that’s watching these thoughts arise and pass away. The point of mindfulness is to get in touch with that witnessing capacity. Sometimes I ask students to imagine thoughts as visitors knocking at the door of their houses. The thoughts don’t live there; you greet them, acknowledge them, and let them go.” —Sharon Salzberg. Courtesy of Tricycle Magazine
“Profound optimism is always on the side of the tortured.” —André Gide
“I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live.” —Jonathan Safran Foer
“If the scientific community were to declare free will an illusion, it would precipitate a culture war far more belligerent than the one that has been waged on the subject of evolution. Without free will, sinners and criminals would be nothing more than poorly calibrated clockwork, and any conception of justice that emphasized punishing them (rather than deterring, rehabilitating, or merely containing them) would appear utterly incongruous. And those of us who work hard and follow the rules would not “deserve” our success in any deep sense. It is not an accident that most people find these conclusions abhorrent. The stakes are high.” —Sam Harris: Is Free Will an Illusion?