Idea Almanac

“I have a vision that never ceases to entertain me. I imagine the vast universe, with its hundreds of billions of galaxies. Each galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars. Around each star, I picture planets of limitless variety. I imagine these trillions of monstrously sized objects slowly orbiting each other in the vast emptiness of space for billions of years. What amazes me is that the only thing in the universe that knows about this—the only thing that knows that the universe exists at all—is our brain. If it wasn’t for brains, then nothing would know that anything exists. It prompts the question that I mentioned at the beginning of the book: If there is no knowledge of something, can we say that the thing exists at all? That our brain plays such a unique role is fascinating. Of course, there may be intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe, but this makes it even more entertaining to think about.”

Excerpt From: Jeff Hawkins;. “A Thousand Brains.

Idea Almanac

The word ‘aptitude’ is often misused to mean ability or achievement, and in the context of psychometric testing aptitude may be regarded as just another way of referring to specific ability. There is, however, a subtle technical difference between the three words ‘achievement’, ‘ability’ and ‘aptitude’, which can be distinguished as follows:

Achievement ^ what you have accomplished in the past.

Ability ^ what you are able to demonstrate in the present.

Aptitude ^ how quickly or easily you will be able to learn in the future.

The Complete Book of Intelligence Tests: 500 Exercises to Improve, Upgrade and Enhance Your Mind Strength: 8 (The IQ Workout Series)

Idea Almanac

“The human brain is a master of deception. It creates experiences and directs actions with a magician’s skill, never revealing how it does so, all the while giving us a false sense of confidence that its products—our day-to-day experiences—reveal its inner workings. Joy, sadness, surprise, fear, and other emotions seem so distinct and feel so built-in that we assume they have separate causes inside us. When you have a brain that essentializes, it’s easy to come up with a wrong theory of the mind. We are, after all, a bunch of brains trying to figure out how brains work.”

Excerpt From: Lisa Feldman Barrett. “How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain.”

Idea Almanac

“There’s a famous quote that says, ‘If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.’ If you look into the science of the brain and how it relates to intelligence, there’s a strong element of truth in this aphorism. Our brains make us intelligent enough to recognise that we are intelligent, observant enough to realise this isn’t typical in the world, and curious enough to wonder why this is the case. But we don’t yet seem to be intelligent enough to grasp easily where our intelligence comes from and how it works. So we have to fall back on studies of the brain and psychology to get any idea of how the whole process comes about. Science itself exists thanks to our intelligence, and now we use science to figure out how our intelligence works? This is either very efficient or circular reasoning, I’m not smart enough to tell.”

Excerpt From: Dean Burnett. “The Idiot Brain.