If you've ever lived in London, or been in conversation with anyone who has, there is a topic that you generally can’t avoid, which is the price of housing. In reality, to someone at my station in life, we’re actually talking about the price of renting. I'm tempted to say I would prefer to talk about the weather, except that weather-chat is already pretty well trodden in this city.
Luck is common to all. While we curse our misfortune when it works against us, it mostly hides in a cognitive blind spot for the remainder of our experiences. It shouldn’t, for we essentially have no control over this world around us.
Prior to the development of the scientific method, humans were largely guided in their actions by customs, traditions and intuitions. The initial inception of ritualistic practices within hunter-gatherer societies provided a means through which knowledge and understanding of the land could be passed forward through generations. As societies grew in size and complexity, so to did these forms of teachings, culminating in some of the more well known theologies of today: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Less focused on the land itself, the lessons contained within these holy documents put more consideration towards interactions with neighbours and a general framework for the community. It is unfair to uniformly condemn religion as without intellectual rigour, however, the interpretive nature of the material, in conjunction with the zealous following it entails, clearly can be an incendiary combination. As a result, the prescription of religion has provided a mixed result for humanity, offering, offering both the enlightenment of the Islamic Golden Age and the brutal ignorance of the Dark Ages
A unifying concept between neuroscience and physics is how the great questions in each field boldly attempt to unravel the mystery and fundamental nature of reality. Of course the routes follow divergent paths, with physics focusing on the externalities, such as what is time, space, matter and how did it all begin, while neuroscience has internalised the problem. What is free will? What is consciousness? Do they really exist and, if so, how could either arise from a complex, yet conceptually simple interconnection of nerve cells?
Over its turbulent years, the 20th century yielded a number of technological breakthroughs which laid bare a new paradigm for the next millennium. Here the brute power of mechanical automatons found competition in the more nuanced comprehension of information theory and computation. The gestation of these concepts eventually yielded a new model for sharing information and birthed the internet, a final gift to the new world ahead.
What is better – a happy life or a meaningful one?