“Question your truth.”— David Eagleman
David Eagleman (@davideagleman) is a neuroscientist, New York Times bestselling author, TED speaker, and Guggenheim Fellow. He is the writer and presenter of the Emmy-nominated series The Brain on PBS, as well as the podcast Inner Cosmos with David Eagleman. In Palo Alto, California, he teaches at Stanford University, runs a startup neurotech company called Neosensory, and directs the Center for Science and Law. Dr. Eagleman also runs a film and television production company, Cognito Entertainment, to bring scientific themes (fiction and nonfiction) to the screen. He is the author of eight books, including the international bestsellers Sum, Incognito, and his newest book, Livewired.
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Want to hear another episode that ponders the nature of reality? Have a listen to my conversation with Professor Donald Hoffman here, in which we discuss the science of consciousness, how perception may influence the physical world, the holographic model of the universe, panpsychism (and influential panpsychists), cosmological polytope, the use of hallucinogenic drugs to tap into deeper reality and interact with conscious agents, QBism, the probability of zero that humans evolved to see reality in full, and much more wild stuff.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
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SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
Connect with David Eagleman:
- Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain by David Eagleman | Amazon
- Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman | Amazon
- Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman | Amazon
- The Brain with David Eagleman | Prime Video
- Inner Cosmos with David Eagleman
- Where Science Meets Story | Cognito Entertainment
- Bridging the Gap between Neuroscience and the Law | Center for Science & Law
- The Mind of a Mnemonist: A Little Book about a Vast Memory by A.R. Luria | Amazon
- Mnemonist | Wikipedia
- Q & A About Synesthesia | David Eagleman
- Hyper Memory, Synaesthesia, Savants Luria and Borges Revisited | Dementia & Neuropsychologia
- How to Build a Memory Palace | Art of Memory
- Welcome to 5-Bullet Friday | Tim Ferriss
- Pink Floyd “Time” Laser Show | Laser Pictures
- David Eagleman: Can We Create New Senses for Humans? | TED 2015
- Could This Futuristic Vest Give Us a Sixth Sense? | Smithsonian Magazine
- The Next Generation of Hearing Science | Neosensory
- Binaural Beats: Sleep, Therapy, and Meditation | Healthline
- Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer | Amazon
- Tinnitus Symptoms and Causes | Mayo Clinic
- Microwave Sensing of Water Quality | IEEE Access
- Protect Your Autistic Child from Sensory Meltdowns | Abrace.ai
- Finance and Sensory Addition: Feeling the System and Perceiving the Stock Market by Iona Sharp Casas | Academia.edu
- Why Ebbinghaus’ Savings Method from 1885 Is a Very ‘Pure’ Measure of Memory Performance | Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
- How Accurate Are Memories of 9/11? | Scientific American
- Salk Institute for Biological Studies
- 10 Unsolved Mysteries Of The Brain by David Eagleman | Discover Magazine
- Consciousness | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Is Human Consciousness Creating Reality? | Big Think
- Panpsychism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Professor Donald Hoffman — The Case Against Reality, Beyond Spacetime, Rethinking Death, Panpsychism, QBism, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #585
- The Neural Correlates of Consciousness and Attention: Two Sister Processes of the Brain | Frontiers in Neuroscience
- XPRIZE Foundation
- Why Do We Dream? A New Theory on How It Protects Our Brains | David Eagleman
- The Gray Mouse Lemur (Microcebus Murinus) As a Model for Early Primate Brain Evolution | Current Opinion in Neurobiology
- What Do Blind People Dream About? | Sleep Foundation
- Richard Turner — The Magical Phenom Who Will Blow Your Mind | The Tim Ferriss Show #411
- Dealt | Prime Video
- Cosmos with Carl Sagan | Amazon
- Eagleman and Eno Perform Sum | David Eagleman
- Sum at the Royal Opera House | David Eagleman
- Stray Questions for: David Eagleman | The New York Times
- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino | Amazon
- 11 Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask about Magical Realism | Vox
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez | Amazon
- Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges | Amazon
- Beloved by Toni Morrison | Amazon
- Spotted Horses, Old Man, The Bear by William Faulkner | Amazon
- The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino | Amazon
- Neuroscientist David Eagleman on What Is Possible in the Cosmos | Smithsonian Magazine
- Hypothesis Testing: A Step-by-Step Guide with Easy Examples | Scribbr
- Rabaha Lazy Susan Organizer | Amazon
- Pancakes 24/7 | IHOP
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss | Amazon
- Motion Aftereffect | Wikipedia
- Martin Heidegger Quotes | Goodreads
- What is Possibilianism? | Possibilian
- Sherlock | Prime Video
- Potemkin Village | Wikipedia
- Introducing ChatGPT | OpenAI
- Brain Time by David Eagleman | Edge
- [07:10] Mnemonists and synesthetes.
- [12:13] Creating new senses.
- [17:39] Practical applications in practice.
- [24:36] Five years from now.
- [28:26] The curious resilience and vulnerability of memory.
- [32:25] Testing the accuracy of memory.
- [34:50] Meeting Francis Crick.
- [36:25] The dangerous lumberjack.
- [39:43] Dream projects.
- [41:23] Exploring consciousness.
- [44:38] Dreaming and brain plasticity.
- [54:13] Influences.
- [57:23] Why neuroscience?
- [1:00:22] Sum: An extended failure that became a wild success.
- [1:05:36] The Don Vaughn method.
- [1:07:02] Recommended reading.
- [1:08:50] Hypothesis testing.
- [1:09:40] Lazy Susan advice.
- [1:11:18] A week in the life of David.
- [1:16:28] Livewired.
- [1:20:48] Assumptions ripe for challenging.
- [1:25:34] Possibilianism.
- [1:27:35] David’s billboard.
- [1:30:28] Empire of the Invisible.
- [1:32:11] Learning from AI.
- [1:34:42] Perception of time.
- [1:39:47] Idiotheses.
- [1:40:59] Parting thoughts.
MORE DAVID EAGLEMAN QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“The brain is locked in silence and darkness inside the skull, and all it ever sees are these little electrical signals … yet when you open your eyes and look at the world, you see everything in full color and it looks so rich and you’re hearing music and you’re feeling things on your fingertips and you’re smelling cinnamon. All these things seem like very distinct senses to you, but they’re all made of exactly the same stuff, which is these electrochemical spikes. And so I got really interested in this idea of could we feed information into the brain via an unusual source, and would the brain just figure it out?”
— David Eagleman
“We experience lots of data. When you’re a kid, when you’re a baby, you don’t know how the heck to use your eyes or ears or whatever. You’re just getting all this data going into the darkness there and you figure stuff out. You figure out correlations.”
— David Eagleman
“Memory is a myth-making machine, and we’re constantly reinventing our past, especially as we tell the stories over and over again.”
— David Eagleman
“I think the notion of how plastic the brain actually is is something that’s totally underappreciated. There’s an idea that I think many people have, which is, “Oh, you’re just born with the brain. The brain unpacks and then you’re who you are,” but really, we are totally functions of our culture and our society. And one of the things that’s amazing to me is, imagine, Tim, that you and I were born 10,000 years ago, exactly the same DNA, but we wouldn’t be anything like what we are now. Even though with the same DNA we might look vaguely like we do now, but my God, the culture, everything we’re pulling in would be so different. And that’s what actually shapes a human being.”
— David Eagleman
“The beauty of science is that it’s always willing to knock down its own walls.”
— David Eagleman
“Question your truth.”
— David Eagleman
- Alexander Romanovich Luria
- Kim Peek
- Ed Cooke
- Elizabeth A. Phelps
- Francis Crick
- Christof Koch
- Richard Turner
- Arthur Egelman
- Read Montague
- Carl Sagan
- Brian Eno
- Max Richter
- Don Vaughn
- Gabriel García Márquez
- Italo Calvino
- Jorge Luis Borges
- Toni Morrison
- William Faulkner
- Marco Polo
- Kublai Khan
- Walt Whitman
- Ed Zschau
- Annaka Harris
- Martin Heidegger
- James Watson
- Sherlock Holmes
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Gregory House
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