Blog Posts

17
Feb

“What You Think, You Become.” Wow! Really?

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I’ve been fascinated about thoughts, how they arise, and how immensely valuable they can be. Once I had embraced a few foundation principles of neuroscience, it seemed self evident that experience must be fundamentally subjective and determined by the wiring and function of an individual’s brain.

You are what you eat? Nope. You are what you think!

One of those principles is summarized by the equality: “experience = brain activity.” In a sense this means my reality is the activity of my brain, nothing more, nothing less. That equality has challenged and soothed me, and for a rather long while, believing it made me feel like I understood something fundamental that was important in an everyday sort of way. The consequence was that I would focus my efforts on working out how neurons and brains operate.

A while back, an unsettling realization that my understanding of the equality was superficial began to percolate. Perhaps my thinking had been lazy and I had stopped short of what is a truly powerful, fundamental understanding. A very long time ago, Siddhartha Gautama, better know as Buddha, may have got it right when he said “What you think, you become.” The more I learn about neurons, brains, myself and other people, the truer that insight seems.

“What you think, you become.” That’s powerful; an understanding that can transform a lot, if not everything. If it is true, then thoughts, the network operations of brain cells, both define and can change a person, and possibly the world. I see dramatic examples all around me. Today’s inspiring examples appear to be the regime-changing news from Tunisia and Egypt. It seems there is nothing better to do for myself, and possibly everyone else, than to think clearly and well. I work to understand the nuts and bolts of how thinking works. I wonder if what Siddhartha said is true? Regardless, I’m enjoying trying to pass the thought along – “What you think, you become.” I hope we will all understand what that really means.

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Andre Fenton

Andre Fenton

    Andre Fenton is Professor of Neural Science at the Center for Neural Science at New York University. He is also a part-time Associate Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He is especially interested in understanding how memory works (and doesn’t work).

    • Angelica99

      I have an undergrad degree in both Biology and Chemistry. While working as a Certified Medical Technologist in Blood Banking, by default, I was challenged with the installation of a cutting edge information system. I received my Masters in LAN Managenent. I should have said that I attended Unniversity as a Freshman at 14.
      At 39, I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I became completely disabled. A barrage of specialized tests revealed Lupus, also.
      I spent five years in a fetal position bed ridden because an august legion of learned, licensed, likeable doctors deemed me, ” DISABLED. ”
      For five years my mind repeated that word back to me. And so, I became the word.