David Eagleman quotes:

  • A typical neuron makes about ten thousand connections to neighboring neurons. Given the billions of neurons, this means there are as many connections in a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

  • As an undergraduate I majored in British and American literature at Rice University.

  • The three-pound organ in your skull - with its pink consistency of Jell-o - is an alien kind of computational material. It is composed of miniaturized, self-configuring parts, and it vastly outstrips anything we've dreamt of building.

  • My lab and academic work fill my day from about 9 am to 7 p.m. Then I zoom out the lens to work on my other writing.

  • There is a looming chasm between what your brain knows and what your mind is capable of accessing.

  • Neuroscience over the next 50 years is going to introduce things that are mind-blowing.

  • My dream is to reform the legal system over the next 20 years.

  • Every atom in your body is the same quark in different places at the same moment in time.

  • I'm using the afterlife as a backdrop against which to explore the joys and complexities of being human - it turns out that it's a great lens with which to understand what matters to us.

  • The same stimuli in the world can be inducing very different experiences internally and it's probably based on a single change in a gene. What I am doing is pulling the gene forward and imaging and doing behavioural tests to understand what that difference is and how reality can be constructed so differently.

  • What we find is that our brains have colossal things happening in them all the time.

  • Your brain is built of cells called neurons and glia - hundreds of billions of them. Each one of these cells is as complicated as a city.

  • Societies would _not_ be better off if everyone were like Mr Spock, all rationality and no emotion. Instead, a balance - a teaming up of the internal rivals - is optimal for brains. ... Some balance of the emotional and rational systems is needed, and that balance may already be optimized by natural selection in human brains.

  • All creation necessarily ends in this: Creators, powerless, fleeing from the things they have wrought.

  • Every week I get letters from people worldwide who feel that the possibilian point of view represents their understanding better than either religion or neo-atheism.

  • I know one lab that studies nicotine receptors and all the scientists are smokers, and another lab that studies impulse control and they're all overweight.

  • I think what a life in science really teaches you is the vastness of our ignorance.

  • It is only through us that God lives. When we abandon him, he dies.

  • Evolve solutions; when you find a good one, don't stop.

  • What a life in science really teaches you is the vastness of our ignorance.

  • Love was not specified in the design of your brain; it is merely an endearing algorithm that freeloads on the leftover processing cycles.

  • We don't really understand most of what's happening in the cosmos. Is there any afterlife? Who knows.

  • I spent my adult life as a scientist, and science is, essentially, the most successful approach we have to try and understand the vast mysteries around.

  • People wouldn't even go into science unless there was something much bigger to be discovered, something that is transcendent.

  • Part of the scientific temperament is this tolerance for holding multiple hypotheses in mind at the same time.

  • There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.

  • Among all the creatures of creation, the gods favor us: We are the only ones who can empathize with their problems.

  • Death... The moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.

  • There are an infinite number of boring things to do in science.

  • Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion. A third position, agnosticism, is often an uninteresting stance in which a person simply questions whether his traditional religious story (say, a man with a beard on a cloud) is true or not true. But with Possibilianism I'm hoping to define a new position - one that emphasizes the exploration of new, unconsidered possibilities. Possibilianism is comfortable holding multiple ideas in mind; it is not interested in committing to any particular story.

  • Constant reminding ourselves that we not see with our eyes but with our synergetic eye-brain system working as a whole will produce constant astonishment as we notice, more and more often, how much of our perceptions emerge from our preconceptions.

  • Instead of reality being passively recorded by the brain, it is actively constructed by it.

  • ...you are battered and bruised in the collisions between reminiscence and reality.

  • The conscious mind is not at the center of the action in the brain; instead, it is far out on a distant edge, hearing but whispers of the activity.

  • Our internal life and external actions are steered by biological coctails to which we have neither immediate access nor direct acquaintance.

  • We're trapped on this very thin slice of perception ... But even at that slice of reality that we call home, we're not seeing most of what's going on.

  • You´re not perceiving what's out there. You're perceiving whatever your brain tells you.

  • We believe we're seeing the world just fine until it's called to our attention that we're not.

  • Since we live in the heads of those who remember us, we lose control of our lives and become who they want us to be.

  • Our reality depends on what our biology is up to.

  • I always bounce my legs when I'm sitting.

  • When we're in a human body, we don't care about universal collapse - instead, we care only about a meeting of the eyes, a glimpse of bare flesh, the caressing tones of a loved voice, joy, love, light, the orientation of a house plant, the shade of a paint stroke, the arrangement of hair.

  • Everything that creates itself upon the backs of smaller scales will by those same scales be consumed.

  • The missing crowds make you lonely. You begin to complain about all the people you could be meeting. But no one listens or sympathizes with you, because this is precisely what you chose when you were alive.

  • A mere 400 years after our fall from the center of the universe, we have experienced the fall from the center of ourselves.

  • What has always surprised me when I walk into a bookstore is the number of books that you can find that are written with certainty. The authors tell some story as though it's true, but they don't have any evidence that it is true!

  • There are always wonderful mysteries to confront.

  • Humans have discovered that they cannot stop Death, but at least they can spit in his drink.

  • The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.

  • I call myself a Possibilian: I'm open to...ideas that we don't have any way of testing right now.

  • Everybody knows the power of deadlines - and we all hate them. But their effectiveness is undeniable.