Author Archives: Yohan

About Yohan

I'm a neuroscience postdoc at the Neural Systems Laboratory in Boston University. My PhD was in Cognitive and Neural Systems, and my work involves computational neural network modeling, mostly of cognitive-emotional interaction. Apart from neuroscience, I spend a lot of time engaging with music, history, politics, philosophy, and religion.

The Quest for Authenticity: Mystical Transcendence in Pop Culture

I was asked the following question on Quora: What are some mystic perspectives on pop culture? Here’s my answer: There are many mystic perspectives in pop culture — drone-based music, mystical lyrics, surrealist art, the whole Jedi religion. So here … Continue reading

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The Tao that can be expressed

[This is an essay I wrote in 2008, on an old blog.] The following is the first part of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching — it’s my favourite piece of eastern philosophy. I’ve quoted it many times, ever since I … Continue reading

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Is there any such thing as “nothing”?

Perhaps we have to start by asking what a “thing” is. Let’s try the following definition: a thing has the attribute of location in space and time. Further, we might conclude that in order to locate something, we must have … Continue reading

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Is the mind a machine?

My latest 3QD essay explores the “mind as machine” metaphor, and metaphors in general. Putting the “cog” in “cognitive”: on the “mind as machine” metaphor Here’s an excerpt: People who study the mind and brain often confront the limits of … Continue reading

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Ways of Knowing

Here is an excerpt from my latest 3QD essay: “To attempt an understanding of understanding, I think it might make sense to situate our verbal forms of knowledge-generation in the wider world of knowing: a world that includes the forms … Continue reading

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The “Streetlight Effect”: a metaphor for knowledge and ignorance

Here’s the beginning of my latest 3QD piece: There is a story that I think anyone interested in human knowledge ought to know. It comes in many forms. Here is one version, incarnated as a joke: ‘A policeman sees a … Continue reading

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What do we mean by “Nature”? And what do we mean by “Human Nature”?

Here’s the intro to my latest 3QD essay: I’ve always had a problem with the word ‘nature’. It seems to serve as a label for multiple, mutually inconsistent notions. This in itself is not a reason to dislike a word … Continue reading

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