The Possom Brain

What is the core function of a healthy adaptive brain? This researcher says its function is not merely to sort the input of our senses, but to create predictive models based on the cumulative weight of that input. This hypothesis strikes me as rather obvious and thus not entirely insightful. Though that’s plainly not an opinion shared by many, who believe an orderly brain is one that disregards its own predicted models in favor of those espoused by the Huffington Post.

Here’s how the article described the function of this seemingly tertiary organ.

The main purpose of the brain, as we understand it today, is it is basically a prediction machine that is optimising its own predictions of the environment it is navigating through. So, vision starts with an expectation of what is around the corner. Once you turn around the corner, you are then negotiating potential inputs to your predictions – and then responding differently to surprise and to fulfilment of expectations.

‘So that’s what’s called the predictive processing framework, and it’s a proposed unifying theory of the brain. It’s basically creating an internal model of what’s going to happen next.’

So a functioning brain is one that forms accurate models about what it will actually see next. Such as a bushman on the Serengeti whose brain predicts he will soon see the inside of a lion’s intestinal tract upon realizing one is in full sprint for his neck. This model is one likely to incentivize enthusiastic flight, and thus result in a bushman who lives to model another day. In contrast, inaccurate models about lion behavior tend to have a suppressive effect on bushman longevity. More interesting is the fact that this effect is noted even where inaccurate models are socially mandated.

But how does this apply in a sense relevant to us?

You have forward models, so while you’re cycling, you predict the trajectory of the cars, of your own movement on the entire world, in real time. You update your predictions (of) the future model that you create in order to cycle through the city without being run over.

‘These models are very good because you have this experience, and only now and then you need to update these models, or you update them (in real time) because you’re turning a corner. So you’re updating with your memory, your predictions, and a slight slip of the internal model comes about because you’re surprised: “Oh it’s not this street.” So, while you’re cycling, you’re negotiating a future model with another future model because you’re updating these creations of your predictions.’

So for instance if you suddenly found yourself cycling through East St. Louis at night, your model would need to be updated to predict the cost of your mortician. And while your model is ingesting that input, you’re negotiating a future model that asks “What if everywhere was East St. Louis?” This inducing a motivation that everywhere not be East St. Louis, thus prompting proselytizing such that others will share your conviction. Fortunately, your predictive brain alerts you to the fact that expressing this preference for a non ESL world is likely to result in social shaming, harassment, and unemployment. So your brain negotiates this hurdle by accurately predicting that parroting false platitudes about diversity will enable sufficient income to subsidize a life far away from it. The most common camouflage for these revealed preferences is called Good Schools.

And that is the true marvel of man’s predictive brain. He can anticipate what subterfuge and signaling are necessary to pretend that his mind has accurately modeled nothing whatsoever. Thus, like a canny opossum, the modern brain protects itself by playing dead.

It’s quite an interesting adaptation…until everywhere is East St. Louis.

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12 thoughts on “The Possom Brain

  1. This was comedy gold. I laughed out loud, literally. Wife didn’t think it was that funny though, sorry. She hasn’t quite developed my level of cynicism or ironic disposition yet, although hope springs eternal that she will one day.

    Nothing amuses me more than seeing some leftist nonsense about how the brain works applied to actual reality. If, indeed, the brain does work in such a manner, most of the white people unfortunate enough to live under the European Commission would be pretty upset to see their entire continent turning into Somalia.

  2. Pingback: The Possom Brain | Reaction Times

  3. E. St Louis is where “Escape from New York” (1981) was filmed. Tellingly, the city needed no actual prison wall or much set design to capture that look.

  4. Kidding aside, in my view humans have two cognitive pathways:
    Rational
    Impulsive.
    The impulsive pathway subdivides into Individual and Social (AKA herding, which is the engine of Prechter’s Socionomic Hypothesis.)

    Vice (self-harming actions undertaken with the expectation of producing happiness/enjoyment) is entirely driven by the impulsive mind. The impulsive mind is structurally co-located with emotion, sense of self and phobias, and like the latter three, it exists in the Perpetual Now. It conflates the past, the present and the future into NOW, and it Does. Not. Learn.

    Leftism being theology, people are driven to genuflect to the Leftist Catechism by their innate need to be “part of the herd.” It is generally painful to most people to be seen as not part of the larger group. This is seen in all social animals, AFAIK.

    Sanity is defined as having a mental map that is a halfway decent approximation of Actual Reality. As the lunatics in charge of Leftism’s Jim Jones wing pushed the Leftist sacraments toward all sorts of UNREAL things, the cognitive dissonance required to keep reciting the Leftist Catechism became too shrill to bear for more and more people, hence the appearance of “Not Leftism” (which is Everything Rightist, also called “Literally Hitler” by Leftist zealots who studied at the People’s Temple in Guyana (I can only assume they had a headache and went home early before the KoolAid got dispensed, too bad.)

    The funny part is, we all have both pathways. Rage is an impulsive pathway…and when it’s in charge it is impossible to use reason. Leftism is driven by herding, so this explains why someone who is frothing at the mouth with some Leftist dogma can no more be reasoned with than you can if you’re incoherently enraged at someone.

    Keep in mind, when in impulsive cognition EVERYTHING is in the NOW. This means that planning and prediction do not exist. This is why a frothing at the mouth Leftist cannot answer “what happens if you get your way?” The future about which that question revolves simply does not exist to the state of mind they’re engaged in. This is also why a perfect history of complete failure does not affect their dogma. That part of the brain (remember!) Does. Not. Learn.

    This is why if you trigger them, all prior triggers are added in cumulative fashion, and the effect is as if all of the past triggers hit all at once, in the NOW. (This is why couples arguing end up in loops, same problem.)

    The problem is, until 150 years ago insisting on a NOT REALITY metal model was culled from humanity very fast, all the time. Only when Nature’s huge scythe was tamed (mostly by better sanitation) were humans more free to believe bat-shit crazy stuff and live to reproduce. We now stand neck deep in a cesspool of dumb-assery and collective wishful thinking (fantasy), made into public policy. Our innovations now encourage people to engage in vice 24/7. What once was prohibited by Blue Laws, now the state gets a cut (just like the mafia of old.) People are told to fornicate, gamble, abuse drugs and alcohol, smoke dope, get abortions, rot their minds on games, etc., etc. and don’t worry, no one will be allowed to starve.

    Few people seem able to imagine the consequences of much of anything anymore.

    • Best relevant response/addendum to a brilliant explanation I may ever have read… every bit as insightful and revelatory.

  5. Pingback: K Blog: The Possum Brain | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  6. brilliant extended version of a more succinct “white flight”. But with boundaries implied. Or assured. Thank you.

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