carhart-harris entropy law
most of us bring a negative connotation to the term: entropy suggests a gradual deterioration of a hard won order
it may be that some brains could stand to have a little more entropy, not less
carhart harris suggests that the psychological ‘disorders’ at the low entropy end of the spectrum (ie: narrow or rigid thinking; addiction; obsessive compulsive disorder; depression; anesthesia; and finally, coma) are not the result of a lack of order in the brain but rather stem from an excess of order
robin carhart -harris and his colleagues have explored in an ambitious and provocative paper titled ‘the entropic brain: ..’ the question at its heart is, do we pay a price for the achievement of order and selfhood in the adult human mind.. the paper concludes that we do.. while suppressing entropy (in this context a synonym for uncertainty) ..
the article offers an intriguing graphic depicting a ‘spectrum of cognitive states’ ranging from high entropy mental states to low ones.. at the high entropy end .. he lists psychedelic states; infant consciousness; early psychosis; magical thinking; and divergent or creative thinking. at the low entropy end.. he lists narrow or rigid thinking; addiction; obsessive compulsive disorder; depression ; anesthesia ; and finally, coma.
wow – that’s huge
carhart harris suggests that the psychological ‘disorders’ at the low entropy end of the spectrum are not the result of a lack of order in the brain but rather stem from an excess of order
carhart harris believes that people suffering from a whole range of disorders characterized by excessively rigid patterns of thought – including addiction, obsessions, and eating disorders as well as depression – stand to benefit from ‘the ability of psychedelics to disrupt stereotyped patterns of thought and behavior by disintegrating the patterns of [neutral] activity upon which they rest’
so it may be that some brains could stand to have a little more entropy, not less
‘it’s not just that one system drops away’ he says ‘ but that an older system reemerges’
already there ness
carhart harris argues in the entropy paper that even a temporary rewiring of the brain is potentially valuable.. esp for people suffering from disorders characterized by mental rigidity.. disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility – entropy – in which more salubrious (health giving) patterns and narratives have an opp to coalesce
am thinking.. a case for no training.. ness
the idea that increasing the amount of entropy in the human brain might actually be good for us is surely counterintuitive
to me.. very intuitive..
most of us bring a negative connotation to the term: entropy suggests a gradual deterioration of a hard won order, the disintegration of a system over time.. certainly getting older feels like an entropic process – a gradual running down and disordering of the mind and body.. but maybe that’s the wrong way to think about it.. robin’s paper got me wondering if, at least for the mind, *aging is really a process of declining entropy, the fading over time of what we should regard as a possible attribute of mental life