A Delicate Balance

It has been said that:

When we look for mind, we find only matter.

And:

When we look for matter, we find only mind.

In recent years, neuroscientists have noticed a remarkable pattern in the way neurons fire in brain samples. This activity seems to occur in avalanches which vary in size with a distribution that is scale invariant.

Scale invariance is a somewhat counterintuitive phenomenon. It means that the scale at which you examine data makes no difference to the distribution you observe. In other words, the distribution looks exactly the same whether you look at it close up or from far away.

Scientists have seen this kind of behaviour, called criticality, in all kinds of systems: the size of earthquakes, forest fires, epidemics and so on–all have the same kind of distribution.

It occurs in systems that are delicately balanced between inactivity, where the changes are always small, to a state of overactivity where any change tends to be runaway.

The Remarkable Pattern Of Neuronal Activity In The Brain – Technology Review

Actually, when we look for either, we find only math.

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