Francisco Varela quotes

  • There is a strong current in contemporary culture advocating ' holistic ' views as some sort of cure-all... Reductionism implies attention to a lower level while holistic implies attention to higher level. These are intertwined in any satisfactory description: and each entails some loss relative to our cognitive preferences, as well as some gain... there is no whole system without an interconnection of its parts and there is no whole system without an environment.
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Strong #Loss #Views

  • The emergence of a unified cognitive moment relies on the coordination of scattered mosaics of functionally specialized brain regions. Here we review the mechanisms of large-scale integration that counterbalance the distributed anatomical and functional organization of brain activity to enable the emergence of coherent behaviour and cognition. Although the mechanisms involved in large-scale integration are still largely unknown, we argue that the most plausible candidate is the formation of dynamic links mediated by synchrony over multiple frequency bands.
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Organization #Brain #Mosaics

  • [M]any people would accept that we do not really have knowledge of the world; we have knowledge only of our representations of the world. Yet we seem condemned by our consitution to treat these representations as if they were the world, for our everyday experience feels as if it were of a given and immediate world.
    -- Francisco Varela

    #People #Everyday #World

  • When a living system is suffering from ill health, the remedy is found by connecting with more of itself.
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Suffering #Found #Ill

  • all our suffering is associated with this pre-occupation. All loss and gain, pleasure and pain arise because we identify so closely with this vague feeling of selfness that we have. We are so emotionally involved with and attached to this "self" that we take it for granted.
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Pain #Loss #Self

  • The cybernetics phase of cognitive science produced an amazing array of concrete results, in addition to its long-term (often underground) influence
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Long #Phases #Cybernetics

  • As Buddhist teachers often point out, knowledge, in the sense of prajña, is not knowledge about anything. There is no abstract knower of an experience that is separate from the experience itself.
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Teacher #Buddhist #Abstract

  • The relations that define a system as a unity, and determine the dynamics of interaction and transformations which it may undergo as such a unity constitute the organization of the machine.
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Organization #Unity #Machines

  • I'm a biologist who has been interested in the biological roots of cognitive phenomena
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Roots #Biologist

  • If everybody would agree that their current reality is A reality, and that what we essentially share is our capacity for constructing a reality, then perhaps we could all agree on a meta-agreement for computing a reality that would mean survival and dignity for everyone on the planet, rather than each group being sold on a particular way of doing things.
    -- Francisco Varela

    #Mean #Reality #Agreement