Predicting the future

The minds goal is to try its best to predict the future.

It does this by creating a mental model of the world and everything in it including you. This mental model of you is likely the most important construct inside your mind because every computation inside your mind goes through this construct.

Every action you take is determined by your own belief in who you are.

We can simplify this further by stating the following.

Your actions in the world are a determined by a collection of I statements about yourself.

I am smart, I am funny, I am kind.

We can translate these into math.

W1 = I am smart = 22

W2 = I am funny = 20

W3 = I am kind  = 18

You = W1 + W2 + W3

In a mathematical neural network the computations of the networks are determined by the values of weighs and biases within the network.

So when we compute you we take everything you think you are and we compute the output of that to get a value. So you are 22 + 20 + 18 = 60.

Negative values attached to the self are catastrophic for mental health because every time you have to think you will experience negative feelings because you will get negative output when you compute yourself.

I’m pretty certain that just reading negative stimuli slightly changes the weights and biases within your mind but perhaps some people aren’t sensitive enough to pick up on this slight change in the computational models within the mind.

If we would add “Im a fraud” to the mix, you will suddenly have a new computation

W4 = I’m a fraud = – 25

You = W1 + W2 + W3 + W4

You = 35

To further complicate things you can decide on a meaning for a word in your mind that makes it so that it doesn’t influence you negatively. A famous example.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

Here being crazy is good.

No matter what you perceive yourself to be your belief in yourself influence you.

These beliefs in yourself determines what actions you perform and what actions you don’t perform. They are a sort of rule based schematic of how to navigate life that you have imposed on yourself to handle the absurd complexity that is life.

Not having an attribute for yourself will also influence your actions. This is an unknown unknown. I’ve painted for almost a year and I self identify as an artist. This highly influence my thought process and I’ve had a lot of thoughts in the last year that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t identify as an artist.

So how do we solve this problem? You can’t really lie to yourself too much

because your mind will require proof that you are doing something. If you say that you are a runner you need to run. But you can start by deciding to be a runner and then start running. There’s a gap here that you can use to get started with any activity.

Once you self identify as something and determine that it is important for you to be that thing your mind will give you the resources you need to pursue that goal. However nothing comes easy. I spent months doing nothing but paint to learn how to paint. This is how it works regardless of what you need to learn.

But it is important to understand that you have the choice to be whoever you want to be. You can literally change overnight and decide to be a concert pianist and after a few thousands hours of practice you will probably be pretty good.

By convincing your mind that you are something you will gain an edge and over time you will become what you convinced yourself that you are.

As the old saying goes.

Fake it till you make it.

Neural networks

Your mind is a collection of neural networks.

Your neural networks are made to predict the world in a way that improves goal directed action.

Negative emotions are failures in the predictions, fear is mostly computational error (because all you have to fear is fear itself) and positive emotions are when your predictions of the world match objective reality.

The problem is that your mind has to compute everything, so a negative stimuli can’t simply be discarded. If you experience something negative your mind has to make sense of it and it will change the weights within your neural networks to compute the world in a new light (I’m worthless, the world is a terrible place, no one loves me).

Your mind does this because it wants the world to make sense and it tries changing the weights and biases within the mind to see if this new configuration makes more sense.

The entire object of the world and everything in it is computed with these new weight to see if we need to update any values. Hopefully some networks will be filled with stimuli that contradicts the negative emotion (the memory of a loved one, the encouraging words from a friend, a personal accomplishment) and this new stimuli makes the network backpropagate and changes the weights back to default so we go back to feeling normal.

Your minds primarily goal is to make sense of reality and everything else is secondary. Feeling okay is less important than living in a world you can predict.

If you are feeling shitty, just remember this.

You are feeling bad because you lack stimuli that makes you feel good. The easiest way to feel better is to create that stimuli for yourself.

Sing, dance, draw, paint, write, listen, hug, love, read, run, talk, think.

Do whatever you need to do gain the information you need to make your neural networks return to their default values. Once your network is updated you will feel good again.

Depression part 2

I like to work on hard problems because they are challenging The problem with working on hard problems is that they are really hard to solve.
 
Last year I spend a lot of time working on ways to build treatments for combatting depression. I figured it would be an interesting challenge.
 
I think finding better ways to treat depression is one of the greatest things we can do to improve mental health worldwide.
 
Here is what I think I’ve learned in the progress.
 
1. Mood is determined by everything you do but nothing else. Everything matters for your mood but I don’t think there exists anything else. The problem is that you aren’t fully in control of your environment so you might feel terrible and have limited control of what to do about it. When I spoke to a depressed LGBT youth in a arab country facing discrimination it was hard for me to find ways of helping the person combat depression because frankly, life sucked for them.
 
2. Mood seems to be related to information processing within your mind. Depression changes the lens you view the world so stimuli is more likely to be interpreted as negative. At the same time information processing can be used to overcome depression. Behavioural activation and physical activation is likely effective at combatting depression partly because a lot of new information makes your mind adapt a more positive view of the world by releasing neurotransmitters that improve mood. This in turn makes the lens we view the world become more positive so we get a positive feedback loop that helps us get activated.
 
3. There is limited information in negative stimuli. It might feel great to listen to a song that is sad when we are feeling sad or wear black clothing to reflect our mood. At the same these actions makes our mind accept that this is how things are which might not be helpful in the long term for combatting depression.
 
4. Technically everything that happens in your mind is only a reflection of the homeostasis within your body. If everything in our life is ok chances are we will feel happy. Most of the time sadness is caused by something being wrong. The problem is that there are so many factors that it’s easy to get something wrong. This means that if you write a beautiful sad poem when you are sad this isn’t a reflection of how the world actually is, it’s just a way of viewing it and the poems is your minds way of making sense of the stimuli you are feeling. This is the thing that I think trips most people up. Because a beautiful sad story is very compelling especially if you tell it to yourself. However you must understand that it isn’t the truth if you want to improve your mood.
 
5. Long term mood and short term mood seems to be connected. It is likely that sleep plays a huge part in this because we adapt our mind in our sleep based on our experiences during the day. So it is therefore good to limit negative stimuli before bed because it might effect your mood otherwise.
 
6. Many things that effect our mood might be unconscious processes. We might not often reflect on how our home, the media we consume or the people we interact with affect our mood, but the fact is that these are really important factors. This becomes tricky because how do you know how something unconscious affects you? I don’t think there is any easy answer to this question but I think being humble to the fact this is likely how things are might make you more open to noticing how things affect you.
 
7. When you are happy you are lying to yourself about the world. You are telling yourself that things will work out in the future. Of course this isn’t actually how the world works because technically we can’t predict the future. At the same time being positive gives us increased momentum that makes us able to shape the future for the better. When we are sad we are more capable of seeing the world as it truly is, but this isn’t helpful because we often lack the necessary motivation to be productive and move forward.
 
8. Genetics and the environment plays a part in how likely it is for you to experience sadness and depression. It is likely that you can think of the genetic components of depression as your mind having pre-formed roads that it is more likely that you will travel. These roads are what has been beneficial for you reaching this point because your ancestors survived everything to get here, perhaps by having a not so cheerful view of life. At the same time neural plasticity is a real thing. You can change for the better. However it is hard work. At the same time I believe it is productive for almost everything to keep trying because life is more fun if you’re feeling okay and there’s plenty of rollercoaster left for most of us.
 
9. Life is hard so I personally don’t see the point in inviting more negativity into it. I’ve worked with hard problems within psychology and once you work on things that are naturally hard you realise that the idea of celebrating darkness is juvenile because there is so much real darkness in the world you can spend your spend combatting. There is no information in darkness.
 
10. Teamwork makes the dream work. The great thing about other people is that they can help us keep our mood. It is much easier to stay happy with people around us who are supportive. It is much harder on your own partly because we are social animals. We need to interact with others. The tragedy is that sometimes we might have no one to interact with that makes us feel good. So then we are caught in a bad spot. Another bad thing is that in society we are forced to interact with a lot of people that might that makes us feel bad. This is just how things are.
 
11. It’s not your fault. Life is hard and unfair. There are so many ways that you can find yourself in a spot that sucks even though you are a good person trying your best.
 
12. Hold on. A lot of people from different directions are trying their best to try solve these problems.
 
 

Mental health

I believe that the way we look at mental health is simplistic.

The problem lies in the fact that in order to truly understand another human being we have to look at all the variables that has made a person who they are.

This include the persons upbringing, the culture they live in, their perceived status within that culture, their relative level of wealth or poverty, their current level of education and their own beliefs about themselves, people and how society does and should function.

This can be understood through the concept of comorbidity.

The fact that many who suffer mental health problems have a high chance of also suffering from another problem.

Many who suffer from social phobia also suffer from depression. This can be understood by the person fearing other people and not interacting with others and thus feeling sad.

But this can be understood in another ways.

I understand people who fear other humans. Because other humans might judge us for who we are and this hurts us even if the judging is non-verbal.

I have never met a patient who I couldn’t understand. I can retrace their steps and understand how they ended up  where they are.

The reason why people end up in different places, some are rich, some are poor, some are sad and some are happy are determined by many factors.

Two important factors are the following, privilege and trauma.

Privilege

The rich have the privilege to reject people and ideas they do not fully understand. Then they can spend their life thinking they are smarter then others. However I believe this rejection will always come at a high price. The lack of true happiness.

You will never be truly happy if you can’t understand that all people are equal and all struggle and where we end up is a result of both chance and hard work.

Yes you worked hard to achieve whatever it is you have achieved, but so did everyone else.

The fundamental unfairness of life is that some are born with a head start.

Trauma

Trauma is also important for understanding the world. Because the ones who suffer trauma might struggle to make something of their life because they can’t overcome whatever happened to them.

Most people are traumatised in some way, including you. The question is how this affects you.

Every person has the ability to be both good and evil.

It is this fundamental conscious choice that made humans the dominant species on the planet.

We can choose to self-destruct, to hurt others, or to be compassionate to ourself and others.

If we choice compassion towards others we feel good. This is also a way we can overcome trauma.

We can’t always help others but we can make them see that we do understand that the struggle is real. That life is unfair but we can help each other out to make it better.

These ideas are not new. They have been around forever. They have been the ideas of philosophers and people who govern societies.

To strike the balance between self interest and empathy is hard. Especially in a world driven by self-interest.

It is a dog eat dog world but we made it like that. So we can unmake it.

The value of noticing when you need a sandwich

Learn to understand that most negative thoughts come from the fact that our physical needs aren’t met. Your mind monitors your body to make sure that everything is ok.

When we feel sad or anxious it might often be because your body is trying to tell you that you need to fix a physical need. The problem is that it can only communicate through emotion so instead of telling you to get a sandwich you might experience sadness or being annoyed.

Before you start to worry, take a second and have this conscious thought.

Are all my physical needs met?

  • Would a glass of water help me feel better?
  • Would eating some food help me right now?
  • Am I too cold or too hot?
  • Am I breathing at a calm pace?
  • Do I need to spend time by myself to calm down?
  • Do I need to spend time with another human being?

Through practice and time it will become more natural for you to think about these needs and it will help you stay calm or happy.

Good luck!

Richard Feynman and human consciousness

Quote from 58:50 in the video.

Something that struck me that was very curious.

I suspect what goes on in every mans head might be very different, the actual imagery that comes when we are talking to each other. We think we are speaking very well when we are communicating but what we are really doing is having this big translation thing going on translating what this fellow said into our images, which are very different.

I fully believe that the reason that many people still look up to Richard Feynman is that at some point he figured things out to such a degree that most of the computations made inside his mind were correct.

This means that it is likely true that what Richard Feynman believes to be true about the universe and human nature is how things actually are. We can take his word for it and focus our energy on figuring out why.

The man invented the atom bomb and created the most numerically precise theory ever invented, Quantum Electrodynamics that explains the entire universe mathematically. It is likely that his theories of conciousness are also correct.

So his idea is that how we view reality is subjective but the very nature of languages makes it so that we hardly ever notice how differently we see the world.

I think one of the reasons we make art is to solve this problem. We make art to help give other people a glimpse of our view of the world.

Artists thinks it is really important to make art because they want people to see the world as they see it. Because they believe (perhaps rightfully) that if more people viewed the world closer to how they viewed it, the world would become a better place.

You can make an easy experiment that agrees with Feynman. Ask any person to make art.

What you will notice is that the art that every person makes (at least if they aren’t copying someone else and they can handle the use of the material) is unique. The art itself is likely a reflection of their lens of the world, their experience and their current state of mind.

The idea that the lens that we view reality is different for different people is strange to get your head around but it helps explain a lot of confusion in the world.

The only way that every person can believe themselves to be correct would be if our beliefs about the world shapes our perception of the world a lot. We look for stimuli that agrees with our worldview and it is likely that these stimuli are more likely to cross the threshold between the unconscious and conscious mind.

When I started making art, I started seeing art supply stores more. It wasn’t that there weren’t there before, it was that my mind had filtered them out because they weren’t important to me.

So the big question would then be? Is there a right way to view the world?

Yes, I believe there is. When I speak to great scientists, great artists and great engineer they all seem to view the world in a similar way.

Here is how they view it.

They believe it is more important to do actions that are beneficial for the entire human race then actions that are self-serving.

Because when we do actions that help the entire human race (produce art, science or technology that benefit everyone) the benefits are greater than if we simply use our privilege to earn money or help our own tribe.

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” -Kurt Vonnegut

The entropic brain theory

This is the best academic paper I have ever read. It is a working theory of human consciousness. It is awesome. You should read it.
 
Here is my understanding of the paper.
 
The brain filters your view of reality. This is hard to notice in every day life. However there are clues.
 
If you learn of a new word or concept you will notice that you see it more. This is most likely caused by lack of suppression within your mind. It isn’t that the new word is more common, it is that everything you don’t know is actively suppressed at all times. So there is a tremendous avalanche of information that your mind is actively suppressing at all times because your mind can’t handle the volume.
 
This is done because there doesn’t exists a proper system for sorting the information. Once we have a system for sorting information our perception changes. We can now sort the information so we don’t have to discard it. When this happens the stimuli becomes conscious within our mind. This might be because the sorting itself is a process that uses our conscious mind since the conscious mind is needed to guide the process of memory formation. 
 
With more knowledge you will see the world more clearly. I’ve been painting for a few months and I can tell you that this is an observable process (for me). If you know how to draw you will find the world more interesting. Shapes and color holds more information.
 
You can also gain an understanding of the world by using a chemical substance that removes the filters temporarily from your reality. We call these substances psychedelic drugs.
 
By using these substances you can make a scientific experiment where you watch the difference in the brain of people who are under the influence of the drug with people who are sober.
 
Since the drugs work by removing the filters of consciousness you can now form a scientific hypothesis of how consciousness works.
The hypothesis states that psychedelic drugs gives a human access to a primary cognitive state that is similar to how the brain filtered information during infancy. This is similar to other altered states cognitive states such as temporal lobe epilepsy,  REM-sleep and onset of psychosis.
This means that our normal cognition has a constrained quality where information is discarded without first becoming conscious. This constrained quality is useful for overcome wishful and paranoid fantasies and promotes realism and careful reflection. It also narrows our view of reality.
In the same way as some laws in society are not useful for increasing safety or improving society some constraint to our cognition might not be useful for our own ability to protect our safety or our own pursuit of happiness.
This concept of constraint can be seen on all levels of the world and can be used to compare concept on all levels. The US champions individual freedom over safety and is by far the most powerful nation in the world and houses capitals for both economy (New York), culture (Los Angeles and knowledge(Boston) as well as places where these forces meet (San Francisco, Silicon Valley.
Nations who constrain the individual freedom of its citizens to promote safety such as the socialistic Scandinavian countries report the happiest citizens on earth and are often ranked as the best nations on earth to live in with a combination of a high standard of living and a functioning social contract . At the same time they have higher rates of suicide and mental health problems because citizens who refuse to conform face immense pressure.
Is individual freedom more important than having a functional society that takes care of its citizens? There is no correct answer.
Magical thinking is an important concept within the paper and is more likely in primary consciousness. It is wishful thinking when an explanation that lacks evidence is used to explain a phenomena. The dark side of magical thinking is paranoia. Negative thoughts that lacks evidence.
All drugs have a potential to be dangerous because they might strengthen an individuals beliefs of the world. This is done irregardless if these beliefs are rational or superstitious and if the beliefs are wishful thinking or paranoia. There are legitime reasons both for legalising and restricting the drug use of citizens within a country. The best argument for legalisation or de-criminalisation is that negative effects of drug use are likely reversible if stigma is lessened and access to therapy is given to individuals at risk.
 
Because the theory is scientific it ties into the combined knowledge within the scientific community. This makes it possible for researchers in other areas to use this research to further our understanding of the human mind.
 
If this theory of the human mind holds true you can form a new interesting hypothesis. Many people already know how the human mind works. They might not fully understand that they know, but they can still act how a person person who understands the human mind would act. 
 
These are the geniuses of our time. The great artists, great scientists and great engineers who have formed the world we live in today.
 
The great artists and the great scientists are the kindest. Because they use this knowledge selflessly to try to teach you how the human mind works. You just need to listen.

The painter of light

the-burning-of-the-houses-of-lords
The burning of the houses of lords by J.M.W. Turner.

This is a painting by the British artist William H Turner. He is commonly known as the painter of light.

He was an extremely productive painter who never suffered from low mood. He also painted with light colours.

This is an oil painting I made.

themindseye2
The minds eye by Birger Moëll

I’m a fairly productive painter who is also a really happy guy. I also paint in light colours.

How light affects perception

It is hard to notice how color and light affects our perception and mood since it is a process that is mostly unconscious. There are so many variables to choose from when we think about mood that you are seldom wrong when you say that you are sad because you forgot to eat lunch.

The truth is instead that there are many factors that influence our mood. Everything matters. Light and color is just one factor. However to be happy you need to get most of the factors right.

Drawing with light is an important thing to get right because it gives you the power to create your own happiness. If you can create your own happiness you can worry less about validation from others.

Mood

Okay. So first off. Mood is a very complex and simple topic at the same time.

I tried to sum up some of my thoughts regarding depression. I hope you find them helpful.

It is sometimes hard to write things for a larger audience because we all have different experiences. I would never dream of claiming that overcoming depression is easy. It is hard. However it must be done. Extended sadness is not a good thing. It doesn’t help you and there are ways of overcoming it.

The most important thing to remember is to take one thing at a time.

This might be a long post but I didn’t want to cheat you by leaving things out. I hope my writing can be of help. Think of it as a work in progress.

You can think of your mood as the famous glass of water. It can be either full, half full, half empty or empty. Or anything in between.

Everything you experience is viewed through this lens. How full the glass is shapes your view reality. If you feel 100% everything will work out. If you feel 50% it’s okay. If it is below 50% you start to question your reality. 0% is the famous rock bottom. From rock bottom there is only one way! Up!

Calm is the feeling that you are correct in your computations of reality and there is nothing that you need to do. You can just relax.

Happiness is the feeling that you are correct in your computations of reality and you want to spread that energy to other people.

Sadness is the feeling that you are wrong in your computations of reality. This might be accompanied by a wide range of shitty emotions such as shame, guilt, disgust or anger.

It doesn’t matter why you are feeling sad. It isn’t a helpful emotion. You should do your best to make it stop.

In one sentence here is how to overcome depression.

Take care of your body, drink well, eat well, sleep well, exercise, experience more new things every day, view or make art, listen to music, learn science, interact with good people and be more compassionate.

The brain is hard-wired for compassion because it is the most useful way to live your life for the entire human race (even though it might not always be the most useful thing for you in a modern western style capitalist democracy).

When you give you increase the energy in the system. You give knowledge and love and even though you might not get as much love in return people can always use that energy to spread love in the system. So it improves life for everyone. Make sure to give the most to people who give love in return.

If you give a lot or feel fantastic that is awesome. However it is good to remember that your gains are temporary. You can think of Burning Man as a great mandala in the sand with 70 000 people all making an incredible drawing.

I believe a reason for the mandala is for the buddhist monks to remember that the state of being holy is temporary. It fades with the passing of time and the interaction with the world.

So you have to remember to do what is necessary to keep feeling good every single day. If you forget you will start to feel sad. The sadness might not pass. The only way to guarantee that your sadness will pass is to do things that make you feel great.

Everything you experience has a positive or negative charge. A happy song will make you happy. A sad song will make you sad. A black t-shirt and a cigarette are cool things but they will make you feel sad. You might not notice this but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

A sad song or a cigarette might make you feel okay for the moment, which is fine, but doing things that matches your mood when you are sad will keep you feeling sad. When you are sad it is important for you to break the mood. You need to go against your feelings. This is hard but it is what needs to happen.

You have survived millions of years of unbroken evolution to read these words. Your ancestors spread across the earth on foot. They survived unimaginable harsh conditions so you could be here today.

You have the strength to get out of bed and go take a shower and go out for a walk. The first step is always the most important one.

We sometimes forget what is needed to be happy. I sometimes feel sad and realise I forgot to eat food or drink water. Still I’ve spent almost a decade learning about psychology and the human mind. We are all forgetful.
That is why you need a buddy to remind you. I can’t really look to hard at my flaws without feeling sad, but a friend can help me by steering me in the right direction with love. Together we can look out for each other which helps us all become better people.

Every single person and every single thing you experience has the ability to impact your mood both for good and bad. If you do nothing you will eventually become depressed because of a lack of stimuli. If you are social you might become depressed because some people suck.

Finding this balance is something that good people struggle with their entire life. Richard Feynman (who’s widely considered to be the smartest man who ever lived) spent time drumming in the woods. Probably because he thought it was way more fun then spending time with people he couldn’t understand.

What is needed when you interact with others is to always respond with compassion. This means that you do your best to make sure that you both feel okay after you have spoken. You don’t judge or blame the other person because you understand that it will only increase their suffering. You should do this in all your interactions with people.

This is not the same thing as not speaking about hard subjects. I’m a psychologist and I can speak of most topics in this way. My job is to facilitate a safe environment where anyone can speak about anything and I respond with compassion. I help people cope with what has happened and help them find a way forward. The environment is not the room I do therapy in. The environment is myself.

There is nothing magical about me. The only thing that I have is knowledge. With knowledge you gain the strength of a true conviction based in science. This will help you when you are feeling sad because you will know that you are right.

It is right to be a good person. It is right to always be good to others. You aren’t confused. The world is.

Kopplingen mellan galenskap och genialitet

richardfeynman

Under 2015 arbetade jag tillsammans med Peter Hagström och Simon Kyaga på ett projekt för att hitta kopplingar mellan psykisk ohälsa och genialitet bland uppfinnare.

Under sommaren har jag varit i USA och där umgåtts mycket med min underbara vän Sam som gör en PhD i computational neuroscience.

Där har jag plockat upp idéer som har ökat min förståelse för mänsklig kognition. Utifrån detta har jag sedan själv klurat vidare och kommit med några hypoteser.

Detta gör att jag nu jag har en hypotes över hur kopplingen mellan psykisk ohälsa och genialitet ser ut.

Till att börja med har jag en teori kring kognition. I en mening kan den förklaras på följande sätt.

Kognition består i huvudsak av tre delar, humör, perception och erfarenhet.

För att bli ett geni behövs alla tre.

Vi behöver ett gott humör (för att snabbt få nya idéer), vi behöver en sann perception (för att inte lura oss själva) och vi behöver erfarenhet (med fördel all världens kunskap inom ett visst fält).

För att förstå mer om genialitet är det bra om vi studerar universalgenier. Jag gillar Leonardo Da Vinci och Richard Feynman.

Det finns ett citat av Leonardo Da Vinci som är spännande i sammanhangen,

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Leonardo Da Vinci.

Det är rimligt att anta att det som anses är ett tillstånd av stark eufori eller mani. Däremot blir det svårt att argumentera för att Leonardo Da Vinci var psykiskt sjuk. Istället kan vi nyansera bilden och säga följande.

Hur farligt ett tillstånd av stark eufori är beror på individens erfarenheter och bild av världen. Beräkningar sker snabbare när vi är glada så tillstånd av extremt stark lycka är användbara för att kunna bearbeta information i den hastighet som krävs för att bli ett geni.

Det finns vanliga tillstånd som kan liknas med mani som vi inte ser negativt på, brainstorming, flow, en bra semester och kärlek är alla liknande tillstånd.

Samtidigt är det naivt att tro att vi någonsin har 100% rätt och att det är enbart positivt. Vetenskap är kvalificerade gissningar och om vi är vetenskapsmän måste vi stå ut med att vi ibland har fel.

Om vi däremot inte har en vetenskaplig syn på världen och upplever stark glädje kan det bli farligt. För vi kanske känner att vi har rätt i allt det vi tänker men vi har ingen vetenskaplig grund för våra påståenden. Det kan dels göra att vi gör misstag när vi är maniska eller att vi drabbas av förtvivlan när någonting händer som inte stämmer med vår syn på verkligheten.

Rent matematiskt kan vi tänka oss att vi i ett maniskt tillstånd upplever mer stimuli. Eftersom all stimuli kommer in i vår hjärna leder detta självklart till fler beräkningar. Ju fler beräkningar vi gör desto större är chansen att vi kommer på någonting som är korrekt (framförallt om vi har en vetenskaplig förklaringsmodell över verkligheten).

Anhöriga med bipolär sjukdom

Om vi har en anhörig med bipolär sjukdom är chansen stor att de har mycket kunskap men eventuellt har svårigheter att fungera bra i samhället. En förälder med bipolär sjukdom kan däremot dela med sig av sin kunskap (vilken med stor sannolikhet är väldigt stor) till sina barn. Det gör att barnen har mycket kunskap vilket självklart är en förutsättning för genialitet.

ADHD

Till att börja med måste vi förstå att ADHD är ett påhittad begrepp. Det är ett sätt att beskriva ett antal symtom hos individer.

Jag har forskat och behandlat ADHD hos vuxna i flera år och det är tydligt att mycket av svårigheterna vid ADHD i själva verket är kunskapsbrister. Personer har inte lärt sig hur de organiserar och strukturerar sitt liv, hur de bibehåller uppmärksamhet eller inte agerar impulsivt. Detta är färdigheter som kan förbättras med hjälp av träning.

Jag tror inte att det är personer med ADHD som är dem som oftast blir genier. Utan snarare är det personer med ADHD som lär sig strategier för att hantera sina svårigheter så de inte längre har ett handikapp. På så sätt har de kvar alla styrkorna men lär sig hantera svagheterna.

Ett personligt exempel. När jag gick i högstadiet hade jag högsta betyg i stort sett alla teoretiska ämnen och godkänt i praktiska ämnen som syslöjd, teknik och bild. I dessa ämnen var det viktigaste att sitta still någonting som 14-åriga Birger hade väldigt svårt med.

ADHD handlar om hyperaktivitet, impulsivitet och svårigheter med att bibehålla uppmärksamhet. Hyperaktivitet kan gissningsvis kopplas till medfödd aktivitetsnivå.

Hög aktivitetsnivå är användbart för att bli ett geni eftersom du orkar göra mer saker. Ju mer saker du gör, desto mer stimuli får du in. Ju mer stimuli du får in, desto fler beräkningar gör din hjärna. Desto fler beräkningar din hjärna gör, desto större är sannolikheten att du kommer på nya idéer.

Svårigheter med att bibehålla uppmärksamheten är i sig inte direkt användbart för att bli ett geni. Däremot finns det en bakomliggande nyfikenhet inför världen som är användbar.

Personer med ADHD orkar sällan lyssna på saker som är tråkigt utan inhämtar istället ny information. Om den nya information som inhämtas är vetenskaplig så kommer det med tid leda till att en person med ADHD har mer kunskap än en person utan ADHD.

Jag har aldrig någonsin tänkt att jag har ADHD (trots att många insisterat på det motsatta) men jag har alltid försökt inhämta ny vetenskaplig information. Jag har läst parallellt under nästan hela min studietid. Jag har läst biologi och fysik på min fritid och jag har själv lärt mig programmera och måla.

Det är en process som hos mig drivs av uttråkning och nyfikenhet. Precis samma process som gör att en person med ADHD inte orkar lyssna på en föreläsning. Den enda skillnaden är vilken kunskap som inhämtas. Inhämtar du vetenskaplig information kommer du med tiden förstå mer än andra.

ADHD och perception

När vi försöker fundera kring mänsklig kognition kan det vara bra att komma ihåg det mest grundläggande. Vi är människor vars mål är att sprida våra gener vidare till nästa generation.

ADHD kan förklaras delvis som en vilja att gå tillbaks till ett naturligt tillstånd. Att leva som vi gjorde innan vi byggde samhällen. Detta kan vara fördelaktigt för kognition eftersom det gör att vi lättare kan se världen som den verkligen är (alla regler är skapade av människor) istället för hur samhället ibland kan vilja att vi ska se det (regler är absoluta sanningar).

En person med ADHD som tycker att det är meningslöst att svara på ett mail på jobbet har ju faktiskt helt rätt i det. Vi är djur vars funktion är att ha sex och föra våra gener vidare till nästa generation. Jobbmail är i högsta grad en distraktion från detta.

Jag tror att vi alla har kognitiva regler som styr hur vi tänker. Där kan vi tänka oss att barn inte har dessa regler i samma utsträckning utan fritt kan tänka hur de vill.

När barn går i skolan ger vi de kunskap men vi formar också barnen att ha kognitiva regler som styr deras tänkande. Du måste skaffa dig ett bra jobb. Du måste köpa en lägenhet. Du måste skärpa dig.

Problemet med dessa regler är att de kan styra kognitionen till en sådan grad att individen inte klarar av att forma tankar som ligger utanför de här reglerna. En person som är psykiater (hej Simon!) kanske har svårare att förklara varför människor trodde på häxor än en person som inte kan någonting om psykiatri.

När vi lär oss ny kunskap formar det oss och styr hur vi tänker. Vi måste därför se till att både ta in ny kunskap men ha kvar en nyfikenhet och en sann bild av verkligheten.

Personer med ADHD kan ofta ha vägrat formas av andras regler när de växt upp. Det betyder att de kan ha kvar en korrekt lins över verkligheten som liknar den som barn har.

De ser verkligheten precis som den är och förstår att mycket av det som pågår i den är relativt meningslöst. Rika män spenderar hela sina liv på att bli ännu rikare. Nästan alla andra människor arbetar på något sätt åt dessa rika män och hjälper de få mer pengar. Som tack får vi lite pengar så vi kan klara oss.

I already got the prize, the prize is the pleasure of finding things out and the kick in the discovery – Richard Feynman om sitt Nobelpris i fysik.

På samma sätt förstod Richard Feynman att mycket i samhället är sådant som vi inte behöver bry oss någonting om. Han kunde se verkligheten mer som den verkligen är precis som många med ADHD gör.

När vi kombinerar korrekt perception, en stor källa kunskap och ett positivt humör har vi ett tillstånd där nya idéer lätt kan formas.

Hur påverkar personer med ADHD och bipolaritet genialitet hos andra

Många med ADHD har viktig information som de kan sprida till andra människor. Synen på hur världen borde vara. Det är en kognitiv lins som används för att se verkligheten. Den hjälper individen att se verkligheten som den är och att hjälpa andra att också se verkligheten som den är. På detta sätt kan vi säga att vår personlighet smittar av sig på andra. Vi färgar andra med vår syn på världen.

Många med ADHD har helt rätt i sin syn på verkligheten och vägrar därför att ge med sig i detta. Det är bra. På det sättet kan de sprida denna medvetenhet till andra. De kan också förändra samhället till det bättre genom att vägra att gå med strömmen.

Samtidigt är det viktigt att förstå att många svårigheter vid ADHD är kunskapsbrister. De går att se världen som den är och vara produktiv och organiserad.

Bipolära personer hjälper andra lära sig mer på två sätt. Genom att göra andra glada och att dela med sig av sin kunskap. Vid ett tillstånd av stark glädje ökar förmågan till inlärning eftersom hjärnan inte behöver göra lika många beräkningar på negativa scenarier (allt löser sig!). I detta tillstånd kan individen därför lära sig mycket information snabbt. Denna information kan sedan föras vidare (vanligtvis till anhöriga) som får med sig kunskapen vilket förbättrar deras förmåga till inlärning.

Personer med ADHD och bipolära har varsitt verktyg som förbättrar inlärning.

Personer med ADHD har en mer korrekt lins för att se världen.

Bipolära individer har en förmåga att ta till sig kunskap mycket snabbare vid tillstånd av stark glädje och sedan sprida denna kunskap.