This explains why, despite the need for repetition in order to create “neuronal highways”, it is possible to be immediately awakened, as in becoming an “instant Buddha”. When we reach this state of enlightenment by awaking the supraconsciousness, the brain instantly creates huge networks of tiny connections and their numbers and intensity compensate for their small size. Almost all the brain becomes enlightened (and the word is perfectly adapted as the neurons fire up). You can compare it to billions of tiny roads instantaneously going in the same direction allowing infinitely faster and greater flow of cars than the largest highway.
Last year, neuroscientists used a classic branch of maths in a totally new way to peer into the structure of our brains.
What they discovered is that the brain is full of multi-dimensional geometrical structures operating in as many as 11 dimensions.
We're used to thinking of the world from a 3-D perspective, so this may sound a bit tricky, but the results of this study could be the next major step in understanding the fabric of the human brain – the most complex structure we know of.
This brain model was produced by a team of researchers from the Blue Brain Project, a Swiss research initiative devoted to building a supercomputer-powered reconstruction of the human brain.
The team used algebraic topology, a branch of mathematics used to describe the properties of objects and spaces regardless of how they change shape.
They found that groups of neurons connect into 'cliques', and that the number of neurons in a clique would lead to its size as a high-dimensional geometric object (a mathematical dimensional concept, not a space-time one).
"We found a world that we had never imagined," said lead researcher, neuroscientist Henry Markram from the EPFL institute in Switzerland.
"There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to 11 dimensions."
Just to be clear – this isn't how you'd think of spatial dimensions (our Universe has three spatial dimensions plus one time dimension), instead it refers to how the researchers have looked at the neuron cliques to determine how connected they are.
"Networks are often analysed in terms of groups of nodes that are all-to-all connected, known as cliques. The number of neurons in a clique determines its size, or more formally, its dimension," the researchers explained in the paper.
Human brains are estimated to have a staggering 86 billion neurons, with multiple connections from each cell webbing in every possible direction, forming the vast cellular network that somehow makes us capable of thought and consciousness.
With such a huge number of connections to work with, it's no wonder we still don't have a thorough understanding of how the brain's neural network operates.
But the mathematical framework built by the team takes us one step closer to one day having a digital brain model.
To perform the mathematical tests, the team used a detailed model of the neocortex the Blue Brain Project team published back in 2015.