Brain Structure Mirrors the Universe

Neurons in a mouse brain vs a simulated image of the universe.

ONE IS ONLY micrometers wide. The other is billions of light-years across. One shows neurons in a mouse brain. The other is a simulated image of the universe. Together they suggest the surprisingly similar patterns found in vastly different natural phenomena.

Mark Miller, a doctoral student at Brandeis University, is researching how particular types of neurons in the brain are connected to one another. The image [on the left] shows three neuron cells on the left (two red and one yellow) and their connections.

An international group of astrophysicists used a computer simulation last year to recreate how the universe grew and evolved. The simulation image [on the right]  is a snapshot of the present universes that features a large cluster of galaxies (bright yellow) surrounded by thousands of stars, galaxies and dark matter (web).

What struck me about this is not the similarity between neuron and universe, though it’s striking — rather it’s the continuity of parallels one finds whenever one looks into the structures of nature.

From Hermetics to the Tao of Physics — A Universe of Parallels

“As above, so below,” goes the Hermetic belief — “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing”. In Eastern thought, this idea is often paraphrased as “As is the microcosm, so is the microcosm.”

I first came across these concepts in my reading of Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics, which opened the eyes of many in the west — and helped spawn the New Age movement — by detailing the close, often uncanny parallels between Eastern, metaphysical cosmology and the furthest reaches of western, theoretical physics.

While derided by some scientists as superficial and misleading, Capra had his allies among the luminaries of physics. Interviewed by Renee Weber in the book The Holographic Paradigm, Capra describes his discussions with Werner Heisenberg:

“I had several discussions with Heisenberg. I lived in England then [circa 1972], and I visited him several times in Munich and showed him the whole manuscript [of The Tao of Physics] chapter by chapter. He was very interested and very open, and he told me something that I think is not known publicly because he never published it. He said that he was well aware of these parallels. While he was working on quantum theory he went to India to lecture and was a guest of [poet Rabindrinath] Tagore. He talked a lot with Tagore about Indian philosophy.

“Heisenberg told me that these talks had helped him a lot with his work in physics, because they showed him that all these new ideas in quantum physics were in fact not all that crazy. He realized there was, in fact, a whole culture that subscribed to very similar ideas. Heisenberg said that this was a great help for him. Niels Bohr had a similar experience when he went to China.”

Subjective and Objective, Physiology and Veda

My own explorations on the subject have come not from the objectivist tradition of western science, but rather from many years practicing meditation and studying the consciousness-centered paradigm explored by the Upanishads and other Vedic literature. I have also seen some very interesting conversations between Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and leading scientists such as Nobel laureate and “human thermodynamics” pioneer Ilya Prigogene.

Over the course of his career, Maharishi pushed to validate the subjectively derived insights of meditation through western science, and to ground the discoveries and theories of physics, chemistry and biology into Vedic structures of reality. Maharishi later commissioned MIT research physician Tony Nader to locate the entire structure of Vedic literature in the brain physiology and central nervous system, which Nader published as Human Physiology: Expression of the Veda and Vedic Literature.

In one of the more fanciful sections of the book, Nader even finds a close resemblance between the shape of the hippocampus—responsible for memory forming, organizing, and storing—and images of the elephant-headed god Ganesh.

In the Chinese tradition (to pick almost at random from the analogs found in the mythos of ancient civilization) physical and mathematical structures like chaos seem clearly laid out, as well:

Chaos is the supreme ideal of Taoism. Chaos is wholeness, oneness and Nature. Chaos represents the natural state of the world. Digging holes on the head of Chaos means destroying the natural state of the cosmos. Therefore, to the ancient Chinese people chaos not only has the meaning of disorder but also presents a respectable aesthetic state. This idea of chaos may be very different from its western counterpart.

(From “A Brief History of the Concept of Chaos”—Huajie Liu, Dept of Philosophy, Peking University)

Given all of which, it should hardly be surprising that a neuron (microcosm) should resemble the universe (macrocosm). While modern science has been a little slow to concede the chain of parallels, one can almost see the ancient rishis rolling their eyes and saying, “Duh!”

—David Constantine

Source: | Originally from the New York Times

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  1. You are looking at gravitational worlds, they are moving or changing the orbit with their all family members depending on the nuclear of each other, yet I am looking infinitesimal universe i.e. universe case is- in molecule You are looking- big space/universe yet- I am looking that the case is between the brains i.e. Brains or dark energy and reflected power of very brain is the result of this universe

    The most important tale is: History of the universe or case is early and imagination or Copy such like- Digital Universe Amazing facts about the Universe can be found at

  2. Eric Zimmerman /

    I would like to propose another theory as to what and where we are in the universe. Your pictures up there have a related shape to each other. Think of our universe as the higher intelligence’s brain, and we are only a figment of its imagination. You know how you can control your own thoughts and reactions? Same thing; our higher power has everything planned out for us, because if you think about it, controlling a situation and knowing what is going to happen next is what you can do in a regular human brain.

    • Christopher Watts /

      I would like to submit the following circumstantial evidence as possible further understanding of your theory and it’s deeper meaning. Take the life span of any living creature we know of and compare it to the understood time of the universe’s existence. It could be considered in direct correlation to the firing of a typical brain synapses in relation to the life span of a human.

      If you consider this, along with the other data presented, one could come to the idea that we are nothing but a thought in the mind of a higher power. This idea could be the bridge that spans the gap between the religious belief of God’s creation of all things and the Theory of Evolution.

      It could also further support M and String Theories of multiple universes and alternate dimensions if you think of them in the scope of ideas in the mind of a higher being. Also there is the whole “God created man in his image” which could explain the similarities shown in this article, and the “1000 years is to a day” to understand the timeline for evolution and the “six days of creation”.

      It all leads me back to the same idea that we are but thoughts of the universe, trying to figure it self out.

  3. “Location of oneself is the present, and all other remaining places have dived inside the deeper parts of the past of all.” That is to say: Our home planet is present before us, likewise, just at this time, it is again submerged into the depth or the past from another place in space. In these circumstances the brain’s dark energy or the reflected power of the brain is the result of yours universe. See more.


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