The present doesn’t exist, it’s just a matter of cultural convention. There is only the future and the past. We agree that as long as we speak it is the present. Not so in fact, in Physics, in Neuroscience and even in our brain. The brain’s job, having no actual present, is to constantly guess the future. Every second he has to guess the most likely future.
Why? The role of the organ called the brain – that’s why brains appeared, at a certain point in the evolution of species – is to coordinate the rest of the organism, in the most convergent way possible, to prepare it for any change, in the evolution of the environment, because in this way he can adapt more easily, he can defend himself more easily.
The “trick” that Nature discovered is to constantly simulate possible future variants, depending on the experience you have already accumulated, regarding various types of situations.
Every cell in the body does this. That’s why we are more disturbed that the temperature suddenly changes or that we don’t have enough light outside, etc. So that’s what every cell does anyway, but the neurons have the role of coordinating this whole orchestra and they do it best.
That is, they are the only ones capable of making complex simulations, looking into the future. I do it all the time automatically, unconsciously. Sometimes I do it consciously, that we make plans, about what to do tomorrow, in several ways, but that takes up very little, in percentage terms. Otherwise, most of the energy that the brain consumes, both when we sleep and when we are awake, is to make future simulations.
When we walk down the street, the brain kind of knows what can happen to it on the street, especially if the street is familiar. It permanently generates the continuation, in the next second, of the street where we are walking. Anything that doesn’t match his simulation is what’s called a “prediction error” and is MEMORABLE because it defines a new model of normalcy. “That wasn’t here yesterday”. I mean, it’s not, according to the plans, normal. That automatically turns on that targeting network, SALIENCE.
Anything that generates a prediction error in our head, compared to our habit, automatically turns on that network. From basic things like color, light, movement, shimmer, to the more complex things like a SCREENYO!