Religion and science often seem like two opposites, but sometimes they appear to overlap. For example, philosopher and scientist Evan Thompson discovered a link between the functioning of the brain and some beliefs of Buddhism.
Buddhists believe that everything is constantly changing. They call this realization ‘anicca’. Because nothing remains the same, nothing can belong to anyone. Everything is without possessor. According to Buddhism, people are also in constant change. It means that according to ‘anicca’ we cannot be ‘owners’ of ourselves. In other words, there is no fixed ‘ego’ or ‘I’. This ‘selflessness’ is called ‘anatta‘.
This Buddhist belief has a major impact on our self-image: when we are in a constant stream of change, we are always a different person. Evan Thompson linked this theory to some contemporary scientific discoveries. According to neuroscience, the body and brain are indeed made up of a constantly changing flow. So science came to the same conclusion many centuries later than Buddhism.
The reality that there is no fixed ego can be liberating, according to Thompson. After all, people should no longer be held back by the entrenched idea they have about themselves. Their possibilities are endless. Neuroscience is convinced that people can change their own brain by training it. We can decide for ourselves how we grow, evolve, and in which areas we improve ourselves. In scientific terms, this is called neural plasticity. This discovery is also not new to Buddhists. After all, almost all of the religion revolves around being able to train the mind to do and think good.