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Part 2: Dr. Huberman on the Function of the Brain and how we can improve our mental performance

By October 10, 2018 August 13th, 2020 No Comments

“It’s interesting, we talk a lot about mental health, but usually when people talk about mental health, they’re talking about mental illness. In thinking about mental health, we haven’t really defined what the parameters of  mental health are.”- Doctor Andrew Huberman

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This week, the podcast has the second part of an interview with one of the most accomplished neuroscientists in the world, Dr. Andrew Huberman of Stanford’s Huberman Labs. He joins Mark to discuss not only Qualia Mind but the entire field of nootropics in general.

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In Part two this fascinating interview, Commander Divine talks more with Dr. Andrew Huberman(@hubermanlab), a respected neuroscientist at Stanford University. They get into the practical application of neuroscience, and the science behind breathing, visualization and more mental work that are a very important part of the SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind programs.

Dr. Andrew Huberman discusses how neuroplasticity for adults is a trainable skill. It is a great deal more work than when we are children, but it can be done with effort and skill. They also discuss the value of nootropics and the importance of breathing practices and visualization for adults to be able to focus and learn in the same way that children are able to.

Listen to this episode to get a very in-depth look at the function of the brain and how we can work to improve our mental performance

Dr. Parsley’s sleep remedy was designed to help Navy SEALs to overcome some of the sleep challenges that they have as hard-charging individuals. Doc Parsley believes that proper sleep and recovery is absolutely essential to maintain our ability to perform at a high level. His sleep “cocktail” includes a number of supplements to provide our bodies with chemicals naturally produced by the brain to encourage sleep. Commander Divine is a huge fan and encourages members his tribe to try it out for themselves. Enter “unbeatablemind” at the checkout on  to get 10% off.

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Mark: I love it. So you’ve heard of the OODA loop?

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Mark: Boyd, who was a fighter pilot who developed the concept. Super simple concept, but it’s describing what you’re talking about. And I don’t know if a lot of people are aware about that but the OODA loop is observe, orient, decide, act. But the observant and orient is internal.

Like its internal control. It’s spatial awareness. It’s relaxed gaze. It’s seeing what happens in the four dimensional space around you as a result of either the action you took or what’s happening around you. The stress input, right?

And then orienting yourself to that mentally. Now in martial arts it might be you might be you know some sort of movement, or centering, or grounding that’s happening. If you’re in like a fight or something. For aerial combat it might be positioning the airplane slightly differently.

But then, the third is decide, right? And this is where you’re clicking back into focus and you’re saying “okay, based upon my observation and orientation, this is the next decision. This is the next micro-goal.”

And then you take the action. And then you immediately soften back into the observation orientation.

Andrew: And I think that’s the thing that rarely gets discussed. I’m so glad you mentioned that because I think people think “okay, you complete this four-step operation and then…”

Mark: What’s the next step?

Andrew: Then you just grab on and go. And it’s like, “no it’s the ability to reset.” Maybe we can add another thing to the OODA loop, though I want to give credit where credit’s due.

But the resetting back to the point where you can observe, that’s what I think is so fundamental. And what’s missing for so many people. Is they say “okay, I set this goal and I do this thing.”

And then it’s kind of like we always say like in martial arts… like don’t wait for the for the camera shot. Like you have to pull your punch back and move and start to observe again otherwise you’re gonna get clipped.

Mark: The way I teach this in unbeatable mind is you imagine an infinity loop and the left side is the realm of potential. And potential is all the stuff we’re talking about. It’s all that that happens on the inside, right? A human being’s potential is created, fostered, developed, engineered through those algorithms of how the mind works and how your mind body system is working.

And then the other side of the infinite loop is performance. Which is all external. So the whole realm of peak performance and leadership development and it’s all looking at the left side. Or depending on your orientation, the right side. That performance side. But no performance—or all performance is affected by the potential that’s generated by the individual or the team on the other side of the loop. And they meet at a very distinct center point right? And if you get… The better you get at training, shifting between potential and performance, the tighter that infinite loop gets, until it becomes a pinpoint. And it’s happening simultaneously.

And here’s a theory that I have and this is something that would be probably impossible to validate. But I believe that the human being can get to a point where they can be acting and recovering simultaneously. Where that potential and performance are happening on parallel tracks.

Not to say that you don’t still need to just do the recovery and the reflection and whatnot. And just act forcefully. But ultimately when it comes to performing at our highest level, it’s the simultaneous process.

Andrew: Yeah, when the operations that we’re talking about—so I guess I love this infinite loop notion because it’s repetitive. And I really appreciate the OODA loop and it’s saved lives, right? the OODA loop is extremely valuable. But the reset of the OODA loop is really what’s kind of missing in the OODA loop description as originally described.

So I think that when that process is fast enough—I think that when that algorithm is being carried out over and over fast enough, I can see how it could start to feel like and actually become a unified operation. So these are all neural circuits, like these are brain areas that are being activated in sequence. And just like learning how to hit a tennis ball off a tennis racket—which I frankly don’t know how to do well—the first few times I do it it’s going to have, you know… the trajectories and the arcs are gonna be different each time and eventually I’ll get it right.

And so learning how to iterate this more quickly and in different environments is really the key to training and I think that’s…

Mark: And there is no hack for that, right?

Andrew: And there is no hack for that. There is no hack for that.

Mark: If you’re gonna do Zen and these practices it takes time…

Neural Plasticity


Andrew: Right, I mean I guess it’s a question of what the benefit set is exactly. So you know… So neural plasticity as a child you can absorb information like a sponge right? The window for plasticity up until about 20 years old is remarkable. And you learn things passively. Words, language, all sorts of things. Contingencies, emotional relationships, etc.

At some point, adult plasticity requirements kick in. And the requirements for adult plasticity are very precise focus and attention. And this is played out through the cholinergic system that emerges from the brainstem. It’s like a firehose of acetylcholine on a set of synapses that are active around some contingency. Like if we gave some meaning to some event and we’re really gonna focus on it. And the outcomes are important you’re starting to shape neural circuitry around that set of operations because there’s a lot of acetylcholine being dumped at that location. Attention and acetylcholine are one and the same.

Mark: So do you think—can I ask a question in here? Do you think that it’s possible to train your mind to have the plasticity of a child again when you’re an adult? Or is it structurally…

Andrew: I love this question. It’s really interesting. So…

Mark: Because the concept of beginner’s mind comes to mind.

Andrew: To some degree. I mean, there are neural circuits that—fortunately like the ones that govern your heart-rate, etc.—that are hardwired. They can be modulated, but, you know, you wake up every day with your heart beating as a result of these hardwired circuitries. You’re not going to modify those.

It is very easy unfortunately or fortunately for survival purposes to wire in new fears and traumatic type stuff. Fortunately we have a storytelling part of our brain that can reframe those and leverage those.

I know you had Goggins on here recently. I’ve had the fortunate experience of working with him for a little bit on a… We were on a consulting project together and he is every bit as intense as he comes across in public. He’s remarkable. His intensity is remarkable.

Mark: He could use a little recovery time though.

Andrew: I doubt he would agree. I doubt he would agree. I’m not gonna speak for him, but…

Mark: I worry about him burning out, you know?

Andrew: I don’t know if burnout’s in his capacity.

Mark: He would say, “Better to burn out than to fade away.”

Andrew: He’s remarkable, but I think that there’s a… So the ability to enter in new traumatic experiences is always going to be there. But there is this idea—so that there’s never been a example that I’m aware of a human mutant that is hyperplastic their entire life. So anyone who could learn as well as they could as when they were a child. And so it’s unlikely to be a single gene or a single brain area or something like that. If it were, we probably would have seen the mutation and this hyper-learning person would be have been talked about or known.

However, there are certain individuals that have been discussed throughout history who have maintained an intense or a recognizable ability to change and evolve themselves in ways.

Now the one that comes to mind is the one that I learned about as a child because I grew up in a family with a scientist for a father. We didn’t talk about who won the Super Bowl. We talked about who won the Nobel Prize. And so Richard Feynman. The famous Dick Feynman was always discussed. My dad knew him, wasn’t close with him, but I heard a lot about him growing up.

He was remarkable. he learned… He taught himself how to draw in his 60s. Slowly, mind you. It’s not like he learned overnight. And he was into flotation tanks and he, you know he had his Nobel. Most people don’t even know what he did for his Nobel. I barely understand it. I think was quantum electrodynamics or something which I definitely don’t understand

But what’s remarkable about Feynman to me is his notion of curiosity and play. So I’ve spent some time recently thinking about like let’s put a more pointed definition on what those are and why they might be useful.

So curiosity to me is when you’re very eager or excited to know the outcome, but you are truly unattached to the outcome. You want to know, but you don’t even know what you want to know. Otherwise it’s not curiosity. Otherwise it’s something else.

Curiosity about the outcome tends to be—like real curiosity tends to anchor your attention. And leverage the neuromodulator systems like acetylcholine and dopamine that open plasticity. Likewise, play is this if you do it appropriately—meaning with high effort, but just below that kind of stress threshold where you feel committed to the outcome. And you can play competitively, but play and curiosity I think are close cousins in the brain. And when I say that I mean that I think the core algorithms and the neuromodulator systems that are involved I think are gonna are gonna be the same. I’d say neurotransmitters are the things that like glutamate and GABA that allow… They’re sort what allow neurons to have a conversation, kind of like we’re having a conversation.

Neuromodulators like acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin—they’re like the volume on the microphone.

Mark: Interesting.

Andrew: They adjust the volume of certain conversations. So imagine a room were there a lot of conversations. That’s your brain, okay? But neuromodulator systems are like someone coming along—like your sound and video tech coming along and putting a microphone between two people, and all of a sudden that conversation becomes the dominant one in the room. That’s how plasticity works and if that conversation carries on long enough and there’s the microphone so to speak the acetylcholine or dopamine system is there those synapses will last. That will be where recorded and kind of indelibly marked in for posterity.

Now what it means is that the child brain is probably bathing in these neuromodulators, but as adults they become less available. And this actually might be where nootropics actually become up a reasonable conversation.



I know we both invested in quality in the neurohacker collective early on. I did that because I was very excited about the nootropic space. I don’t think it’s for everybody, frankly…

Mark: For the listener, nootropic is a brain supplement…

Andrew: Right. A brain augmentation supplement. But I’ve long been interested in this space, because I think that I don’t think it’s a replacement for other sorts of tools. But I think…

Mark: Like food. Or ketones right?

Andrew: Like food, or sleep. Or focus. You’re right exactly. And I did a little bit of commentary on some of the dangers of nootropics as well as some of the benefits that was in the BBC recently. You can just Google at BBC nootropics or smart drugs I think you’ll find those.

And so there’s a lot of information out there and considerations, but I think that the most interesting ones and I think qualia mind was the one that I got excited about was—which is why I invested—which is that they tend to augment the cholinergic system. Now the cholinergic system is fundamental to memory. It’s fundamental to memory formation, and to focus. And it’s a system that can be pharmacologically tapped into. I think one has to be cautious in how they do it. The traditional way of doing this was tobacco.

Mark: No kidding?

Andrew: One of the strongest ways to release… So nicotinic receptors, there are two kinds of receptors for acetylcholine, nicotinic and muscarinic. Nicotinic ones are the ones that respond to things like nicotine which increase acetylcholine. So many writers and artists it was there was a hard trade-off when they realized “it’s either lung cancer or my ability to focus” right

Mark: So that which kills you makes you mentally stronger? That’s a new paradigm.

Andrew: Some very famous neuroscientists I know—whose names I won’t mention—chew Nicorette not just as a replacement for their cigarette, but it’s to enhance their ability to focus. I’m not gonna claim any double blind…

Mark: In nootropics, is there anything that has that quality like nicotine or is some of the substrates and nicotine in the nootropic?

Andrew: Yes, so some of the cholinergic donors that are in Qualia Mind and other nootropics for instance, will do that.

Mark: Interesting.

Andrew: And so I think that’s where people say “oh it’s just caffeine.” I don’t think it’s “just caffeine.” I think that the acetylcholine system is key there.

A lot of nootropics have mucuna pruriens, which is pharmaceutical grade L-dopa. Now I have mixed feelings about that, because I think the…

Mark: Like exogenous dopamine?

Andrew: Yeah, you’re taking L-dopa basically. And I’m not saying that’s necessarily bad. Everyone has to you know consider. talk to their doctor, etc. I’m not a physician. I always say I’m not a physician, so I don’t prescribe anything. I’m a professor, so I profess lots of things. You have to decide if they’re valuable or not. And if you want to do them or not.

But I think that the dopaminergic system is one that is so powerful right? Because this is what evolution embedded in us in order to get us to continue to do certain behaviors.

Whereas the acetylcholine system is the one that’s hard to access. Guys like you highly trained… And for that matter highly trained musicians, or academics or people that have a very pointed focus in life are very good at attaching their cholinergic system to a set of operations. What’s really interesting about the practices that you describing earlier that you’ve built around the SEALFIT Academy, is that they’re designed to be exportable. I have to assume that although you might want people to come back from time to time for refreshers, it’s not really about what happens here, it’s about what they take into the outside world.

Mark: Yeah, it’s what they take away and begin to use daily.

Andrew: Right. So you’re training algorithms. And the ability to learn those algorithms is intimately tied to these cholinergic systems. So attention and acetylcholine go hand-in-hand. Curiosity and play I think are the doorways through which most people are going to access learning, because they’re fun. They kind of feel non-pressured. And yet the growth is gonna come at the point in which something becomes difficult.

Mark: It’s like gamification of like language training. Like Duolingo is really powerful.

Andrew: Right. If it’s fun. I mean, people… What we know based on everything from nutrition science. Everything is… You know, a very well-known nutrition scientists colleague of mine recently said “it doesn’t matter how much science of nutrition comes out. People are gonna go ultimately for convenience.”

And actually I personally disagree. I think that as a culture we’re starting to become more in tune with long term health goals. And so likewise with the mind I think we need to be… We have to lock ourselves in a box, or go to Walden Pond or something ridiculous like that because that’s not feasible in this day and age. But to start to think about you know “where is my sense of play and curiosity coming from? What am I really curious about? What do I want to know? What do I want to cultivate and then how am I going to do that?”

And I think in doing that you start to open up that window for plasticity. So you asked, “Do we have that ability throughout life?” and I think yes. You just have to kind of get more of a crowbar into the door as opposed to it being really open. And then I think if you do these practices over time I really believe—and I’ve seen many examples of this—that the door stays ajar. So that you can almost sense when you’re in a learning mode and you’re starting to enter that learning mode. And I think the brain has this ability and it’s absolutely accessible.

3 Preliminary Things


Mark: That’s fascinating. So I’m gonna offer this up. You can see if you can push back on it. But to me like when I’m working with a beginner… Like, someone’s new and they say well just tell me what to do. Give me something to do. Three things.

And so my three things are brain health through nutrition—and when I’m talking about the brain we’re talking about fat and ketones and nootropics. So brain health. Get the brain healthy.

Second, begin to move your body. And so that could be CrossFit, it could be yoga, it could be Tai Chi. It could be burpees. Move your body and when you move, breathe deeply, and use your positive internal dialogue. Because now we’re getting into that body/mind state

And then the third is breath training—breath practice because as I said earlier the breath links the body, the mind and your deeper spiritual power. Which we’re gonna disconnect from any concept of God, because it’s basically what the intelligence… And intelligence is an energy… To combine intelligence and energy that infuses us. Which makes us conscious, right?

So I say move your body in the morning and box breathe for a minimum five minutes and do that every day.

Andrew: How long do you recommend people do the inhale-hold, exhale-hold?

Mark: Beginners a four count is probably perfect. A five count is… You don’t need to do anymore. It’s not like Navy SEAL underwater breath hold-training. And the reason the ratio is even—even count inhale, even count hold, even count exhale, even count hold—is that other ratios will have a different effect on you. And what we’re looking for is balance. What I need to do is bring people back into balance. Physiological balance will lead to psychological balance.

Then we can start… It’s like weeding the garden… Then we can start doing some work on the quality and the content of the mind.

Andrew: Do you suggest that people do pure nasal…?

Mark: Pure nasal.

Andrew: Pure nasal. Yeah. In controlled training environments, pure nasal. But out in the field… Let’s say if you’re walking around or something… If you can box breathe that’s great. You might exhale through the mouth. And then, you know, we shift to the tactical breath anytime our heart rate elevates. Which is just slow inhale slow exhale. No-holds. Cause it’s impractical right?

The tactical breath is taught in the SEALs. Box breathing is now taught in the SEALs.

At any rate, so those three to me are like the money, right? That’s the foundation. After you’ve done that for a year—you know it’s gonna be different for everybody obviously—then you can start to explore some meditative practices and visualization. Otherwise, if you start jumping into that, you’re just not gonna be able to hold your attention. you’re * gonna be uncomfortable you know everything’s gonna be out of whack you got to get the body mind back into balance first. Learn how to be able to sustain your concentration for a long period of time. And then you can begin to work with some of the deeper practices.

Andrew: That’s great I mean, I think threes are great and the simplicity of it. It’s interesting because recently we had a brain mind summit at Stanford. This is something that’s gonna transition between Stanford, MIT, Oxford and Cambridge. And it’s funded by the Rhodes Trust. It’d be great to get you out there at the next one.

And I talked about box breathing and I did credit you.

Mark: Thank you.

Andrew: And I was trying to explain, you know, it’s kind of interesting—breath work kind of sounds like meditation, robes and levitation. But as soon as I say “respiratory” to my colleagues and people in the medical community, I say “respiration work”—”okay now it sounds kind of physiological.” The same thing right?

And there are some caveats to this, but in general, as you allude to, anything that’s exhale emphasized right? Is gonna blow off more CO2. It’s gonna drive people towards more parasympathetic, relaxed states.

Whereas anything that’s more inhale emphasized is gonna drive people to more heightened arousal. And so box breathing is a perfect way to balance CO2 and O2 and get people into this kind of clear mindset. Because I think that a lot has been made of in the psychological space and also in neuroscience about emotions. And that’s great, and then there’s a lot to tackle in terms of emotions.

But they’re very subjective. But I think the two states that most people would like to be able to access are clear, focused and alert—so that’s one thing—so focused and alert. And asleep when they want to be asleep.

And there are tools, but if there were tools that could ripple out through you know all societies not just American society—where people could deliberately set their state through box breathing or better access sleep through sort of apnea-like breathing meaning not sleep-apnea but exhale emphasize breathing for instance. Teaching their body how to relax that way. I think you would do a tremendous amount to offset mental disease and you would greatly improve the baselines on most people’s life.

And so when you describe these three things to implement I love about is all of them are gonna have real effects in real time but I loved it and here I’m stealing from our friend Daniel Schmachtenberger at the NHC—he always talks to me about things that are either baseline elevating, baseline lowering or baseline maintaining. Those are very different than the kind of like a peak event and so the idea that there’s gonna be one thing that can shift everything, to me just doesn’t fit with what we know about how the brain works.

Which is not to say that the 40 years of Zen program, it doesn’t have value. Let’s just say what is the adjustment on baseline over time? So in the Bay Area the number one neurohack, I like to joke, is Burning Man right? Everyone goes out there once a year and then they work like crazy all year long. What about your daily practices in terms of resetting… Not even resetting but supplementing your creativity, supplementing your focus ability?

Daily Practices


Mark: The daily practices create this upward spiral of up-regulation or up-leveling right? And it’s never linear. Even like physical practices and tracking, you know, let’s say your bench press or something like that. It’s never linear.

Sometimes you plateau and everyone’s like “oh my god, I’m not….” all of sudden, boom, they take a week off and they have this massive peak or spike. But I guess my point there is it’s easy to track the physical progress you know?

But when it comes to psychological, or the mind, or emotional, it’s not so easy to track.

Andrew: That’s right.

Mark: But through journaling and through a self-awareness process you can begin to see that you’re moving along this trajectory, which is not flat. And nor is it in fits and spurts. It’s more of a transcend and include. And then you have a deeper sense of awareness, more peace of mind, more focus…

And you can note that that’s different than where you were six months ago. And then you may feel like “okay I’m just practicing, practicing, practicing.” And all of a sudden you have another transcend and include moment, where you’re just like “boom.” And these are experienced like paradigm shift or crystallizations or like a radical breakthrough of awareness or insights. And it comes in many different forms right?

Andrew: Yeah it’s interesting. There’s a lot of devices out there now you’re measuring brain waves and this and that—and I don’t want to be dismissive of any of them—but you know most of the stuff that’s designed to measure brain waves both research-grade and commercially available is very surface level. You’re not getting very deep into the brain where a lot of the more core emotionally related or autonomic arousal related processes are occurring. And so it’s not say they don’t have value, but I think that using an outward measure is great.

Because, like, okay, stress response hits for a real life event. You can’t prepare for it. That’s the whole point. So when it hits you know how quickly are you able to anchor yourself in that moment? Right? Are you… How clear is your cognition? I think those events are gonna come. So as I said you can’t prepare. But you can prepare in terms of your ability to navigate it, buffer it, leverage it, whatever it is.

And so you obviously don’t want to seek out high stress event necessarily. But measuring progress to me is about, you know, how many days pass in which I’m feeling on purpose? Meaning moving toward the kind of core things I want to accomplish. In which there wasn’t a major catastrophe. And if there was a major catastrophe that I used as an opportunity to leverage and move forward right?

And it does become a little bit subjective. I do think journaling is extremely valuable. I think there’s something just as there is machinery installed in the human brain—I have a close friend at UCSF who studies this machinery to generate human speech. His name is Eddy Chang, he’s an amazing guy. Records from the human brain while people produce speech. We could talk about that, very interesting work.

There are brain areas that have been installed in each of us to convert thought into written word by virtue of the hand or if you’re at hand impaired…

Mark: I agree with you. So that’s why it’s not−getting away from writing is a big problem.

Andrew: And drawing. So there’s a little bit of this coming out now about drawing. Even if you don’t draw well. About converting thoughts into 2D space, or 3D space. This is the first time in human evolution that humans have ever converted internal language to language with their thumbs. We’d never really been typing with our thumbs. This is new.

The digits on your hand were designed with a specific purpose in mind. And a lot of the brain is visual, but human beings have the widest variety of options in terms of how to move. So a cheetah can run fast and it can lie down and sleep and it can kind of do a cheetah trot… Whatever you call that.

But humans can sprint. They can jog, they can duck under things, they can dance, they can grab, they can reach, they can rock a baby, they can do an immense number of motor operations. There’s a guy out of Harvard right whose work I really love he wrote “Spark” —John Ratey—tremendously smart guy

Mark: Talking about how the fitness has a really profound neuroplastic effect right?

Andrew: Right. About how to use physical entry point to access plasticity. He really fits very much in what we’re describing here. And he has this other book called “Go Wild” which is not about returning to caves. But it’s really… What he argues is that the two most dominant drivers of human happiness in his experience—which includes clinical experience, a lot of it—are active social engagement and movement through natural terrain.

Which I find fascinating and so close to my own experience

Mark: You mean like hiking?

Andrew: Like hiking or walking down the beach or, you know, feeling what it’s like to walk in the soft sand or run in the soft sand. Or feeling waves, or moving through a park and just the visual flow component. And he and I have had a couple discussions about this. But in addition to breathing, I would love to see about, hear about people using… Starting to play with their visual system and seeing how that affects their mental states and arousal states. One of the ways that we know people can rapidly down regulate the stress response in real time is to just go into panoramic vision. What you described as “soft gaze.”

Mark: And this is how we stack some of these practices. So one of my practices, because I live on the beach, is to go for a beach walk with my wife. And you know it’s all beautiful Pacific Ocean and sometimes you know in the beginning there’s a little chitchat. My wife wanted to do little of that. And processing and stuff. So there’s the emotional connection. There’s a physical connection cause we’re holding hands. There’s the immersion in nature.

And so then what I’ll do… I begin to stack in box breathing and wide-angle vision and then a mantra. And so right there there’s a whole there’s the “I,” the “we” there’s an emotional connection. There’s the authenticity of bonding together in nature.

And, you know, there’s the visual stimulus, like you said, the constant flow of the beautiful imagery. There’s the mental control, through the mantra, so my mind isn’t distracting off on useless thoughts, or not important thoughts. There’s the breath practice. And then there’s you know walking barefoot, which is grounding. And so there’s so much going on there and that’s a simple, beautiful, 45-minute or an hour-long walk on the beach or in nature is profound.

Andrew: Yes and probably engaging more components of your nervous system that were there for what you’re designed to do then pretty much any other practice you could for sort of recovery and connection.

Mark: Right. And so it’s much easier to do that, than to go to a float tank.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean I love the notion of float tanks and cryos and things like that. And I think it’s great that people are thinking about this.

Mark: Sure. But anything that has friction… I even say this about exercise, you know? If getting to the gym is the friction point, remove the friction point, just workout at home. Your body has all the tools you know? Burpee created the Burpee as the ultimate exercise right? You got burpees, pull-ups, push-ups, squats, sit-ups, running in place…

Andrew: Was there a guy named “burpee?”

Mark: (laughing) That’s what I heard. I don’t know. We need to Google that.

Andrew: Poor guy took a difficult last name and transmuted into a good physical practice. The torture he must have put up with as a child.

Mark: Yeah, so remember if you want to you know float tank, I’ve done it. I did it six times I stopped. I was like there’s no way it’s worth my time to drive all the way to the float tank to do, you know, sixty minutes or more of silence. I can just sit down on my bench and get the same benefits.

But I had to train myself to be able to go there. I see why the flow tank could be useful for someone who hasn’t learned to do the sensory deprivation right? In yoga tradition one of the eight limbs, the fifth limb is sensory turning in, sensory deprivation. And so you learn to disengage your senses. It was your eyes—closing your eyes disengage the eyes. Close your ears off and disengage from sound. Close your olfactory senses… And that can be trained. Isn’t that interesting?

And then you can go really deep.

Andrew: The walking along the beach might not be something everyone has access to, but horizons are immensely powerful. Because they naturally draw the gaze into panoramic vision. And so you’re not gonna get this through your phone. I’ve thought about ways that we could create a device, but you’re just not going to. Actually and there so… Just to make the argument of how relaxing it is, I’ll just make the counter argument. If I want to stress somebody out, best way I can do it is to put them in a small confined environment for a long time where they don’t see any kind of horizon.

What ends up happening is you start falling deeper and deeper into your own internal autonomic response. It’s almost like that second sphere I was talking about before, like two tethers, or two spheres tethered together, start to collapse onto one another. And you know people sometimes get intrigued by these things, like the Bourdain suicide. “Why would someone kill themselves?”

Time, Space and Horizons


I don’t have any data to support this, and that was tragic as are all suicides. But the one idea is that when these two spheres of focus collapse into the self and the feelings are not pleasant, they’re losing ability to sense that there’s time beyond what they’re experiencing. So most people can tolerate uncomfortable feelings for a second. So you say “well, if you can do it for a second, why not a minute? You do it for a minute, why not an hour?”

And the thing about depression and suicide—not to make the conversation dark—but is that when people are in those states, they have this sensation—even though they have the knowledge it’s not true—they have the sensation that it’s gonna go on forever. Or that if they exit that sensation, it’ll just return again. So it’s the kind of “why try?”

The converse though is also true. So if you can start to move out that focus, you know, walking on the beach, focusing on things outside your head… and so get that balance kind of like your box breathing has the balance between O2 and CO2. Kind of balance between an internal dialogue and external events. That’s really the kind of relationship with the world that most of us want to be in. Where you’re not cut off from experience, you’re not like buffering yourself kind of like… This is why the word resilience is great, but it implies this kind of boundary between you know what’s going on.

Whereas, when you start to achieve the kind of higher levels of mindfulness and awareness it’s like being in concert with your environment. You can stay connected to self and connected with what’s going on. Then things can be pleasant or unpleasant, internally/externally and you can kind of learn to move through that. And again, this is sounding a little bit abstract, but I think some of the concepts that have been brought forward in the martial arts and in yoga… Like, “be like water.” I’ve thought “well okay, but was does that mean?”

I think it’s this idea that we can move fluidly through time and space. And that includes staying anchored to the self. There’s not the idea that you have to forget about what you’re experiencing. It’s just kind of what does it mean, how should I operate and being able to do that really quickly.

So I guess the point is that horizons are a powerful tool. I think that they are a power tool in regulating stress. Just as much as closing your eyes and focusing on a Third Eye Center kind of traditional meditation is a power tool.

Mark: This is fascinating, because what’s coming through my mind right now is a couple things. And I’ll try to link them.

One is, you know, some of the POWs right? So Admiral Stockdale is a great example in a solitary confinement environment. No visual of the outside world and what they did see was unpleasant.

And so instead of collapsing into that and you know experiencing the awesome shame and self-pity that was being forced on them, he turned to his visual capacity and began to imagine beautiful scenery. He began to imagine all these golf courses that he’d played on and replaying the holes and getting very good at. He imagined himself back in the classroom and retook all of his courses. Great recollection, right?

And so what I was thinking about is that—and I believe this too and I’ll describe a visualization that I teach—is that you can have that broad external focus, internally. And you can also have a narrow focus internally. And both are important.

And so this is important for anyone who meditates, because if someone says, “well the only way to meditate is to focus on the third eye.” you know, turn the eyes up a little bit and look for the white light around the pineal gland.

That’s great, but it’s also limiting. Because it’s going to develop that internal focus and you’re going to stop having the capacity for the broad focus. The broad focus is through visualization. So the visualization practice that we have we call the mind gym and we take people into a space that we claim is kind of a birthright. Because everyone, when we lead them into this space, it’s like it’s all of a sudden it’s there, right? It’s like someplace they had never been before, but they have a sense that they’ve been there before. And it’s always beautiful right?

I’ve never had anyone experience going into their mind gym and describing it as restrictive, or ugly or dark. It’s always this unbelievably beautiful landscape that has often mountains—mine has beautiful snowcapped mountains, and waterfalls—and we go there to visualize. To do our work. And it’s this expansive feeling—awesomeness, like grace, connection—profound. You know, I mean, again, how do we test this? You know, you can’t test someone’s visual capacity. We don’t have any instruments that can see what a human mind is seeing.

Andrew: Probably not. You can do brain imaging and everything we know about brain imaging says that, you know, if I close my eyes and imagine this immediate environment it’s gonna show patterns of activation similar to the real stimulus

Mark: It’s going to give you the objective…

Andrew: The brain is a slave to what’s given to it or what it produces for itself. I mean that that’s become clear and I think…

I love the notion of a mind gym. I think one thing that I’m realizing as we have this conversation is that being of healthy mind—and it’s interesting we talk a lot about mental health, but usually when people talk about mental health they’re talking about mental illness. But in thinking about mental health, we haven’t really defined what the parameters of mental health are.

We know what the physical health parameters are. We have a BMI—body mass index—maybe that’s legitimate. Maybe it’s not. You should have a certain level of flexibility or strength depending on the needs and of your life. And obviously you don’t want cancer biomarkers running rampant and these kinds of things.

But we have not defined what it is to be mentally healthy.

Mark: Yeah and to me I would look for things like contentment, peace of mind, non-attachment, right? The ability to—like you even said this earlier—to disengage from the outcome, but still be very motivated toward an outcome. How do you measure those? That’s the question, right?



Andrew: Yeah and I might add to those that you know like so what are the Burpee, push-up and pull-up for the mind, right? And it sounds like… And I love that… Breathing is certainly one of them. I mean, I think a little more in breathing. I mean to me…

I’ve spent a lot of time with Wim Hof I mean we brought him out to the Bay Area… Just as a friend, to the Bay Area and we did some talks. And you know, I would say Wim is like the Bob Dylan of breath work, right? He’s this phenomenon in terms of how he can access these states and bring people into these states. They tend to be more inhale emphasized… although there are long exhales… And I don’t want to destroy… They have great protocols and people know how to access those. That has its utility I think that breathing just as a basic fundamental right and tool that people are using… Let’s call it respiration maybe for more access… If it brings more people in, then we’ll call it that. I think has tremendous benefits,

Now full disclosure here, I consult for the lung health Institute. So, you know, they’re dealing with people who have breathing issues. I think they can benefit from breath work. But just typical people, right? And like this is like zero cost…

Mark: Sure. Free medicine.

Andrew: Free medicine. You can generate… It’s an inside out tool. It’s immensely powerful just switching to nasal breathing. Box breathing. These are absolutely power tools and then what’s lovely is that it can be done covertly.

Mark: Mm-hmm. Anywhere. I’ve be doing it this whole…

Andrew: Right. So no one has to know, whereas meditation the kind of idea… you can also do covertly, but by closing your eyes and retreating to a corner of the room or something you are taking yourself out of social engagement to some extent.

And the other thing is what happens when the stress response hits? You can immediately anchor in breathing. Some people find that easier to do than others, but it’s just practice if you can do any training then you can do it.

So you’ve been talking about this for a long time. So I want to give credit where credit’s due. But I think that breathing that balances O2 – and CO2—like box breathing—is something that I would love seeing taught in school. In the same way that they make kids run the track or learn jumping jacks. It’s a fundamental, God-given right—physiological right—and if you don’t do it well, you can reclaim your breathing ability by breathing more. So it really is powerful. And I don’t think we’re making too much of it. I think it’s that powerful.

Mark: And it’s got to be experienced. You know I mean? It’s hard for people to really understand, because like, “well I breathe.” so yeah. It’s true. You breathe.

But when you control that breathing and you do it in specific ways whether it’s Wim Hof or box breathing, then it has a very specific effect on your neurobiology right? It’s going to affect your physiology, then it’s going to affect your psychology, and it’s going to affect ability to connect deeper—like we said—to that kind of spiritual strength. Which is not even something that you know the brain neuroscience community is ever gonna really investigate, you know?

Andrew: No. Although… Not spiritual strength. although, my lab we do experiments on mice and where we can do very you know invasive type things of recording from neurons. But we also have a human laboratory where we use virtual reality to expose people to different fear states. Heights. Great white sharks. Real filmed experiences, not digitally created experiences or cartoons…

Mark: I’d love to experience that, by the way. I’d love to do that.

Andrew: Yeah, you should come up. I mean you’re a mutant based on your training and whatnot. So you’d be on a certain end of the scale in terms of the outcomes. But I think it’d be fun still to see how we’re measuring pupil size, breathing, heart rate and in patients that… Mutant in a good sense.

Mark: I appreciate that.

Andrew: Mutations can be… There are adaptive mutations and there are non-adaptive mutations. And I think your training is a self-prescribed positive mutation. Wow, that sounded nerdy. Count on the neuroscientist.

Mark: (laughing) I’m gonna go back “Sandy, I guess I’m a positive mutant.”

Andrew: Exactly. Well like the X-men right? The reason I love the X-men it’s all about mutations that give people you know super powers. Question of how you use them, right? But we also have a population of patients that we have access to through neurosurgery who for other reasons have electrodes embedded in different regions of the brain. So we’ve been doing first-ever recordings from the human brain while people are in virtual fear experiences, while measuring the body’s responses.

Mark: Wow. Cool.

Andrew: So to me the field of neuroscience—I’m hoping there’s me more of this. And we’re not the only ones doing it fortunately—I guess start to merge heart rate, breathing, brainwaves, direct recordings from… We have direct recordings from human amygdala in a patient while they literally have great white sharks swimming around them. Heights. We’re doing this in phobic patients. People with generalized anxiety. We’re always looking for subjects so if I may I’m gonna give a little plug to my lab.

This is not a personal endorsement… You can find us… You can email us or we’re on Instagram @hubermanlab, but that’s where we recruit subjects for these experiments. Your tax dollars by the way paid for this.

Mark: What kind of people are you looking for?

Andrew: We’re looking for people who have anxiety, and people who don’t have anxiety. Who have specific fears and who aren’t aware of whether or not they have specific fears.

Mark: Control groups are those who aren’t aware and those subjects who are have a deep phobia of sharks…

Andrew: That’s right or heights, or dogs or claustrophobia. And one thing that’s fun is a number of these are involved… Something I’m really interested in is task switching. So we put people through a setup—I don’t wanna give it away in case you come to the lab—where you’re in a situation where you’re doing a simple game that involves some cognitive control of putting out lights on a screen. And then suddenly you realize that you’re in a much more threatening situation than you thought. And the task of the experiment is to toggle back and forth between maintaining your safety and performing an operation. It’s critical. And while we’re doing this, we’re monitoring all your physiological responses because one thing that we want to get people better at is the ability to task switch.

Spontaneous Enlightenment


Mark: That reminds me of my Zen teacher, Nakamura. We used to be sitting in Zen—and this is actually, they still do it to this day—and you’d be there meditating and all of a sudden he would come you know behind you… Sometimes if you knew, you could feel his presence right? So you could be ready for it. But at first you wouldn’t have a clue.

And he would just whack you over the shoulder when this bamboo stick.

Andrew: That’ll wake you up.

Mark: Yeah and so the idea was… The Japanese concept was spontaneous Satori or spontaneous enlightenment that in that moment of “I’m in a completely relaxed, you know, kind of meditative state.” and all of a sudden “wham.” and your whole physiology, psychology radically shifts to a threat environment or to this like “boom.” Something else is happening here.

And it does something to the psyche where you have this quick—usually temporary—separation of sense of self right? And that experience of a deeper connection to like reality. Or to time… Time stand still. You know, all these things we talked about all of a sudden happen, right? And this is the moment that the Zen monk begins to realize—that’s why they call it realization—they realize that they’re not the thought. They’re not the thinker. There’s more to what’s going on in this human experience than just me processing this steady stream of thoughts.

And so now it reminds me of what you were talking about the two perspectives and the tether. We call it the witness so the Zen monk is immediately connected to the witness. Which is the pervasive, nonlinear, perceiving mind. And that mind can now watch the thinking going on.

Andrew: It’s super interesting. Time and space are so closely linked in the brain… So if my visual focus is on this cup, for instance, my spatial reference is the mug. But my time reference is also locked to what’s actionable. If I’m in panoramic vision, time is much more expanded, because space is more expanded.

And this is a real thing. You know this starts to sound a little bit kind of “whoo,” but it’s not. Because the way that the brain works, and the way the visual system works, is to set up contingencies. What’s actionable, what’s not actionable?

Mark: That’s why we can slow time down.

Andrew: That’s why we can slow time down. And so in terms of life events, I don’t think this is a digression, but I feel like it ties back into that your meditation with the bamboo strike in a moment… You know, I’ve had—as many people have had—I’ve had the experience, I won’t even call it the misfortune, but I had a close friend and colleague. Very famous neuroscientist actually, pass away recently.

I’ve had this weird thing about mentors—I’ll just mention this—my first mentor in science was this phenomenal guy, taught me so much about the brain—killed himself. And then my second mentor died of cancer at 50, and my third mentor died of cancer at 63. So the joke in my community is that like I’m the common factor and, you know, you don’t want me to work for you.

Mark: Yeah don’t ask me to be your mentor.

Andrew: I don’t say that to emphasize any of the tragedy, but I learned something very fundamental for each of those. So I already talked about suicide, but it made me intensely interested in suicide. How someone could do that, right? Someone who has so much awareness about the brain. Tells you something about mental disease. It also tells you about this collapse on the self.

The other two people who are phenomenal individuals—discussion for another time—both taught me something very interesting. Which is as they got closer and closer to death, they started talking directly to me about these incredible experiences. That all represented—the way I now reflect on them—as carving up time in finer slices. So they could really appreciate like the sip of a cup of coffee as this intense experience, and how grateful they were. And what I could see was happening, was the end was coming and they were starting to micro-slice time. Whereas normally I just think of, like “I think I’m gonna get home tonight.” so I don’t think about my cup of coffee in that same… There’s not this same meaning.

Mark: Trying to appreciate every moment.

Andrew: So the dilation and contraction of this time representation is directly related to what we think of as meaning and importance. And the value of everything and people. Because… So I’ve thought about this recently in terms of grief. And so I have this idea and maybe I’m crazy but here’s the idea…

So my colleague died and I walk by his office every day we haven’t hired someone new to replace him yet. You couldn’t replace him, but to put someone new in the office. And every once in a while I’ll feel this pang of grief. And it’s a sensation and I’m familiar with that sensation. Many people have felt this. And I started thinking about like “okay, I don’t want to overly intellectualize this, but what is grief? And why is it that I know, because I’m an adult that in five years this will be gone, right? It will be a different feeling.”

And I think I understand at least from my own process… Which is that grief may very well be the actual mental operations and physical… Let’s say nervous system. Mind and body. Of moving something that was once actionable, into an inactionable domain like memory. So if I have my wallet and it gets stolen I’m pissed, and I’m sad. I’m upset. It’s a kind of mild form of grief—nothing like losing a person—because it’s no longer actionable. I can’t just reach for it. And every time I want to reach for it, it’s frustrating. Every time I walk by Ben’s office and I can’t go talk to him about a scientific problem… And he was magnificent thinker and human being it pains me.

But it’s the idea that I can’t go in there, even though the office is right there. Now at some point, that idea that it’s actionable, will transition into the reality in a deep sense—because I know he’s gone—that he’s not an actionable figure in my life anymore. I can think about him, I can remember things, but the grief is gone and so grief… So I was thinking “why would the human brain evolve this? And what’s the utility of thinking like this?”

Well for animals, if one member of their species were to die, the worst thing you can do from an infectious disease standpoint is to actually interact with the dead body. What do we do? We get it in the ground, and we start to think about them as an inactionable character in our life. And we start to think about it more as a tombstone or as an idea or memory. Or ideally, you think about their life.

But you no longer think about calling them, or texting them, or writing to them, or hugging them. And that process of moving that over I think is what we describe as grief. And so I’m using this as sort of an example of what I would love to see neuroscience do for what we thought of as emotions which are very challenging. But also for positive states and accessing things and one reason why I think in this conversation I realize that one reason why I think that that science and military or ex-military communities are the ones who are going to be responsible for doing this. Is that science and the military are both great at putting protocol and language around concepts. So that more… It’s actionable…

Mark: Right. So you can teach it or train it…

Andrew: Right so how would you ever teach kids about what grief really is? So on the one hand you’re told to feel your feelings. On the other hand you’re told that, you know, this too shall pass.

Okay. So it’s all kind of muddled in language that is hard for most people to internalize. So I’m not saying that an intellectual understanding of something is designed to take it away. But I think if we understand what’s happening, we’re less likely to make bad decisions on the basis of it.

Mark: Sure. Yeah, I agree with that.

Andrew: Okay. So going back to space and time in a way that’s maybe a little more positive and fun. And actionable. I’ve long felt that if I want to get better at task implementation, I should learn to increase my focus, so the practice for that would be—and tell me if I’m wrong here—would be learning how to maintain a focal gaze of a particular location. Just getting better at doing that. And when you feel like you want to err off it, staying on a little longer

Mark: And that’s the beginning practice of Zen. Or, you know, staring at a candle. Or a Koan.

Andrew: So increasing focus…

Mark: Increasing focus and then increasing the duration. The quality of the focus, and then the duration of the focus.

Andrew: Okay. So that’s something I’m gonna take away from this, because that’s something I definitely can benefit from. Still.

And then the idea is that but maybe to get better at create being at ideas, then thinking about where those are pulled from. Ideas and creativity are actually pulled from the subconscious when space and time are kind of loose. So people will talk about… I have my own thoughts, and I’m not crazy about the psychedelic craze as it stands now. We can talk about why that is.

Mark: Into and out of sleep as well.

Andrew: Into and out of sleep. The transition phases as well. Absolutely. Those early phases.

As well as maybe panoramic states in which you’re kind of just taking everything in and you’re not so focused on a fixation point. Our practice is to cultivate in order to generate more creativity, because in that mode, space and time are fluid and you can create new contingencies.

Mark: Interesting.

Teaching the Wrong Things


Andrew: And then the last thought tied to this is that not only are we not taught to do the sorts of things that you teach at the academy—but it’s great that there are tools that are now available to people—but we’re actually taught to do the opposite. So the first thing that happens when you’re a baby is you’re hungry, or you have to go to the bathroom, or whatever it is… But the baby doesn’t know hunger. It just senses anxiety. It feels autonomic arousal. It’s not even anxiety, doesn’t even know what anxiety is.

And then it cries, or whines, or fidgets, and then all of a sudden breast milk or bottle milk is presented to it. So the first contingency we learn is outside-in is the solution. The first contingency. It’s like the first learning rule. And it’s tied to our survival.

It’s like “okay, I feel anxious. I don’t feel good. I don’t feel good. I make a noise and then the relief comes from the outside.”

Mark: (laughing) hard to teach a baby box breathing. “Just breathe.”

Andrew: Exactly. Well, I don’t have kids but if I ever have kids, its gonna be one of the first things I teach them. I promise that. Because I think that one thing that we need to start doing is cultivating these inside-out tools. Because in tribal communities it makes sense. The baby can’t go and access its own nutrition, or nutritional supply so it has to do that. But at some point in life I think becoming an effective human being is about learning these inside-out tools.

And the tools are there. You’re describing them. And they’re related to these space-time relationships. And the ability to kind of open your toolkit and select. Put back that tool and select another tool. Now you’re really talking about moving into spheres of kind of elite performance.

And here we’re not even talking about sport, military, academia, music, poetry. We’re talking about everything… Parenting… Everything.

So I have to say that I think the algorithms that you’ve hit upon are fundamental and I think that there are brain mechanisms that can support them. I think science’s job is going to be to provide data where it’s useful—but, for instance, I don’t think we need another study showing that meditation shifts the brain. The question is “what aspects of meditation shift the brain in the directions that we want to go?” more plasticity, more focus, more creativity. And that’s really the responsibility of my field and mine colleagues. And the newer generation coming in fortunately as it has been exposed to a lot more in the kind of mindfulness space and physical augmentation space for that matter. That they’re thinking about it.

So I don’t think we’ll ever actually understand how the brain works. Like “oh and the answer is…” you know. It doesn’t work that way, because it’s dynamic.

Mark: Too complex.

Andrew: It’s dynamic. But the algorithms I think are universal. And so you can tell I’m sort of like getting… I’m excited because when I have a conversation like we did today I feel like the algorithms are starting to surface. And creating a common language is going to be very useful. And anyway I’m just expressing my own excitement for what you guys have done and for what’s emerging in this space. And the next generation is coming and they’re gonna have tons of ideas too.

Mark: Yeah right. They’re gonna assimilate right? And transcend and include. And basically we’ll be obsolete and that’ll be a good thing. Our work is done.

Andrew: Right. Well hopefully they’ll credit people properly. And hopefully what they’ll eventually realize is that the brain hasn’t evolved right? To do many more new things in the form of these computations, it’s applying the same algorithms to different things.

But anyway. I realize that I start speaking louder when I get excited. But it’s a genuine excitement that we’re in this discussion, and that people are accessing these kinds of discussions. And I always am curious to hear about other people’s insights. Every once in a while someone will come up to me at a meeting or will write to me, and I’ll think “wow, you know that’s something truly unique and different that I hadn’t thought of.” because I think the pallet of choices out there about how to shift one’s state are now pretty vast.

I mean just like the pallet of ways to… You can tire flip, you can do CrossFit, you can run, you can swim, you can do… There’s so many tools out there, but the fundamentals that they all supply are really what it’s about. And likewise in the kind of cognitive neuroscience space.

Mark: And what I love too for me the future is like okay, so if general population is starting to come back into balance and starting to do some basic training around body/mind health, and breathing, and visualization.

Then the next fear is to begin to tap some of the untapped potential that we haven’t even talked about yet. You know what I mean? Like some of the extraordinary possibilities that I think the human mind has. And that’ll be a future discussion you know?

And then we got the intersection of AI and, you know?

Andrew: That’s wild.

Mark: Enmeshed networks, neural networks, right? What is that going to look like? I think the next 20 years are extraordinary. So it’s important for everyone to kind of up-level their mental operating system, both physically, you know, through proper nutrition and sleep. And you know nootropics.

But also through these practices, like we said. And to understand it from the neuroscience standpoint. So it’s all critical.

But that’s just the beginning. That’s to provide the foundation to kind of leap into what I consider to be a next evolution of what it means to be human. Because technology is gonna do that for us anyways, and if we don’t up-level, you know, we’re gonna get buried. Or we’re gonna destroy ourselves.

Andrew: Yeah we’ve certainly created enough things to make us suffer. It’s kind of you know a half joke that you know we’re now creating technologies to buffer us against the technologies that we’ve built. Okay, so be it.

But we’re still in choice, I guess to use the kind of workshop language, you know. We’re all in choice and the great thing about the mind stuff—just like physicals we were talking about before we started—with a wall and a floor and gravity, you can give yourself a great physical workout. And just with the inner workings of your mind, you can do so much. You know, breathing, visual system these things help. But it’s all there. I’m super excited to see where things lead and because of that…

The great thing about YouTube and podcasts and the digital space is that this information is wicking out further all the time. And that means we’re gonna access the people that really are… We would have not otherwise accessed.

Mark: You know, I think the next frontier would be virtual—like your experience with virtual reality—but it’s you know it’s in a controlled environment. But when everyone can have virtual reality we can start to embed or develop some holographic training programs that, you know, can plug people into a new state immediately.

Andrew: Really feel like we’re all in the same room.

Mark: Yeah, begin to train focus and train awareness through deep, immersive three or four D environment—I guess four D would be where the time comes into play. That’s gonna be interesting right? That’s coming quickly.

It’s like the constructor or the matrix or the holodeck concept, you know?

Andrew: It’s super exciting. And it’s so interesting to see how these communities around neuroscience, and military, and ex-military, and athletics and how they’re all converging on the same common set of goals. I think people all deeply want the same thing and it’s that feeling of “wow, I didn’t realize I have that superpower. But now I have it.”

And in that sense really seeing new opportunity and that’s super exciting to me.

Mark: I agree.

Wow. I think we’ve been going for a little while here. Probably should wrap this up. It’s been amazing conversation, Andrew, so thank you so much for your time.

Andrew: Thank you. Thank you, it’s been a pleasure…

Mark: Tell us where… Tell the listeners where they can learn more about your work and the studies… Do you have a webpage and all that?

Andrew: Yeah. So I’m pretty easy to find. If you Google my name, Andrew Huberman, what you’ll find is my lab webpage first which is That describes the people in my lab and the things that we do. The range of things—I didn’t talk today—but we run clinical trials for optic nerve repair and glaucoma. And things of that sort.

So there’s a lot there as well as the fear, courage and plasticity work. And then we have an Instagram. Which is @hubermanlab, where I post information both about the work that we’re doing, but also what I find to be some of the exciting work in neuroscience around plasticity, pain management… Some actionable stuff. Just pulling from the papers that come out. It’s not always accessible in the language that it’s written, and so I try and convert it into language that is accessible to everybody.

And in either of those places you’ll find contact information where if you’re interested in being in our studies that would be great. The science thanks you, I thank you, if you decide to do that. And even if you don’t.

So those are the two major entry points if you want to learn more about what we do. And I just also want to thank you for this opportunity to be here. I know your programs. I have tremendous respect for what you’ve done and what you’re doing. And this has been immensely stimulating for me. So thank you so much.

Mark: You’re welcome and thank you. And I look forward to getting up to San Francisco. Now that my son’s going to school up there it’s a no-brainer, so to speak.

So I want to come visit your lab and be immersed with the sharks.

Andrew: Terrific.

Mark: And you can poke and prod me. See if I’m human. (laughing) My nickname in the SEALs was cyborg so the jury is still out.

Andrew: There you go. But we’ll figure it out one way or another. We’ll take the measurements.

Mark: Awesome. Well thank again. And you folks thanks for listening. Like I said it’s always an honor to have your attention. So stay focused and relax the gaze on occasion and train hard. We’ll see you next time.


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