Understanding of the first principles (and implications) frees one from memorizing all the irrelevant details.
Same input - same output. Always.
The universe is possible because something in it (or behind it) has determinism. This principle manifests itself in "concrete" atomic structures, which are the basis of life and in abstract math, where abstract numbers reflect actual (given) notions of the universe.
The law of Karma or the law of Causality
Everything happens because particular conditions were meet. It happens "naturally" - when you have free
Os, appropriate temperature and pressure you will have water. Same govern ecosystems, systems and machines.
Reduction to What Is
It is not a chance that neurons have many dendrites and only one axon. Reduction to What Is - is the universal principle. In order to evolve an adequate representation of reality (a pattern matcher) the flow must be "from particular to general" - a reduction.
Propagation, flow, unfolding
Propagation is another fundamental principle - it is behind the notion of a sequential process (or actually any process). The intermediate result is used as an input for the next stage, given that ultimately there is no stages or intermediate results. Brain works this way.
Given just that everything falls to its places. Even monads in Haskell which are merely an ADT abstracting out a single step of a propagation, to introduce determinism in otherwise stochastic system (lazy evaluation).
Neural networks, which are merely a signal propagation through a structure of certain shape, etc, etc.