Monday, October 11, 2010

Proust Was a Neuroscientist

Jonah Lehrer argues in Proust Was a Neuroscientist that Proust, along with eight other artists, made discoveries about the brain that took science decades to catch up with. In Proust's case, that memory is a process, not a repository. We don't remenber an event, we only recall the memory, so it's never quite accurate. Lehrer explains both the artistic and scientific concepts in such a way that anyone could understand. The book first examines the poet Walt Whitman, who saw the mind and body as inseparable. George Eliot, the novelist who believed human freedom arose from our ability to change, comes next. My favorite chapter was about Viginia Woolf, whose Clarissa Dalloway can't really hold a thought for more than a second, which is totally normal brain activity, a fact that made me feel better about my own scattered thoughts.

For further reading, 2010 books about neuroscience:

Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships
Curt Thompson

Bursts: the Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do
Albert-László Barabási

The Male Brain
Louann Brizendine

Neurodiversity: Discovering the Extraordinary Gifts of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Brain Differences
Thomas Armstrong

The Other Brain: from Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science
Douglas Fields

101 Theory Drive: a Neuroscientist's Quest for Memory
Terry McDermott

Pictures of the Mind: what the New Neuroscience Tells Us About Who We Are
Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald

Playing in the Unified Field: Rraising and Becoming Conscious, Creative Human Beings
Carla Hannaford

Wisdom: from Philosophy to Neuroscience
Stephen Hall

No comments: