Thoughts on neuroscience and art

I’m fascinated by neuroscience. I think of phrenology, though, and how it was cutting edge science at the time. The idea of pointing to bumps on the head to explain emotions and character is a lot like pointing to nodes in the brain. I don’t think science can throw a net over what makes individuals quirky. Phrenology is a laughing stock now; we don’t laugh at cave paintings, and we’ll never laugh at Homer or Chaucer. Read Hawthorne’s ‘the birthmark’: that’s what happens when you pursue beauty or happiness with science alone.

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