If Ideas Had Shapes

A quoteblog ranging from philosophers in bathrobes to galaxy-rises

Category: Neuroscience

Douglas Hofstadter – Metamagical Themas (1985)

People tend to think that only extreme versions of things pose deep problems. That’s why few people see modeling the creativity of, say, the trite television character of Archie Bunker as a difficult task. It’s strange and disorienting to realize that if we could write a program that could compose Muzak or write trashy novels, we would be 99 percent of the way to mechanizing Mozart and Einstein. Even a program that could act like a mentally retarded person would be a huge advance. The commonest mental abilities—not the rarest ones—are still the central mystery.

Daniel Levitin – This Is Your Brain on Music (2006)

Consider that at a very early age, babies are thought to be synesthetic, to be unable to differentiate the input from the different senses, and to experience life and the world as a sort of psychedelic union of everything sensory. Babies may see the number five as red, taste cheddar cheese in D-flat, and smell roses in triangles.