Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reading, Evocation and Simulaton

Readers build vivid mental simulations of narrative situations, brain scans suggest

A new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to "get lost" in a good book — suggesting that readers create vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used to process similar experiences in real life.

Does that mean that stories use the same brain areas as real-life?

Or that what we conceive to be real-life is really happening in the same brain areas as fiction but with the added benefit or sensorial input? Both seem to operate in the same fashion. A friend who studies lucid dreaming also expects the similar brain areas to fire up when a dreamer acquires lucidity.

Real-life worldviews are of the same substance as more or less educated stories?

That would render myths, legends, fallacies, and other imaginary constructions indistinguishable from evidence-supported hypothesis.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Faith & Consequences

Miss Beatrice, the church organist, was in her eighties and had never been married. She was admired for her sweetness and kindness to all.

One afternoon the pastor came to call on her and she showed him into her quaint sitting room.

She invited him to have a seat while she prepared tea. As he sat facing her old Hammond organ, the young minister noticed a cut-glass bowl sitting on top of it. The bowl was filled with water, and in the water floated, of all things, a condom! When she returned with tea and scones, they began to chat.

The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him and he could no longer resist. 'Miss Beatrice', he said, 'I wonder if you would tell me about this?' pointing to the bowl.

'Oh, yes,' she replied, 'Isn't it wonderful? I was walking through the Park a few months ago and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to place it on the organ, keep it wet and that it would prevent the spread of disease.

Do you know I haven't had the flu all winter.'

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


What happens happened because it was the most probable thing to happen then. Most of the time.

The next now for most average folks is a highly probable, predictable, expected moment, life that continues. Until for some, the unexpectedly improbable outside force strikes directly and life takes a turn. But the surprise doen't always come from beyond.

Errors, mistakes, bad choices and other wrong moves are examples of points where we ourselves are the cause of an unexpected turn of event. Which of course doesn't exclude the improbable - an erroneous assumption leading to real discovery for instance, or a bad turn in an alley... Even the highly improbable can happen - News Of The Weird is full of such demonstrations.


My point: In view of the chaotic circumstances of the universe at the time, I'd dare to say that the emergence of life and subsequent self-aware beings resulted from a chain of these highly improbable events. If you consider that reality, at our level, is the gazillion nano-to-mega events required to maintain the consistency of matter, with such numbers improbable things are bound to happen.

But they just rarely do, sitting at the edges of the Bell curve as they are.