"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves."
– John Muir
– John Muir
Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.
What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive.
The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.
The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells, textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters."
The New York Times’ Annie Murphy Paul explores the neuroscience of your brain on fiction and how narratives offer a way to engage the brain’s capacity to map other people’s intentions, known in psychology as “theory of mind.”
(Source: , via explore-blog)
On Radio 4’s Front Row earlier this week Andrew Stanton, the film-maker behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo and other such Pixar wonders, was asked by Mark Lawson whether the opening scene of WALL-E was too bleak and frightening for a film aimed at younger children. Lawson had barely finished his question before Stanton shot him down for making the ‘fundamentally wrong’ assumption that his films were made with any particular demographic group in mind. Why would that even be necessary? He continued ‘I never thought the Beatles were trying to guess my demographic, I never thought Picasso was trying to test who the audience might be?’ After several minutes in this vein, it was clear: Andrew Stanton’s only priority is to make films that he believes are good, regardless of what others might think. He has absolute faith that if they are good enough, the rest will follow.
This is refreshing. The world is all too full of research into “customer bases”, focus groups, talk of target demographics. So much better to allow the creative imagination its freedom, link that flight to a drive to produce something really good - and trust that quality will find its own constituency (or, if you must, market). In a world full of commercial pressure and seemingly set (and unimaginative) paths to success it’s so easy to deviate from such single-minded purpose. There’s a sort of gravity, as enterprises find success and expand, that pulls creativity towards mediocrity, risk towards security. This must be resisted!
toast (uk) travels email 3/9/2012
from a poignant post on aliedwards.com (linked, click through)
William Kentridge (via Eireanm Lorsung)