Saturday, 10 October 2015

On a long sandy beach in Portugal, over several days, I read You and Me from start to finish. All around they were reading Kathy Reich, John Grisham, and Bandit Country. I don't know why people read rubbish on the beach, where the mind has so much room. I'm ready for the intrigue of You and Me, the neuroscience of identity. This is the territory I like to be in.

Among the many paragraphs and sentences that needed the expanse of sun and sea, this one leapt:
If the screen-based lifestyle of the twenty-first century is an unprecedented and pervasive phenomenon, then prolonged and frequent video-gaming, surfing and social networking cannot fail to have an unprecedented and transformational effect on the mental state of a species whose most basic and valuable talent is a highly sensitive adaptability to whatever environment in which is it placed.
Dolphins go by—now you see them where will they pop up next—and we all leap. The neural handshake of a school of dolphins, secures October.

—Well, we know where we are, said a woman to her husband as she turned over to toast her back.

In 1995 three groups of people, none of whom could play the piano, volunteered for a five-day experiment. One group stared at a piano, the next learned five-finger exercises, and the third imagined they were playing the piano. The ones who played and the ones who imagined playing showed the same enhanced brain activity, synapses popped and handshakes clenched between neurons: aha! The ones who stared, stared, their brain activity unchanged: a piano is a run of black and white, a run of grey.
Emily Brontë once wrote, 'I have dreamed in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind. How we process the world around us indeed alters our identity. Our dreams need to be nurtured with the best possible materials.
And that includes the beach. The night. And reading. 

No comments :

Post a Comment