Finally finished Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks. All about the cognitive psychology and neuroscience of music. (I think Roy would enjoy it very much). A few observations:
- The ability of the brain to cope and adjust to traumatic injury and loss is fascinating. The way other parts can take over for damaged sections, the flexibility, just makes you realize how far away our technology is from our biology.
- Music's staying power in our brain is epic. There were so many examples of people who had high levels of dysfunction, advanced Alzheimer's, inability to hold short-term memory, who could hear a tune and immediately be able to play along, note for note.
- He talked about an interesting disorder called William's Syndrome. It's like the reverse of autism. People are hypersocial, hold large and complex vocabularies, can craft narratives, and have a deep love and often talent for music. But they're incapable of setting a table for dinner or doing basic math.
"How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed'? Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.'" - Carl Sagan
"To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection." - Henri Poincaré