Sunday, February 15, 2009

Heady



I bought the book, The Singing Neanderthals by Stephen Mithen because I thought it was a book of the most ancient revisionist history. They have just mapped the genome of the Neanderthal, a close cousin of we Homo Sapiens, and are revising their thoughts about who the Neanderthals were because of it.

As it turns out, the book is about the evolution of music and language in Homo Sapiens, but it's not sociological, it's science - brain science - again! Rather than deciding to be disappointed, I'm going to go with the flow. I've been reading about the brain for months, why not another book on the subject?

The word "capitol" refers to the head, you knew that, right? The U.S. Capitol dome is definitely head-like. Sometimes it looks skeletal to me, sometimes stylized. And you could argue that the Capitol rotunda is the Head of America, or at least the Head of Washington DC. The four quarters of this city come together right in the center of the rotunda. It's a whirling, noisy vortex in there, somewhat like the whirling, noisy vortex at the center of my own personal head. The Capitol as head is not a ridiculous metaphor.

Anyway, living as I do just a few blocks from the Head of America, is it any wonder that I'm immersed in study of the human brain? Go with the flow, Reya, go with the flow.

32 comments:

Auntie, aka cagny said...

What a "Heady" post indeed!
And yes, the Capitol Building looks more skeletal...like a ...Bone Head?
LOL
Give my regards to Jake.

runmotman said...

my you have an eclectic library! Best reguards to the Capital Head--does it speak to you at all?

Reya Mellicker said...

Cagny? Haha!

The Capitol does speak to me, it does. I'm not supposed to admit that in public, though.

Auntie, aka cagny said...

BTW,
This week I am also reading a book about the brain:
Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman
I am going to post about it later this week.
bye for now.

e said...

I love the shot of the capitol through the trees...Today, my head feels as congested as that street looks...Glad you enjoyed your birthday...My brain needs a rest.

Lisa said...

great photo and no, i didnt know that capitol meant head
thank you
i am wiser now than 3 minutes ago
always a blessing xx
Lisa

Joanne said...

Interesting that the shot of the capitol has a flag/poster of 4 heads in the upper left. The book about music and language evolution sounds fascinating. Hope you'll post some insights here as you go along.

John Hayes said...

Tho I knew the point about the etymology of "capitol," I'd never connected it with the architectural shape-- very intriguing. Like Joanne, I'd be interested in your observations about the book.

uought2b.a.dog said...

Those are some great shots!
Shamu and Prissy

Lover of Life said...

I did extensive reading on the brain some years ago. It is indeed interesting. I also did much reading on the mind, which is very different from the brain. The two are not always in agreement.

Coffee Messiah said...

Well, the capital did have a "bone head" living within its confines for 8 yrs anyway ; (

But that was then, and this is now.

Cheers 2 U! ; )

JOY said...

Is there a statue standing on the top of the capitol? And is that Shakespeare times 4 on the flag? Just wondering. I love seeing through the structure. Kind of like an air-head! (Know some of those.) *laugh*

willow said...

I never really thought of it that way, but the Capitol really is the "head" of DC, isn't it? Cool.

Don Parker said...

Speaking of brain books, I just read Sharon Begley's "Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves," a tour de force about neuroplasticity, brain research, and the Dalai Lama's participation in those studies. Great book. I would love to know what books you've been reading, Reya.

Delwyn said...

You are a girl with her head in books...and a girl with her head in the clouds.. a good combination...

Reya Mellicker said...

But my feet on the ground - always!

The four heads are of Shakespeare. It's a banner that hangs outside the Folger Shakespeare Library another one of our wonderful Capitol Hill resources.

My favorite brain book during this recent bout of reading is The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio D'Amasio. It addresses emotion and body in the functioning of the mind, showing once and for all that "mind" is not brain centered in any way, and that without emotion, we are screwed.

With it, we're kind of screwed, too, aren't we?

Reya Mellicker said...

Joy, the Statue of Freedom is a Native American, facing east. She was part of the design of the Capitol from the get-go. She is amazing looking, gazing out over my neighborhood. Love Lady Freedom!

Don Parker said...

Thanks, Reya. I will look for Antonio D'Amasio's book. The Dalai Lama -- and Buddhists of all varieties -- make much the same point about the brain, the mind, and emotions, as I'm sure you know.

Mrsupole said...

The brain, the mind, and the soul, are they all connected. Does it say anything about this in any of those books. I was just wondering.

Love the picturs.

I guess the Capital Building is the head, I just never thought of it that way. Thanks for always teaching us something.

Mrsupole said...

Sorry, meant pictures. Guess my brain is not working so good today.

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

The bottom photo (well, I guess it's a head photo) just knocks my socks off. I love it!

Barry said...

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself.

That was a very interesting post--and even more fascinating photos.

Ronda Laveen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronda Laveen said...

The type of energy work I have been doing lately is Diksha. It is the process of bringing Divine Energy or, Light, into the brain. This initiates the process of Enlightenment. This Light of Consciousness restructures the brain and brings it back into its original state of illumination. Brain Illumination brings the brain back into balance and harmony. It is a little different from Reiki, which I practice too, in that the energy carries the Shakti (charge/energy) of the lineage of the Master from which it is transmitted. The brain is one of my favorite studies, energetically and physically.

I did not know that capitol means head. Thanks. Oh, the Shakespeare flag reminds me, go to crone51, she has a Willim Shakespeare meme posted, "Twenty and Five Things About Me." Funny.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ronda, this is the very reason why I refuse to wear sunglasses. I like natural light entering my brain. Very cool.

c james. said...

Your post reminds me of a book I read years ago - "Neanderthal" by John Darnton. The book is very 'elementary' and a bit fantastical, but is a real thinker. Very quick read.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Hey there... something happened to today's post "Plasticities". I'm getting a blank when I click on the link. I'm missing my morning fix
Cheryl

tut-tut said...

Very illuminating; belated birthday tidings. Hope it was heady!!

Lynne said...

Heads up! What great "head" facts. You tend to read the most interesting books. Have you ever read any Eckhart Tolle?

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Delwyn said...

Reya
I've got the same problem as Cheryl - Plasticities won't come up...
Delwyn @ 10.12am my time

Chris Wolf said...

Yup, I can't find the plastic one either. Missing it!