Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer, a book about how some artists and writers unknowingly anticipated the biggest discoveries in the field of neuroscience.
A Cezanne painting admits that the landscape is made of negative space, and that the bowl of fruit is a collection of brushtrokes. Everything has been bent to fit the canvas. Three dimensions have been flatted into two, light has been exchanged for paint, the whole scene has been knowingly composed. Art, Cezanne reminds us, is surrounded by artifice.
The shocking fact is that sight is like art. What we see is not real. It has been bent to fit our canvas, which is the brain. When we open our eyes, we enter into an illusory world, a scene broken apart by the retina and re-created by the cortex. Just as a painter interprets a picture, we interpret our sensations. But no matter how precise our neuronal maps become, they will never solve the question of what we actually see, for sight is a private phenomenon. The visual experience transcends the pixels of the retina and the fragmentary lines of the visual cortex.
It is art, and not science that is the means by which we express what we see on the inside. The painting, in this respect is closest to reality. It is what gets us nearest to experience. When we stare at Cezanne’s apples, we are inside his head.
Lehrer also has a blog called The Frontal Cortex.
Posted by C-Monster.