Thursday, February 14, 2008

Migraines & Patterns

I've been playing around with the idea that geometry may be the way in which our minds average the fuzzy boundaries of probability fields out there, in the world around us, making us essentially quantum statisticians. Geometry is perhaps the method our minds employ to quantize our knowledge of a shifting, shimmering fluid world.

An excerpt from Patterns, by Oliver Sacks, recently published in the New York Times Blog.

"Much later still, when I first saw photographs of the Alhambra, with its intricate geometric mosaics, I started to wonder whether what I had taken to be a personal experience and resonance might in fact be part of a larger whole, whether certain basic forms of geometric art, going back for tens of thousands of years, might also reflect the external expression of universal experiences. Migraine-like patterns, so to speak, are seen not only in Islamic art, but in classical and medieval motifs, in Zapotec architecture, in the bark paintings of Aboriginal artists in Australia, in Acoma pottery, in Swazi basketry — in virtually every culture. There seems to have been, throughout human history, a need to externalize, to make art from, these internal experiences, from the decorative motifs of prehistoric cave paintings to the psychedelic art of the 1960s. Do the arabesques in our own minds, built into our own brain organization, provide us with our first intimations of geometry, of formal beauty?"

Thank you to Debi Parush for bringing this article to my attention. It's fascinating!

Note: I've had neurological migraines since I was a child, (complete with shimmering zigzags of light, pastel colours and a loss of the visual field), and always considered them normal, assuming everyone else had them as well.