The second chapter in this book is about George Eliot. This chapter gave me a fresh perspective on how the human mind functions. It is about how the mind can break free of all the constraint applied to it by society and science when it is properly stimulated, and that biological “noise,” chaos, is stimulating. This internal chaos is what allows us to be individuals and have such a vast variety in our life. In the book in the section labeled The Literary Genome, the very last sentence states “Life imitates Art.”
Eliot believed that the mind was always changing, adapting, and that the mind “is not cut in marble.” In this chapter, a description of neurogenesis is included. They tested multiple types of animals, but with all of the animals they wanted to have them in enclosures resembling their natural habitat, because this would cause them to behave and grow as they normally would. The tested birds would not have generated as many new neurons as they do in their natural habitat, because the enclosure those animals used to be in did not promote creativity in the animals. The birds would not have created new songs, and new neurons are needed to do this. The monkeys were given branches, hidden food, and a rotation of toys to promote neurogenesis. An interesting habitat leads to an interesting mind. This is why art is important. Art allows us to be creative, and this creativity allows our brains to undergo neurogenesis. Since these new neurons are being created, our brains are always changing, expanding, and allowing us to be free to do anything that we desire. Eliot was describing this freedom. No matter how old we are or where we are in our lives, we can always change because, “the brain is not marble, it is clay, and our clay never hardens.” Because our brains are never stuck in one state, we are given freedom, “In the irrepressible plasticity of our brains, we find our freedom.”
Art is all around us and helps us to grow....