Another long day followed by Brian Cox

Lots going on today, in fact almost reaching the limit of now much new complex concepts can soak into a tired brain. Starting to look forward to the end of term – a chance to slow down a bit??

We had two lectures and Bridget’s third getting making workshop today, so a very busy afternoon in particular. I will write up the notes and reflections later once my headache has subsided. For now, I just want to note down this evenings product of serendipity….after coming late, tired, rather wet and muddy thanks to the thoughtful driver of the 345 bus, I powered up iplayer for some evening entertainments. HB was busy so it was just me and the floppy haired armchair physicist Brian Cox, and his new show Human Universe.

Well! I should have suspected this would be right in my proposal territory, that’s what will happen I suppose if you pick a topic based on your passions. A few quotes, notes and ideas from the show:

— Obsidian is one of the first materials early humans used to fashion to make tools (e.g. spearheads), the “earliest evidence of minds that think like ours”
— Our human brains have 80bn neurones and hundreds of billions more connections between neurones. This is comparable to the number of stars in a galaxy. I rather like this connection – it links to my idea of equating physical reality with our inner mental reality.
— the human brain is “the most complex physical system in the known universe”
— poignant quote from the Hindu Rigveda: “the gods themselves are later than creation, so who knows truly whence it has arisen”
— “complexity masks underlying simplicity”
— according to Brian Cox and his science writers: “we are something which emerges from electrical activity inside this complex blob of matter”. Said while looking at a brain I might add. This is rather interesting in light of the books I started reading today on the nature of consciousness. Are we no more than electrical signals? Or is there in fact a ghost in the machine? Much more to come on this topic!

Finally a small minor revelation. Professor Cox was talking about how humans developed from apemen to spacemen, and a summary of the major developments in civilisation which has allowed this to happen. I realised that in terms of human minds and communication, the written word is human’s information carrier. Equivalent perhaps, to how light transmits physical information across the universe. Development of writing allowed verbal knowledge to be codified, repeated, passed on exponentially and has allowed humanity to release and transfer knowledge on an epic scale.

In terms of my current dual concept (physical spaces and inner spaces) perhaps the written word can be equated to light paths? I have been somewhat obsessed with text in textiles for quite sometime, so is this a new connection made?!

Action: look up some photographs / scans of the human brain’s electronic activity, there must be some online


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