Saturday, June 8, 2013

Random Notes from a Crank

If you're interested in how brains react to music, check out "Why Music Makes Our Brain Sing" in the New York Times. The bottom-line is that music we like releases dopamine in the reptilian part of our brains, and as the researchers relate, "Composers and performers intuitively understand this: they manipulate these prediction mechanisms to give us what we want — or to surprise us, perhaps even with something better." That point reminds me of why I like Todd Snider's "Big Finish" so much. 

I recently finished Kurt Spellmeyer's Buddha at the Apocalypse. It's a good book, but he covers ground I've gone over previously through other Buddhist texts, Deep Ecology thinkers, and various social critics, especially those discussing environmental issues. Here's a few quotations to consider though: 
  • "We we call knowledge might actually be another example of the images of order we've mistaken for the real."
  • "The future can't undo what we do here -- not even with the best technology. Our only hope is acting mindfully today."
  • "From the polemical perspective of Zen, living for the future isn't living skillfully. In fact it's destructive in many ways that we ignore at our detriment." 
Below is a short video, a precis, of his book.

Now I'm on to Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow and various other books from my on-deck shelf

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