In a bid to grasp an understanding of my own pitiful existence, I sought out the celebrated source of consciousness at its current home in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, on display in the exhibition, Brains: The Mind as Matter. Though it was a delightful display charting the history of neurology down the years, I left without much moved in me. I felt a certain sense of despondence at the realisation that, in all likelihood, I will never see such an exhibition dedicated to the lungs, the liver, or even the punchy pancreas.
We place a great deal of stock in the fatty coils stored inside our skulls, and they are beautiful, and they are intricate, and they are fascinating, baffling and surprising. They are just another piece of this body, though. I am reminded of Roald Dahl’s short story, William and Mary, in which William Pearl is given the opportunity to cheat death, by being kept ‘alive’ as only his brain, and one attached eyeball. I love the neurologist character, Landy, in this story. So unbearably optimistic and unstoppably self-involved, he will carry out his great experiment whatever the outcome, whatever this would mean for William’s own well being.
Ah, I don’t know where I am going with this… I enjoyed both of these things, and considering the importance of the brain to our consciousness (still struggling with my own definition/interpretation of this, wildly subjective as I am).
Such a beautiful, simple, striking method of charging an inanimate object with life! The card is now on my bedroom wall.