Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Back / Heavy Metal / Fables / The Science Delusion

Back after a long time. Does anybody read this? Who cares ...?

I am currently listening to "Maiden Heaven" - a £2 Kerrange compilation CD I found in the FOPP near Cambridge Circus. I occasionally forget that sheer excitement in music that can only be provided by this genre. Iron Maiden got me into Metal, and I will always love them for that. This happened to me in that transition between 6th Form and University. I have subsequently been in many musical directions, and surely will continue to do so, but will always come back home to this kind of music.

Thanks to my recent neigbour Andy for getting me into Fables. I got into the world of comics via Neil Gaiman's Sandman in about 1994, and I have recently gone 12-step on a fourteen year increasingly expensive comics habit. I loved Sandman, with its references to everything from old DC horror and super-hero comics to myth and legend. However, I can quite happily say that Bill Willingham's Fables is a lot better. For a start, it doesn't have the pretentiousness and subtle liberal politics of Sandman. The characters are much more relatable than the deliberately abstract quantities of the Endless, and the irritating goth wannabes who comprise many of the other protagonists. I prefer the heroic mold of many of the characters. And most of all, it is a lot funnier.

I saw a book called The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake in a recent foray to Daunt Books in Cheapside. I have read a few books by the biologist, Richard Dawkins, and they are definitely worth reading, if only to be able to understand the debate. In recent times, his obsession with religion - or rather, the destruction of it, has begun to somewhat irritate me, so the title amused me. The book is interesting: essentially, he is asking for science to open itself up to other ideas, particularly those which don't take scientific materialism as a given. Be warned, some of the ideas in it (Morphic Fields) sound like they have been used by Science Fiction writers. Some of the book sounds quite wacky, if you have had a standard scientific education. However, the bit which caught my imagination was the chapter on rejecting the assumption that the brain "contains" consciousness. He posits that consciousness is actually a separate thing from the brain, which essentually is an organ for "tuning in" to consciousness. I had never been 100% satisfied with the standard attempts to explain thought and the brain, and this explanation seems to make more sense to me. Now we just need someone to research this! Which is the whole point of the book.

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