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Preface 
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Post Preface
Notes from the preface

The last sentence of the "Preface" is: “But above all, I have tried to listen to my patients and subjects, to imagine and enter their experiences—it is these which form the core of this book” There are two novelties here: an author who puts the conclusion at the end of the chapter and a Doctor who listens to his patients. I'd say this book is misclassified, it is a work of pure fiction (at least the "Preface" anyway).

This is my introduction to “exaptations.” Sounds like a subject for future reading.

Did Billy really say that? “ ' We have a 'susceptibility to music.' “Our susceptibility to music and other aspects of 'our higher aesthetic, moral and intellectual life; ' as having entered the mind 'by the back stairs.' “--William James (probably in his book Psychology) I always knew William was more fun, and a better writer, than his little brother Henry. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get myself to care about Daisy Miller.

This book is in the style of The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and Awakenings. Clear, no jargon, no previous knowledge assumed. I am looking forward to reading it.


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Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:14 am
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Post Re: Preface
GaryG48 wrote:
Clear, no jargon, no previous knowledge assumed. I am looking forward to reading it.


I agree. His tone does not assume you know anything about music, or medicine, for that matter, and he presents his cases as anecdotes rather than scientific case studies. It's very easy to read, and also very captivating.

He does use some big words, though. :-P



Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:54 pm
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Post Re: Preface
I enjoyed the Clarke's super intelligent aliens not being able to understand what we experienced in music. I also was somewhat surprised by the statement that music served no purpose what so ever in our survival. I am not sure that I totally buy that. That is not to say that I believe that people who go to concerts or can play a guitar are going to have a greater chance survival than those who don't but it seems to be an awfully complex mechanism just to spring up out of the woodwork of our brains. My guess would be that music may be related to the sing songy baby talk that adults use to communicate with infants. There is a Radio Lab program about this very subject.

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/

In the above website, look at the episodes window on the right side of the screen. Move the slider down about 2/3 of the way until you see Musical Language. It is quite interesting. If I remember correctly it is about an hour long.

The alien thing is interesting to me because some where I read recently a very similar notion regarding vision. If we were to see the world as it really is it would be pitch black with a whole bunch of emitted and reflected electro-magnetic waves of various intensities and frequencies. There would be no colors, no shades of colors, no objects, nothing visually intelligible. Just a highly variable collection of electro-magnetic energy in pitch black. Which seems surprising but think of it do you see a flash when you get an x-ray? Do you see heat coming from an oven? The only difference between the x-ray, visible light, and infra-red is the frequency (ergo wavelength) and the amount of energy in the photon. Visible light is no more inherently visible except to those who have the receptors sensitive to those wavelengths and the brains to put together an image out it. So it is with audible air pressure waves, there is nothing inherently audible about them unless you got the equipment. Such easy functions for us, yet when you think about how purely amazing it is that we can see a rich world of color, movement, and detail with nothing more than our eyes and brains and do roughly the same with sound and our ears... the notion just floors me!


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Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:36 pm
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Post Re: Preface
Excellent points and something I had never thought of! Thanks. :)



Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:44 pm
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