Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mozart's Brain

I am listening to an audio book called 'Mozart's Brain and The Figther Pilot' by Richard Restak. An interesting book that has a different perspective from the usual views esposed in the mainstream media about the brain. The author is a registered medical doctor as well as a psychiatrist and neurologist. The differences that he espouses is quite subtle. For instance, the debate on right and left brain skills is a mis-interpretation of the work of Roger Sperry. In fact, the value of the brain is the integrative function or the ability to experience wholly without distinctions of whether it's the left or right brain.

An interesting perspective becuase I have been focusing for example in improving my left or right brain skills when in fact I should be thinking of integrating both hemispheres. For instance, mind mapping is actually a method that does integrate both hemispheres with the use of words and diagrams. Hence, it is a method that combines both visual and verbal skills although both at a symbolic and abstract level. So it's an interesting technique that actually helps bridge the functions of the brain. The book also advises some interesting points.

For example, the author suggests to use a voice recorder when expressing ideas or writing a journal. Instead of writing which requires more effort in terms of finding a paper and pen or firing up a computer or laptop, video recording is a faster method of recording ideas. So he separates the act of thinking with the act of writing or typing the ideas. So there is a clear distinction between thinking and --> writing, wherein writing is just the mechanical act of putting words into symbolic language. So what is the actual work of a novelist?

I guess a novelist is really a thinker where ideas are expressed first before putting down into paper or computer. So 'writing' a novel or a story actually means thinking or creating ideas into a structured form and putting these ideas into a written form (whether electronic or paper based). So I guess being a novelist does not necessarily mean typing into a typewriter when writing a book as shown in the movies. It can also mean dictating ideas into a voice recorder and, later, typing the result into a computer. Hence, a separation of thinking about the story and writing it down.

In other words, expressing the story verbally or at least expressing and formulating ideas. This was an insight from reading the book and I had some ideas to record my ideas about the book or story during the weekdays and typing out the result during the weekend. I think it looks more like a compromise. The book also states that one should also relax the brain when overused to avoid stress. Since I am typing at my computer and thinking most of the time at work, verbally discussing and recording my thoughts in the evening is less stressful and uses a different part of the brain.

So perhaps this method will be useful in separating the thinking part of the effort and the actual organizing and structuring work. So maybe the idea is to do the thinking and storytelling part by using the voice recorder during the weekdays and organizing and structuring in the weekend. It seems to be strange way to 'write' but I think this method is workable. I just need to find the place and the discipline to do my voice recordings. I think it will be an interesting way to complete my book.

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