Thursday, December 06, 2007

The mind's antechamber

"The ideas that lie at any moment within my full consciousness seem to attract of the own accord the most appropriate out of a number of other ideas that are lying close at hand, but imperfectly with the range of my consciousness. There seems to be a presences-chamber in my mind where full consciousness holds court, and where two or three ideas are at the same time in audience and an antechamber full of more or less allied ideas, which is situated just beyond the full ken of consciousness. Out of this antechamber the ideas most nearly allied to those in the presence chamber appear to be summoned in a mechanically logical way and to have their turn of audience."

From the program notes to "A Large Attendance in the Antechamber' by Brian Lipson: an amazingly energetic one-man show performed at the Malthouse this year.

I'm reading Olver Sacks's Musicophilia and his many references to Galton reminded me of how quote Lipson had chosen had reverberated for me and in one of those serendipitous moments I happened across the program as I was cleaning my office.

Galton was a extraordinary and scary mind.

In quick summary: "a half-cousin of Charles Darwin, was an English Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician." And the discover of uniqueness of fingerprints. I'm not sure that I'd want to always be first thought of as the half-cousin of Charles Darwin.

Black Dog is publishing a history of number by David Demant, designed by Regio Abios, which is coming out next year and will be beautiful -  a union of content and design. I'm sure Galton will get guernsey.

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