30. The Principle of Beauty

Branches

I’ll be first to admit that I’m not very good with directions and maps. Neither is my father. I don’t know, maybe it’s an inherited thing. What do you think?

The classical composer J.S. Bach was born of a musical family. Both his father and uncle were musicians. And while they were most certainly important influences in his life, Bach’s musical talents appeared at a very early age and spoke of a power beyond mere influence.

Science has yet to explain the mystery of genetic predisposition. But many researches are confident that the keys to unlocking that knowledge are hidden within the structure of the brain itself.

The brain is a complex organ offering few visual clues of the electrochemical processes that underlie thought. But let me encourage you with this one fact: there are tens of billions of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, and each neuron produces long branches called dendrites. These branches allow neurons to talk with each other — the more dendrites, the more talking. Furthermore, scientists have concluded that dendrites continue to grow throughout one’s lifetime and that their growth is stimulated by mental activity – reading, thinking, and doing, for example.

Okay, so what does this mean for you and me? Well, the more neurons that are talking, the more thinking, the more ideas, the more songs, the more understanding, the more hope, and the more concepts. Why, I think we even have a better chance of apprehending more beauty with all of these neurons talking with one another. Sensing beauty is often the result of our past connecting (talking) with our present and our concept of the future.

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Days 30-31 Guide

Take a look at a deciduous tree this winter. Witness the complexity of the hundreds of branches and the twigs. Now, just imagine the ideas waiting to be born of a brain that is busily thinking – neuron to neuron.

© 2006, Levi Hill

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