the age of insight / the summer of perspicacity

“The function of the modern artist was not to convey beauty, but to convey new truths.”


“Science may explain aspects of art but it will not replace the inspiration that art evokes…”


“Viennese life at the turn of the century provided opportunities in salons and coffeehouses for scientists, writers, and artists to come together in an atmosphere that was at once inspiring, optimistic, and politically engaged. …science was no longer the narrow and restrictive province of scientists but had become an integral part of Viennese culture. …a paradigm for how an open dialogue can be achieved.”


-Eric Kandel, excerpted from The Age of Insight


in search of memory

“Twenty-first-century culture continues to be significantly influenced by events that took place in [Vienna] during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, just as each of us continues to be influenced by every experience we have ever had. For human beings, however, ‘influence’ is far to weak a word. We are made of memories. Every moment of our lives brings to a focus the totality of all the moments preceding it.”

St Stephen's Cathedral

“Kandel’s life work has been to demonstrate that memory, learning, and by extension, every other mental process are the result not of some vague set of unexplainable psychic phenomena but rather of distinctive molecular events determined by physicochemical qualities of cellular life.”

Man hiking in Colorado

“Sigmund Freud repeatedly expressed his hope that psychoanalytic theory would one day be subjected to the scrutiny of basic science. There is profound symmetry in the fact that Kandel, another son of Vienna, should have fulfilled so much of that hope… Freud, who began his career as a neuroanatomist studying the structure of cells, made his greatest contributions as a psychoanalyst. Kandel did it the other way around.”

Vienna State Opera House

Excerpted from The Secret Life of the Mind 

verdi girls

Saw the Nashville Opera’s production of La Traviata with my friend Jane this weekend. Didn’t take any photos of note, but it did remind me of all the illicit pictures of concert halls I’ve taken in the past:

American Ballet Theater @ The Met, New York City, July 2010

Main Staircase, Opera Garnier, Paris, France, July 2008

View from Box Center, Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria, July 2008

Main Stage, Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria, July 2008


Then again, “illicit” is subjective, isn’t it?

And oh yeah, I moved to Nashville. #OverdueNotifications

“the unfolding of something beautiful or dramatic over time”

“Scientists whose specialty is cosmology tell us that time and space are inextricably linked…

“You can’t have one without the other.  They say that if you could go back far enough, nearer the Big Bang, time and space would merge…”

“…They wouldn’t be separate dimensions…”

“Being on the same continuum, they are relative, not independently fixed…”

“Musicians are especially sensitive to time, since their art form manipulates its sonic materials within time…”

“…as a sculptor does her marble within space…”

“Of course, music happens in space, too—it happens someplace…”

“But, the primary attention is given to unfolding something beautiful or dramatic over time…”

“…You can’t take in music without taking time.”

— Paul Johnston, Artist-lecturer, Carnegie Mellon University