You are currently browsing the daily archive for March 17, 2008.
I have often suspected that something intangible and vital was lost when poetry ceased being the main vehicle for science, history, and theology, a suspicion that is all the more verified in reading “Lord Brain” by Bruce Beasley, a fascinating mix of theology, neurology, quantum mechanics, and something he calls “psychocosmology”. With a medievalist’s love of lore and authorities he ranges from Augustine to Descartes, from Galen to Goethe, from Scripture to Keats in a sort of Summa Cerebra; a theodicy justifying the ways of God to science.
He has an antiquated delight in lists leaping through the jargon of science, using it for music, an affect that I find renders it innocuous rather than intimidating. For example from the title poem: “agraphia, amusia, allophones & vocables,/ palilalia palilalia palilalia” (palilalia being an affliction causing one to repeat a word or phrase). His rhythmic wit is boundless, consider the hint of Gerard Manley Hopkins in the line, “When the gluon bindings loosen,/ the quarks can swim free”.
Mr. Beasley speaks of the soul in shockingly physical terms (“the atoms of the soul”, the “soul secreting” gland), running against the current view of the spiritual as less physical than the natural. He challenges us to understand God in the wily paradoxical essence of light; wave, not wave.
Finding richness in puns on mass and ironies in what physicists call God particles, the history of neurology, drawing on the last words of the dying, fireflies & slugs, nothing escapes his mind as he weaves for us this astounding collection. In the untouched corners of science he finds God, in the brain he finds the soul. Finding the gaps in science he shows us the synapsis of faith.