Roads to everywhere
The image below was painted over 20 years ago by Rachel Napaljarri Jurra, an Australian aboriginal woman , as part of a successful programme to educate young aboriginal people about the dangers of solvent sniffing. This particular image with roads to everywhere is how she thought the brain worked. Subsequent images showed a progressive brain destruction via solvents. I marvel at this image, and every time I look at it I see something new. It is truly a neuromatrix as we now conceptualise it – a representation of dynamic distributed processing. And it was painted well before brain imaging was in the popular media. It makes me think – what do we really know, what is really new?
On the medieval cell doctrine
I have just read Harry Whitaker’s 2007 essay ‘Was medieval cell doctrine more modern than we thought?’ – an interesting read. Medieval cell doctrine is traditionally the view that cognitions and memories are held in the easily observable, fluid filled ventricles. The view held up well into the 17th century despite no evidence that the ventricles connected to any pathways. However, a cortical localisation variant (i.e. a form of neuromatrix conceptualisation) has been shown to date back to the 12th century. And not only does Whitaker present evidence of cortical localisation, there is also evidence of the existence of medieval concepts of dynamic processing.
The image above was drawn in 1503 by anatomist in Bologna. This and similar images have lead modern scholars to assume our medieval colleagues were still all about ventricles, but what was missed was that the latin word ventriculus also means lobe. The three circles are for brain areas representing sensory input and imagination, fantasy and estimation above the ear and memory and motion at the back of the head.
You can see this expanded in this next image (above) by Eichmann in 1537, popularly known as Dryander. See how the sensory input goes to the first and second cells and note the nice motor control of speech from the third cell.
This final image (above) is drawn by Avicenna, a famous Arab physician in the mid 14th century. Although somewhat linear, the dual lines represent back and forward flow. There are cells for fantasy, cognition, imagination and memory plus the five senses. But there is clearly linkage of cognitions and the senses in brain matter.
Sticking with the neuromatrix
Our medieval colleagues may have been much more up with concepts of distributed processing than we thought. These days there are some challenges to the neuromatrix as a broad and guiding paradigm for brain engagement. But for now I am going with what could be tens of thousands of years of aboriginal observation and at least 700 years of European and Arabic conceptualisation.
– David Butler
THE 2017 NOI CALENDAR IS SHAPING UP, HERE ARE THE CONFIRMED DATES FOR NOW
Melbourne 31 March – 2 April EP and GMI
Darwin 4 – 6 August EP and GMI
Brisbane 25 – 27 August EP and GMI
Don’t worry SA and NSW, we’re very close to confirming dates and locations to bring you some love too.
Check out our courses page for details and to enquire
HAVE YOU DOWNLOADED OUR NEW PROTECTOMETER APP YET?
Just search the App Store from your iPad for ‘Protectometer’
WE’RE PACKING UP EP3 AND TAKING IT ON THE ROAD IN THE USA
EP3 events have sold out three years running in Australia, and we are super excited to be bringing this unique format to the United States in December 2016 with Lorimer Moseley, Mark Jensen, David Butler, and a few NOI surprises.
EP3 EAST Philadelphia, December 2-4 (nearly full, last tickets going fast)
EP3 WEST Seattle, December 9-11 (nearly full, last tickets going fast)
To register your interest, contact NOI USA:
p (610) 664-4465