Archive for April, 2015

What’s The Deal With Leonardo’s Brain?

A genius take on creative genius…


Leonardo’s Brain: What a Posthumous Brain Scan Six Centuries Later Reveals about the Source of Da Vinci’s Creativity
by Maria Popova


How the most creative human who ever lived was able to access a different state of consciousness.


“One September day in 2008, Leonard Shlain found himself having trouble buttoning his shirt with his right hand. He was admitted into the emergency room, diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer, and given nine months to live. Shlain — a surgeon by training and a self-described “synthesizer by nature” with an intense interest in the ennobling intersection of art and science, author of the now-legendary Art & Physics — had spent the previous seven years working on what he considered his magnum opus: a sort of postmortem brain scan of Leonardo da Vinci, performed six centuries after his death and fused with a detective story about his life, exploring what the unique neuroanatomy of the man commonly considered humanity’s greatest creative genius might reveal about the essence of creativity itself.


Shlain finished the book on May 3, 2009. He died a week later. His three children — Kimberly, Jordan, and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain — spent the next five years bringing their father’s final legacy to life. The result is Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius (public library | IndieBound) — an astonishing intellectual, and at times spiritual, journey into the center of human creativity via the particular brain of one undereducated, left-handed, nearly ambidextrous, vegetarian, pacifist, gay, singularly creative Renaissance male, who Shlain proposes was able to attain a different state of consciousness than “practically all other humans.”…


For the rest click here to go to the oh so wonderful Brain Pickings.


Scientists throughout history unlocking the secrets of the occult…

Even science-minded folks are intrigued by the unknown. Curiosity is the realm of intelligence.





10 Famous Scientists Who Held Surprising Supernatural Beliefs
by Lauren Davis (


While we typically hold up scientists, especially those who have made important discoveries, as paragons of rationality, numerous scientists have had fascinations with cryptids, psychic phenomena, and other aspects of the occult. And what some of these particular people believed may surprise you.

1. Sir Isaac Newton and His Belief in the Occult


It may surprise folks who are familiar only with Sir Issac Newton’s mathematical and scientific contributions that Newton was profoundly interested in the occult. Newton was a devout Anglican and an alchemist — neither of which was unusual for an English scientist in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Although many of Newton’s particular religious beliefs, particularly his anti-Trinitarianism, would have been considered heretical at the time.) Still, it’s can be difficult for some modern readers to reconcile Newton’s mathematical descriptions of the universe with his obsessions with Biblical numerology, astrology, and a quest for the Philosopher’s Stone.


Newton made no distinction between the scientific and the mystical. He believed that the world could be understood through mathematics as well as through secrets hidden in the Bible. Based on his interpretations of the Scriptures, he even estimated the date of the end of the world. (He pegged it at around 2060, although he was himself suspicious of people who thought they had the exact year down.) He thought he could divine the size of the Earth by studying the geometry of Solomon’s Temple. He conducted numerous experiments in his quest to create the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. And his work in religion and alchemy was just as detailed as his work in what we would today consider science.


There are some writers who believe that Newton made such powerful contributions to our understanding of the world not in spite of his more mystical beliefs, but because of them. His studies on optics had their foundations in alchemy. In trying to describe the behavior of the cosmos, he was trying to unlock the secrets of God’s mechanisms. He simply used whatever tools he could find: mathematics, the Bible, alchemy, and other “sciences” we would now consider occult. Some of them worked out better than others.

Carl Linnaeus’ Mermaids


For the rest click here.


The Devil’s Bible: The strangest (and largest) manuscript in the world

The Devil’s Bible — a manuscript so large it takes two people to lift it.


Legend says that an imprisoned monk produced the manuscript in just one night — with the devil’s assistance of course…



Codex Gigas (the Devil’s Bible) – the largest manuscript in the world (Ancient Origins)


“Codex Gigas (the Devil’s Bible) – the largest manuscript in the world
Codex Gigas, otherwise known as ‘the Devil’s Bible’ is the largest and probably one of the strangest manuscripts in the world.  It is so large that it is said to have taken more than 160 animal skins to make it and takes at least two people to lift it.  It measures approximately 1 metre in length.


According to legend, the medieval manuscript was made out of a pact with the ‘devil’, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the Devil’s Bible. It was written in Latin during the 13th century AD, and although the origin of the manuscript is unknown, a note in the manuscript states that it was pawned in the monastery at Sedlec in 1295.


The story behind the making of Codex Gigas (“the giant codex”) is that it was the work of one monk who was sentenced to death by being walled up alive. Indeed, an analysis on the text does suggest that it was written by just one scribe due to the level of uniformity throughout.  The legend says that the monk produced the manuscript in just one night… with the devil’s help. However, it is not known where this legend started and it is suspected that it was religiously propagated.


Stories and legends say that the Codex Gigas brought disaster or illness on whoever possessed it…”


Read the rest here.


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