Oliver Sacks’ Hexagons of the Mind

by Peaty

“Perhaps such experiences [ hallucinatory forms ] are at the root of our human obsession with pattern and the fact that geometrical patterns find their way into our decorative arts. As a child, I was fascinated by the patterns in our house–the square colored floor tiles on the front porch, the small hexagonal ones in the kitchen…These geometric and scrolling motifs seemed somehow familiar to me, though it did not dawn on me until years later that this was because I had seen them in my own head, that these patterns resonated with my own inner experience of the intricate tilings and swirls of migraine…Do the arabesques and hexagons in our own minds, built into our brain organization, provide us with our first intimations of formal beauty? There is an increasing feeling among neuroscientists that self-organizing activity in vast populations of visual neurons is a prerequisite of visual perception–this is how seeing begins.”

– Oliver Sacks (from “Hallucinations”)

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