A Neuropoesis


Joel Weishaus

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Mythical discourse undertakes a weaving together, a junction, a connection of places that are closed, isolated, inviolable, inaccessible, dangerous, or mortal--disconnected, in any case. Once the weaving together is accomplished, one can speak of science.


Inside the Skull-House is a journey in the epic mode. Its hero/heroine, the human brain, is perhaps the most complex and elegant achievement of this universe. Brain's quest to unravel the chemistry of its circuits and the mystery of their projections, including the "hard problem" of its own consciousness, adds humor to the science, and relief that my path is not pathology, but metaphor, mythology, etymology, and devices of electracy.

Because it draws upon the singular experiences that cause its topography to be unique, Brain is outfitted in the first person, while its journey is both modular and interdependent. Each segment begins with a "prep" that prepares the distance to be covered, and ends with a literal illustration. Not a "head trip," its soul may be found in the log-book of an ordinary life, endowed with tropes, images, animated or not, quotes, poems, dreams, along with links to a paratext of citations, references, and additional representations.

This project is not meant to draw a comprehensive picture of the brain and its functions. It is not meant to be a textbook. To their credit, neuroscientists readily admit that their understanding of this "three-pound universe" is still quite limited, though advancing. In its quest to understand itself, Brain is set adrift on a stormy sea of information. There are promising landfalls, numinous adventures, and always a beckoning horizon that serves as a learning curve. I trust that, when this project is complete, Brain's vision of itself as an organ located inside a skull-house will be replaced with a more inclusive, gregarious and ecological one.

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