All Great Ideas Start with an Empty Brain, with Artist Maira Kalman
Because our state of existence is "limited time only," it's vital to seek out meaningful activities to make the most of what little time we have. That's why it's important to place your brain's focus on determining what's meaningful to you.
Maira Kalman is an illustrator, author, and designer. She has created many covers for The New Yorker, including the famous map of Newyorkistan (created with Rick Meyerowitz). Ms. Kalman's twelve children's books include Max Makes a Million, Stay Up Late, Swami on Rye, and What Pete Ate. She also has designed fabric for Isaac Mizrahi, accessories for Kate Spade, sets for the Mark Morris Dance Company, and, with her late husband Tibor Kalman under the M&Co. label, clocks, umbrellas, and other accessories for the Museum of Modern Art. Ms. Kalman's work is shown at the Julie Saul Gallery in Manhattan. Her latest book is Beloved Dog.
Maira Kalman: I can’t believe that we are all alive and we all know that we’re going to die and yet we go on doing what we’re doing in the, what might seem to be a completely meaningless exercise, this living thing. So it affects me because I am understanding that I’m in a state of temporary — it’s temporary. So what do you do in this temporary time? You try to do what’s really meaningful to you. You’re not always successful, of course, because sometimes you don’t know what’s really meaningful and it’s something that unfolds. And it’s something that changes all the time anyway, by the way, with experience and with age. So, you know, we’re all screwed. We really are. I always knew that I wanted to do something in this world that would create a job for me, that was a narrative of my life. And I thought it would be in writing, but then I became quite disenchanted with my writing and I thought wouldn’t it be great and easier to draw. So I started to draw and then it took me some years to realize that I could draw and paint and that was called books. And then, you know, the thing about finding your voice is that it should change. It should keep changing and you should keep finding a new voice. Not something that’s completely alien, but something that makes you feel as if you’re exploring a different part of yourself. So I’m still looking.
I take a lot of walks and that gives me a great sense of joy and a great sense of cleansing my brain and having an empty brain, which I talk about a lot as being a terrific thing to have. In the sense the state of not knowing and the state of just absorbing information, so I walk and that gives me a million ideas and a million visuals also and I’m photographing and I’m sketching. And I think also I read a great deal and that inspires me and I look at art. I go to museums. So between looking at trees and looking at art and looking at people and what they’re wearing and looking at dogs and chairs and buildings — well I could go on, but looking is a good thing to do. The only rule, if you’re going to follow a rule in my life — how it’s worked for my life — is that follow your instinct. I don’t think there’s anything else that I could say that means anything because I don’t think I’ve learned anything other than follow your instinct and persevere, which I think is a good thing for anybody. So persevere and don’t give up. If you don’t want to give up, don’t give up.
Because our state of existence is "limited time only," it's vital to seek out meaningful activities to make the most of what little time we have. That's why it's important to place your brain's focus on determining what's meaningful to you, says artist Maira Kalman. Most of all, it's a good idea to develop protocols for thinking. This way, your brain is ready to pursue the truths you seek.
Kalman's latest release is a new book titled Beloved Dog
To prevent torturous experiments on organoids, some are calling for clearer definitions of consciousness.
- Mini-brains (also called organoids) are tiny lumps of tissue capable of generating rudimentary neural activity.
- Neuroscientists use mini-brains to conduct research and experiments that help them learn about the brain.
- As scientists generate increasingly complex mini-brains, however, some are concerned they might be experiencing pain.
The results have startling implications about the evolution of psychopathy in humans.
- The researchers asked about 50 male university students to participate in a mock dating scenario.
- Men with more psychopathic traits were seen as significantly more desirable by women who watched videos of the encounters.
- Psychopathic traits may help men to mimic the qualities women are looking for, but it's a short-term strategy that comes at a cost.
A review of the multifaceted questions we'll ask to determine whether robots have a felt quality of experience — an "inner feel."
- The reason we entertain thought experiments such as reincarnation and an afterlife is because we're sentient beings. These concepts are innate to our experiences as conscious human beings.
- The ACT test probes A.I. to examines whether it can grasp these questions — i.e., the mind existing separately from the body, or the system without the computer. If so, then there's reason to believe it's a conscious being.
- For machines to develop consciousness, they will need to have the right architectural features. For instance, for humans we possess a working memory, attention, and brain stems — all of which serve as the neural basis of our conscious experience. If there is a machine analog to these things, then it may suggest that the machines are conscious as well.