CCP critic Kevin Murphy thought readers would be interested in this NPR piece about Virginia Woolf being, now that we look back on it, at the intersection of art and science.

Woolf not only made people up. She wondered out loud how she did it and, more importantly, how we all do it.

Woolf even came up with a theory of mind that explains how all of us, every day, manage to stumble and bumble our way through tasks, walks, talks, jolts of recollection, loves, hates — and still come out whole.

In the process, Lehrer believes, Woolf anticipated what scientists would discover decades later: that our very brains are divided into “left” and “right”and that we are, in our architecture, not of one mind.


In his book Proust Was A Neuroscientist, Jonah Lehrer [an NPR science writer] explored how Marcel Proust and other novelists closely studied the human mind and memory.

Lehrer’s notion is that the mystery of “self,” now the great challenge for neuroscientists all over the world, was a puzzle first articulately addressed by artists untutored in science.

Scientists probe, pluck, test and analyze questions. Artists discover questions to ask. Both art and science explore what it’s like to be alive — and only when they work together do we exercise all our powers.

“We now know enough to know that we will never know everything,” Lehrer wrote. “This is why we need art; it teaches us how to live with mystery.”

Virginia Woolf