Sunday, January 14, 2018

Beau Lotto - Deviate - The Science of Seeing Differently (Weidenfield & Nicolson, 2017) ***

Beau Lotto is an American neuroscientist, active in London, and the founder of the Lab of Misfits, a studio that creates unique real-world ‘experiential-experiments’ that places the public at the centre of the process of discovery.

In this book, Lotto starts with a deep dive in how we perceive things, and specifically colour, and how our brain creates these perceptions often more based on how brain functions than how reality really is. It is only when we become aware that we see things that aren't there, and we don't see things that are there, that we can start opening our mind to new possibilities. Humans did not evolve to see reality, but to survive. Yet now, we have to challenge our brain. We have to open it, with the right approaches, to mold it to have more neural connections. We need more contexts, different environments and experiences. We need to be incentivised to imagine things. We need methods to go beyond the narrow confines of our current perspectives. That's why we have to deviate. To be more open, more creative, more innovative, more connected.

If it all sounds a little new-agey, it's maybe because it is. The book is also written in the same style, with the lay-out aiding to challenge the reader (sometimes written upside down, sometimes graphically, sometimes ...).

In fact, there's nothing much new to read here for anybody who's read some works on how the brain works. But for the general audience, it's a good introduction. The only downside is that Lotto seems to have all the answers. Instead of all the right questions.

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