Clear Lens of Reality
Here's a curious entry from Bryson's The Body: A Guide for Occupants that might glean a neurological basis:
Each neuron connects with thousands of other neurons, giving trillions and trillions of connections — as many connections “in a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue as there are starts in the Milky Way,” to quote neuroscientist David Eagleman. It is in all that complex synaptic entanglement that our intelligence lies, not in the number of neurons as was once thought.
While this connects back to our anatomical connection to the cosmic, mentioned in the previous post, I think it also relates to the widespread idea of connecting dots as being a hallmark of intelligence. Interesting to think of it as a neurological basis for our fascination with hyperlinks. Is it why we are so fascinated by the hyperlink in the first place? Our brains are built on connections and we seek more connections.
There's historic precedence for that too. I can think of is another book I'm reading that oddly compliments this passage — Maria Popova's Figuring. Therein Popova mentions how the origin of the word “scientist”, coined by William Whewell, was actually in reference to Mary Somerville and her ability to prodigiously connect fields of study into something difficult to define by one field alone:
The commonly used term up to that point — “man of science” — clearly couldn't apply to a woman, nor to what Whewell considered “the peculiar illumination” of the female mind: the ability to synthesize ideas and connect seemingly disparate disciplines into a clear lens on reality. Because he couldn't call her a physicist, a geologist, or a chemist — she had written with deep knowledge of all these disciplines and more — Whewell unified them all into “scientist.”
All I can think of is now is how the trillions of connections our neurons make in our brain strive to make connections in our world turn synthesis into a clear lens of reality.