Oscars Not Starlets On This Year's Couch

The reason we refer to so many innovations as two-edged-swords is because they can cut in opposing ways. There are the benefits but also the backlash. Examples range from say the printing press to the six-shooter to atomic energy. But what about scientific research? Surely there can be no backlash to, for instance, today's brilliant body of brain research. MRIs are happily discovering endless electro-chemical explanations for why we enjoy certain sights, sounds, tastes, smells; even why we desire, mate, procreate, and vote Democrat or Republican. We have become the Bionic Man!

My problem -- I hope it's yours too -- is thereby reducing our humanity in the world to observable stimuli in the laboratory. Think about it. Aside from the way neuro-biology already provides DNA Kits, Genetic Profiling, and assorted other protocols by which we can track and/or modify our electro-chemical behaviors, now it's squeezing those rare and random aesthetic sensibilities of the artist into predictable and maybe even duplicatable formulas for, well, for who exactly??

On behalf of Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Newton, Edison and Curie, I protest. Especially this month of the Oscars when psychologists led by James Cutting at Cornell have profiled the winners from 1935 to 2010 as all possessing the "cinematic lengths and rhythms" which most satisfy our brain's need for "a sense of balance between our feelings of order and chaos."

Based on their mathematical ratios, they came up with two ideal cinematic examples: "Back To The Future" and "A Perfect Storm." The next time Michael J. Fox or George Clooney are interviewed, I just hope someone there can slap an MRI band around them so we can all see for ourselves just how THEIR brains made the ideal movie for OUR brains. Without, you know, bothering too much with such outdated stuff as inspiration, talent and passion.

All hail the future....!

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